Indigenous community engagement

Ngiyang Nganggalidhi (Darkinung language meaning "we are talking) - Fostering strong links with community reinforces cultural values and beliefs.


The Wollotuka Institute values its links with Indigenous communities and with the wider Australian and international communities. Wollotuka staff foster these links by committing time and resources to visiting Indigenous communities, by contributing expertise to boards and committees, by undertaking collaborative research, by presenting papers at conferences, by hosting public lectures and by sponsoring international visits.

A Community Engagement Portfolio has been established to further foster links with community. The primary roles of the portfolio are to engage with on and off campus community/education partners in relation to the roles and functions of Wollotuka and the University of Newcastle. The Community Engagement team is lead by proud Darkinjung Woman, Madelene Davy. Madelene has a wealth of experience working within Aboriginal communities, particularly her own community on the Central Coast. Madelene is also a trained early childhood teacher.

Community Engagement Officer

Joe Griffin is an Awabakal man from the local community in Newcastle. Joe works from the Callaghan campus with local community as well as the wider footprint areas of The University of Newcastle. Joe promotes university study to Aboriginal communities by participating in events such as careers markets, pathways awards and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community events.

School 2 University (S2U) Program

The Portfolio drives a strong Year 7 - 12 school program across the catchment areas of Newcastle, Central Coast, Mid North Coast and Western NSW, providing students with a gainful insight into University life including pathways of entry as well as providing an awareness of who they are as Indigenous people contributing to a strong cultural affirmation. Three staff work within this program - Noarelle Heise at the Callaghan Campus; Dominic Dates at the Ourimbah Campus and Karen Moran at the Port Macquarie Campus.




Aims to plant the seed of ambition for students to begin thinking of their future in a culturally safe space through talking circles, interactive activities and traditional Indigenous games. Participants will be monitored and rewarded throughout the course of the program over an academic year

Girls Choices and LIVE IT! for Boys Residential Summer Schools


The Girls Choices and LIVE IT! programs are five-day residential university experiences for Year 9 students held in December each year. Part of the AIM High program, the schools are designed to inspire students to build upon their potential to study maths and science subjects in years 11 and 12 and to expose them to the range of study and career options that exist for HSC graduates with these subjects.
Wollotuka is an active supporter of these programs and hosts a Welcome to Wollotuka breakfast for Indigenous students participating in the Summer Schools.

Insight Days


Aims to familiarise students with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Entry Program process into the University. The program is delivered at The Wollotuka Institute allowing students to meet and greet staff and students with the aim to consolidate their senior subject selections to support their university pathway.

UAC, Yapug & Entry Program Talks


This program is delivered at school and informs students of their tertiary options whether they are taking Selection Rank (SR) or non-Selection Rank (SR) subjects. Students gain information on Yapug Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Enabling Program, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Entry Program and UAC admission.