Anniversary Ball to celebrate Oorala Centre’s 25 years

Published 18 November 2011

ooralahomeThe Oorala Aboriginal Centre at the University of New England will celebrate its 25 years in higher education with an Anniversary Ball on the University’s “Booloominbah” lawns on Saturday 10 December.

Founded in 1986, the Centre is commemorating its 25-year history of offering facilities, programs and services of a nationally recognised standard to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who have chosen to study at UNE.

The name “Oorala”, from a local Aboriginal word meaning “a camp” or “a place where people come together”, was chosen by Aboriginal students enrolled at UNE when the Centre opened. It reflects the historical significance of the site and its connection with the local Aboriginal community, and also highlights the Centre’s significance as a place that draws together Aboriginal students from all regions of Australia.

In September Oorala’s founding Director, Lynette Riley, presented the 2011 Frank Archibald Memorial Lecture to mark the 25th year of the annual UNE lecture series that she established in the year of the Centre’s foundation.

“With the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students at UNE having grown each year – from 20 enrolments when the Oorala Centre was established to more than 475 enrolments this year – we have much to celebrate,” said the Director of the Centre, Debra Bennell. “The Oorala Centre is committed to access and participation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from communities around Australia, and to supporting their achievements. Since 1990 more than 550 of those students have graduated from UNE.”

“Oorala is inviting community members to join current and former staff members and students for a great night out on the 10th of December,” Ms Bennell said. “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander graduates of UNE, and Directors and members of staff who have worked at Oorala throughout the years, will be especially welcome to get together at the Ball.”

The Oorala Anniversary Ball, beginning at 6 pm, will include a formal dinner with entertainment by the Buddy Knox Blues Band. Tickets, costing $80 per person, are available in limited numbers. People wishing to attend can contact Oorala on (02) 6773 3164 to buy tickets by the “RSVP” date of 30 November. Details and a payment form are also online at