2023 Ngar-wu Wanyarra Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Conference

Gulpa gaka/Welcome

The Department of Rural Health, acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the unceded land on which we work, learn, and live on - the Yorta Yorta Nation. We recognise the unique place held by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the original owners and custodians of the lands and waterways across the Australian continent, with histories of continuous connection dating back more than 60,000 years.

We pay respect to Elders past, present and future, and acknowledge the importance of Indigenous knowledge in the Academy. As a community of researchers, teachers, professional staff and students, we are privileged to work and learn every day with Indigenous colleagues and partners.

About the conference

The 2023 Ngar-wu Wanyarra Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Conference will be held on Yorta Yorta Country in Shepparton, Victoria on Wednesday 11th October 2023. The conference is delivered by Department of Rural Health, University of Melbourne and is in its 8th consecutive year.

Meaning to ‘listen and act’ in Yorta Yorta language – the Ngar-Wu Wanyarra Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander conference recognises First Nation knowledges and voices and aims to facilitate the exchange of information of key topics in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ health and wellbeing.

The conference provides a forum for the presentation of cutting-edge program initiatives and research findings in Aboriginal health and wellbeing by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community leaders, health practitioners and their colleagues.

During the conference you will hear presentations from First Nation speakers and their colleagues sharing their work, their stories and discussion of key topics across community health programs, research and First Nation knowledges.

Examples of topics discussed at last year's conference included: Culturally tailored health care, Strength based approaches, Health in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, Rejecting a deficit approach, Community action and reflection, Students giving to their communities and Innovations in First Nation healthcare.

Read more about our 2022 conference here!

Call for Abstracts

We are pleased to invite presenters to submit their abstracts to be delivered at the conference. We welcome abstracts that are in the following formats: oral presentations, PowerPoint presentations, video presentations etc. or a mix of these. Please note, presenters have a total of 20 minutes maximum (presentation time of 15 minutes and 5 minutes for introduction/Q&A).

Call of Abstracts are now open and will close on 5:00pm, Monday 26th June 2023.

Applications will be notified of the outcome by Mid July 2023.

Submission instructions:

  • Please submit a detailed abstract of your presentation (300 words maximum)
  • Please include a bio (100 words maximum)
  • Please submit a high-resolution JPEG professional image of all presenters along with your submission
  • Please note there is a requirement that one presenter is of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent (maximum of 2 people per presentation)

Submit an abstract

Keynote speakers

Donnell Wallan

Donnell Wallam

Originally from a small country town called Korijekup (Harvey) in Western Australia, Donnell quickly rose to become an international sporting sensation thanks to her exciting and original netball style and her courage in using her voice as a proud Noongar woman to speak out. Donnell grew up playing basketball and football before life took her elsewhere, and she only trialled netball properly for the first time at 24.

After just 5 SSN games, Donnell was named in the extended squad for the Australian Diamonds Commonwealth Games, where she went on to be a training partner. She then made her debut for the Australian Diamonds in October 2022 against the England Roses, where she entered the game in the 4th quarter. Donnell not only held her own in this debut, but scored the game winning goal on the buzzer in classic Donnell style – a layup. This feat made international headlines, especially as it came after a week of intense media scrutiny after Donnell had raised concerns with comments made by the founder of a potential sponsor.  

Donnell remains with the Queensland Firebirds for the upcoming 2023 SSN season and is focusing her energy into playing her best possible netball and continuing to develop her very natural talent for the game.

Donnell is very passionate about First Nations matters and mental health, and is an ambassador for Deadly Choices and Diamond Spirit.

Second keynote speaker to be confirmed shortly


Benny Walker is a Yorta Yorta man from Echuca who received a NIMA nomination for the 2021 Best Album for his song 'Chosen Line'. His love songs and epic tales are mixed with passion for people, the land, summer vibes and deep grooves that reach the soul. Said to possess one of the best voices in Australia, Benny Walker never fails to take you on an emotionally driven sonic journey.

Contact Information

Alice Pettit
Project Officer, Aboriginal Health Team  - Department of Rural Health
Email: aboriginal-health@unimelb.edu.au
Phone:  0401 119 994

Keep in the loop

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We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and pay our respect to them, their culture and their Elders past and present. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices, or names of deceased persons in photographs, film, audio recordings or printed material.