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

Wednesday 11 October 2023


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 voices and knowledge and aims to facilitate the exchange of information of key topics in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ health and wellbeing.

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 and research.

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.

Tickets & Pricing

Click through to the booking page to secure your spot at the 2023 Ngar-wu Wanyarra Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Conference!

Register here

TicketsIn personOnline
Indigenous attendee$60$30
Non-Indigenous attendee$120$60
Optional add-onsIn personOnline
Dinner at The Connection (Shepparton) - 3 course meal at special conference price, drinks at bar prices$30N/A
Craft workshops FreeN/A

Keynote speakers

Donnell Wallam (virtually presenting*)
Professional Australian Netballer and NAIDOC Sportsperson of the Year

*note, Donnell will now be virtually presenting  due to  training commitments.

Recently named 2023 NAIDOC Sportsperson of the Year and star goal shooter - Donnell Wallam - is the keynote speaker for the Ngar-wu Wanyarra Conference. Originally from 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.

She made her debut for the Australian Diamonds in October 2022 and 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 is very passionate about First Nations matters and mental health, and is an ambassador for Deadly Choices and Diamond Spirit.

Roy Ah-See Headshot

Roy Ah-See
First Nations Story Telling Expert

Roy Ah-See is an inspirational leader and current Board Member of the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation who will discuss the upcoming Voice to Parliament. He believes landrights and connection to country is integral to the spiritual healing and cultural empowerment of Aboriginal people.

Adversity is a highlight of Roy’s journey. He shares his journey with others, and by taking them on a journey of self-discovery, he inspires and motivates people to be the best they can be.

Shelley Ware headshot 2

Shelley Ware
Media  Personality

Shelley Ware is a proud Yankunyjatjara and Wirangu woman from Adelaide, South Australia, who currently lives in Melbourne.

Shelley has worked as a radio and television presenter on AFL football news shows and has become one of the most respected and recognised female presenters of AFL football in the country. She also hosts the webshow Colour Of Your Jumper, where she leads discussions about topics of the week throughout the AFL and also writes a fortnightly AFL column for the Koori Mail.

Conference program

We're pleased to provide an exciting program with  First Nations speakers  and their colleagues.  Click below to view the full program and booklet*.

View the program

Conference booklet

*Please note the information contained in the program  and booklet are subject to change. Refer to this website for  latest updates.

Conference Activities

Coil weaving

Craft Workshops

Join us for optional group craft workshops with Kaiela Arts to create either a coil weaving installation or painting. Kaiela Arts is an Aboriginal art centre in Shepparton that references the linear art style, traditional to Kaiela Dungala (Goulburn Murray), Yorta Yorta Country.

The Connection

Conference Dinner

To celebrate and connect with attendees, presenters and staff after the conference, an optional dinner will be held at The Connection in Shepparton.

Benny Walker


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. Benny will be playing at the conference dinner at The Connection.

Key dates

Friday 31 March 2023

Call for abtracts open

Monday 11 August 2023

Call for abtracts close

Monday 14 August 2023

Ticket registrations open

Wednesday 4 October 2023

Ticket registrations close

Wednesday 11 October 2023

Conference commences

Contact information

Aboriginal Health Team
Department of Rural Health
Email: aboriginal-health@unimelb.edu.au
Phone:  +61 3 5823 4512

For all media enquiries contact:

Giacinta Caione
Marketing and Communications Coordinator 
Department of Rural Health, University of Melbourne 
Email: giacinta.caione@unimelb.edu.au
Phone: 0402 282 884

Stay up to date

Would you like to be kept informed on updates for this event? Join our database here!

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.

Conference artwork by Norman Stewart, Community/Language Group: Yorta Yorta, 'Kidneys of the Dungala', 2014