This timeline summarises a history of some interactions between Walgett's Dharriwaa Elders Group and UNSW since 2006. Today in 2017, Yuwaya Ngarra-li employs two part-time staff who are working to build many ambitious outcomes for Walgett, an Aboriginal town in north west NSW.
2006: UNSW Built Environment work with the DEG to develop potential community building proposals. After consultation and research, Built Environment present the final model of their ‘Walgett Studio’ to Elders.
2011-2015: Inara Walden, UNSW Social Policy Research Centre, undertakes her PhD research focusing on Walgett as a case study auspiced by the DEG, and supervised by Professor Eileen Baldry. Her PhD thesis ‘Talking Back to Policy: Aboriginal Participation in Policy Making’ finds that Aboriginal participation in policy decision-making is essential to re-empower Aboriginal communities and enable Aboriginal agency in setting goals and aspirations to improve their own lives and livelihoods.
2011-2015: The Indigenous Australians with Mental Health Disorders and Cognitive Disabilities in the Criminal Justice System (IAMHDCD) Project is led by Professor Eileen Baldry, Associate Professor Leanne Dowse, Professor Julian Trollor, Professor Patrick Dodson (Chief Investigators) with researchers Elizabeth McEntyre, Peta MacGillivray and Dr Ruth McCausland. Walgett is one of four sites for the qualitative research and the DEG and Walgett Aboriginal Medical Service are partners. The DEG and researchers forge a strong relationship of trust and collaboration during the process of gathering, analysing and reporting back on the project’s data.
June 2015: DEG Elders Council write to UNSW proposing urgent, collaborative research be undertaken to identify why Walgett Aboriginal children are not achieving acceptable outcomes. DEG and UNSW begin ongoing discussions regarding possible collaboration across a number of areas of concern to the Elders.
November 2015: UNSW researchers report back to DEG and others in Walgett on findings of the IAMHDCD project.
November 2015: At the invitation of the Elders, UNSW facilitates and attends community and service provider mental health meetings in Walgett and provides input into the community plan for social and emotional wellbeing and a vision for a ‘Well Walgett’.
January – April 2016: DEG and UNSW develop their partnership ‘Yuwaya Ngarra-li’ – Vision with the aim of bringing research and evidence-based solutions to priority areas led by the vision of the Elders.
February-October 2016: After Elders identify energy poverty as an urgent priority, Aidan Alexander, School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering, undertakes his Honours research on Improving Energy Outcomes for Remote Aboriginal Communities: Walgett NSW as a Case Study.
May 2016: UNSW and the DEG host an evening at the Sydney Writers’ Festival for the ‘Friends of Walgett’.
October 2016: At the invitation of the Elders, UNSW Vice-Chancellor and other UNSW Executives meet with Elders in Walgett about the DEG-UNSW partnership and the Elders vision for change.
November 2016: BCA National, Souths Cares, the Rabbitohs visit Walgett with UNSW at the invitation of the Elders meet with the Elders in Walgett to discuss the partnership and synergies between organisations.
December 2016: UNSW presentation on Aidan Alexander’s Honours research findings on how to improve energy outcomes for Aboriginal people in Walgett to a range of stakeholders, including the CEO of the Aboriginal Housing Office (AHO) who subsequently seeks to integrate Aidan’s findings into AHO plans to install air conditioners in AHO housing in western NSW.
December 2016: UNSW provides seed funding to develop the business case and implementation plan for the Yuwaya Ngarra-li partnership.
December 2016: UNSW Intellectual Disability Support Program focus group held in Walgett to scope Aboriginal disability support planning needs for project on Safeguarding Conversations in Planning for the NDIS.
April 2017: Former NSW Education Minister appointed Honorary Professor of Practice at UNSW, with a specific interest in remote schools including Walgett Community College.
June 2017: DEG & UNSW develop the full business case for Yuwaya Ngarra-li.
June 2017: Yuwaya Ngarra-li hosts a visit to Walgett of UNSW Education leaders Professor Chris Davison, Dr Sue O'Neill and Adrian Piccoli MP to investigate supports for the Walgett Community School.
August 2017: Yuwaya Ngarra-li meets with UNSW Water Initiative and Environmental Law academics.
October 2017: Yuwaya Ngarra-li meets with UNSW SM@RT Centre engineers and architects to brainstorm possible Walgett manufacturing enterprises.
Throughout 2016 and 2017 Yuwaya Ngarra-li supported DEG and WAMS consortia to make wellbeing services tender applications.