Guest Speaker's

Stephen Cochrane & Andrew Rowe
SafeWork NSW

Psychological Wellbeing of Aboriginal Workers

Steven & Paul will discuss Worksafe NSW response to a request by the NSW Aboriginal Land Council, AHMRC and other Aboriginal organisations, regarding an initiative to raise awareness of psychological wellbeing issues related to Aboriginal workers throughout NSW.

"Being Straight Up"

Paul Callaghan

Often I will be yarning with our mob and hear someone say “I told them straight up”. In many instances, when they tell me this, they are demonstrating clear signs of agitation. My presentation will explore what being straight up means in terms of our interactions with those around us and how these interactions can affect our wellbeing.


In my presentation I will be exploring the communication process, relationships, engagement, emotional intelligence, self-talk, self-confidence, values, attitudes, assumptions and the other person. For many of us, interacting with others, particularly outsiders can be difficult and yet effective communication is a corner stone of Western practices. Being able to navigate the Aboriginal world and the dominant culture world in a way where we feel comfortable and authentic in our communications is important if we wish to follow our Dreaming Path.


My presentation will give some insights and tips on how to be “Straight Up” in a way that adds to your state of wellbeing rather than take away from it.


Blokes on the Block

Matthew Priestley
Desert Pea Media

As the founder and coordinator of the men’s group, the Galamaay Brothers. Their motto is ‘Everyone Belongs’ and their focus is on health, wellbeing, culture and reconciliation.


Matthew will talk about how the group of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal men’s priority was to acknowledge and value the individual men and build their self-efficacy and self-confidence to play a lead role in their home and community.


Matthew will also discuss the importance of teaching and learning Aboriginal languages and cultures framework and talk about community resource which is delivered from Kindergarten to Year 6, - Gomeroi Culture and Language program.


Generational Trauma & Incarceration

Shelly Cowen

Shelly will discuss the links between transgenerational trauma and the incarceration of Aboriginal Peoples in the Jail system.  As a trauma Counsellor, Shelly has identified many links between past history of trauma and how it directly impacts on the numbers of Aboriginal Peoples detained within the justice system.

Aboriginal Leadership - Challenges of Performing at our Best

Mel Brown

Successful leaders are able to confidently retain their cultural heritage and stay true to their values. This becomes more achievable when you have a firm understanding of your corporate and cultural responsibilities.

Juggling your community and social values with your corporate identity can be overwhelming, but managing the changing nature of leadership will give you the skills required to succeed.

This presentation will explore how to learn  to negotiate your needs and align them with your

organisation whilst

being able to rise to

the top while 

remaining firmly

rooted in your culture.

Leanne Phillips
Oasis of Inner Light

Bugalmar – To Heal and Feel Good

It is Leanne’s life’s work to develop the infrastructure needed to implement healing and educational modalities and models that will work with and for Aboriginal people.  Leanne chooses to lead and serve through integrity, equity, equality, love and respect; she leads by example and grows through the lessons on the journey. Leanne prides herself on these values and knows they assist her in maintaining a compassionate and professional attitude which enhances her passion for helping and initiating positive change for Aboriginal people and communities. 


Durrimi – Durrimi

Janie Smith

Creative processes through the concentric spirals of nature. Awakening the spirit within to stay connected to nature and the bigger family. How can we use the natural world around us and playful creative processes to create conversations with young people and their families?

Aboriginal people have in-depth connection to country and ancestral ties. This connection is held by caretakers who pass on the stories, teach the dances, create the paintings and keep the languages alive. Therefore, holding on to culture and tradition. Creation is not static but is always growing and held within the boundaries of tradition.

I have experienced, while working in Aboriginal communities that it is much better to sit down on the ground and make a Billy of tea to have the deeper discussions that really need to be had. This type of connection is not for those who are outcome driven but for those who wish to learn from each other, share stories, listen well, listen deeply and allow the spiral to unfold all it has to offer. These processes are creative, and if you are able to hold a space for half a day to a day, anyone can join in and everyone can learn. This is all about creative case management. I believe that connection to the natural world and use of what is around us holds the innate key to good family health. The deep traditions in culture are important to keep. I do not believe that young people are disconnected and I encourage courageous conversations within the circles we create together.