"The Dharriwaa Elders will lead a collaboration with UNSW and other supporters to grow our individual and community strengths and assets. We aim to restore a robust belonging to thriving families, community and country, while making our place in the nation and sharing our learning with other communities". Dharriwaa Elders Group, Walgett.
The purpose of Yuwaya Ngarra-li is for the Dharriwaa Elders Group (DEG) and UNSW to work in partnership to improve the wellbeing, social, built and physical environment and life pathways of Aboriginal people in Walgett through collaborating on evidence-based programs, research projects and capacity building, and to evaluate this model of CommUNIty-Led Development as a way of working with other Aboriginal communities.
Yuwaya Ngarra-li is an initiative that will promote two-way learning between Walgett's Dharriwaa Elders Group and a range of UNSW faculties, with long term academic leadership by Professor Eileen Baldry and keenly supported by Vice-Chancellor Ian Jacobs
Vanessa Hickey is the Walgett Yuwaya Ngarra-li Project Officer for Dharriwaa Elders Group. She is a Gamilaraay mother of four who began working with the Dharriwaa Elders Group part-time in 2017 in the Elders Support Officer role and joined the Yuwaya Ngarra-li team in April 2018. Vanessa is actively working to improve the education outcomes for Walgett children and has served as a member of the School Reference Group and the Walgett AECG for some years. Vanessa is also an active volunteer for the Walgett Local Aboriginal Land Council’s Aboriginal Culture and Heritage Committee and is very active in the anti-Coal Seam Gas movement to protect Country and wellbeing for north-west NSW communities.
Wendy Spencer is the Walgett Project Manager of Yuwaya Ngarra-li for Dharriwaa Elders Group. She is the founding Project Manager of the Dharriwaa Elders Group (“DEG”), and brings small business and a background in community media to her roles. Wendy first worked in Walgett for the Walgett Aboriginal Medical Service (“WAMS”). The Founding Chair of WAMS, George Rose OAM, together with other Elders, founded the DEG in the late 1990s and invited Wendy to support their work, which she continues to further through DEG and Yuwaya Ngarra-li.
Peta MacGillivray is a proud Kalkadoon and South Sea Islander woman and the Yuwaya Ngarra-li Project Manager based at UNSW. Peta is a lawyer, and has previously worked as a researcher on a range of criminology, legal services and community-development projects in Sydney and across Australia. Peta was a Field Researcher and Project Manager for the ARC Linkage Project ‘Indigenous Australians with Mental Health Disorders and Cognitive Disability in the Criminal Justice System’, which first introduced her to the Dharriwaa Elders Group.
Peta’s area of legal practice specialisation is the legal needs of children and young people, particularly those experiencing social and economic disadvantage. For example, children and young people in the criminal justice system and the care and protection system. Peta is passionate about youth justice and children and young people’s participation in community development work. Peta is currently studying her Masters in Law (Criminology and Criminal Justice) at UNSW Faculty of Law.
Dr Ruth McCausland is Research and Evaluation Director for Yuwaya Ngarra-li, and Senior Research Fellow in the School of Social Sciences, UNSW. Her research focuses on the criminalisation of young people, women, people with disabilities and Aboriginal communities, with a specific interest in evaluation and cost-benefit analysis of community-based alternatives to incarceration. Ruth was a researcher on the Indigenous Australians with Mental Health Disorders and Cognitive Disabilities in the Criminal Justice System (IAMHDCD) Project that contributed to the foundation of the Yuwaya Ngarra-li partnership. Ruth’s PhD was on evaluation and the diversion of Aboriginal women from prison in NSW, and she also has a Masters in International Social Development. Ruth was previously a senior research fellow at Jumbunna, UTS, and policy officer at the Australian Human Rights Commission and NSW Anti-Discrimination Board. Ruth is Chair of the Board of the Community Restorative Centre.