Indigenous Student Programme

Dunmore Lang College values diversity and difference within the student and staff communities and believes this strengthens and enhances the community experience for students. 

Aims

  • To support a strong, proud and empowered Indigenous student community within the Dunmore Lang College community
  • To provide resources and spaces that support Aboriginal students to successfully transition to university life and complete their studies
  • To weave Aboriginal culture into the fabric of who we are as a community and place by providing opportunities for cultural sharing and learning
  • To encourage Aboriginal student leadership as mentors, leaders and role models

The programme has grown over seven years with fifty-three Indigenous students living in the College community in 2020. 

Programme resources

Elder-in-Residence/ Cultural Adviser 

Warrawal Room

The Warrawal Room was established in 2014 with much of the renovation and painting work being completed by student volunteers. Since this time, it has been a place for meeting, sharing culture and learning as well as providing a space for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to catch up and support each other. 

Learning about history and place

Between 2016 and 2018, trips were organised to Mingaletta (open to all students), AIATSIS in Canberra, and a Corroboree (open to all students) on the Central Coast. 

Introduction to Aboriginal culture workshops – open to all students

These have been part of the Leadership Programme for the last three years. The Leadership Certificate is compulsory for all students applying for College appointed leadership roles e.g. Residential Advisers {RAs). 

Introduction to Aboriginal languages

Introduction to Aboriginal languages workshop was provided for Aboriginal students as well as for RAs (Resident Advisers) and ADS (Students Association Executive) as part of their leadership training. 

Weekly Bush Walks – Indigenous students (& partners)

Providing an opportunity to learn about local sites, history and, rock art as well as local vegetation, bush tucker and medicinal plants.  A Bush walk was also added for all students as part of the College Wellness Week. 

Weekly cultural sessions

Run by the Cultural Adviser in conjunction with Kari, these are an opportunity to gather, chat and support each other while weaving, painting or learning new skills.

Previously similar activities were facilitated by Uncle Chris George (dance workshop, Digeridoo and clap stick making) and Aunty Elaine Chapman (weaving, Aboriginal history). 

Smoking Ceremonies

Smoking ceremonies mark the beginning of the year / academic semesters as well as special occasions. 

Bush tucker garden area/ plant signage

Work has begun on a bush tucker garden as well as signage for native plants including Dharug/ English names and information on traditional usage. 

Dual language (Darug) signage

Dual language signage in English and Darug are being installed next month for the main areas of the College such as the dining room, kitchen and, residential wings. The signs also feature artwork from a past student of the College. 

Outcomes

Leadership

Students have contributed at all levels of College life from leadership roles such as volunteers and committee heads to Residential Advisers and executive members of the ADS (Student Association) to a Director on the College Board.

Students have completed degrees, set up businesses and charities, won awards and embarked on careers in Australia and internationally. 

Completion and academic success

Aboriginal students at the College have very high completion rates and solid academic results demonstrating the positive impact of the support programme, peer leadership and staff support. 

Making their mark on the world

All graduate students have gone on to successful careers in their chosen areas.

Two students have established their own charitable foundations, attracting significant interest and funding to support their work in the areas of Indigenous literacy and the preservation of Aboriginal language and stories, and youth mental health. One student was the first Australian to be awarded the Dalai Lama Prize. 

External recognition

Macquarie University Reconciliation Award 2017

The work of Dr Alasdair Murrie-West and Dunmore Lang College was recognised by Macquarie University in 2017: “For significant contribution to the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples at Macquarie University.” 

APSAA (Asia-Pacific Student Accommodation Association) Excellence in Student Experience Award 2019

Dunmore Lang College was awarded the APSAA Excellence in Student Experience Award (Institution under 500 beds) in 2019 in recognition of the multi-faceted cultural and  educational programmes that both supports Indigenous students as well as sharing Aboriginal culture and understanding within the whole College community.