Oorala News and Events

The Oorala Aboriginal Centre hosts events during the year for students and the community including seminars, workshops, morning teas and celebrations.


Frank Archibald Memorial Lecture

Frank ArchibaldThe Frank Archibald Memorial Lecture is an annual event held in honour of Mr Frank Archibald, a revered Aboriginal community member of the Armidale area. Frank Archibald was renowned for his knowledge and interest in all issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, particularly education.

The Frank Archibald Memorial Lecture has been held as part of the University of New England’s Lecture Series since 1986 and is dedicated to Frank Archibald, his family and Aboriginal people of the New England region. The Lecture is presented by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander speakers who are leading professionals in fields such as education, law, social justice, government and the arts.

2019 Frank Archibald Memorial Lecture

The Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP presents Teaching Indigenous Australia  –  Understanding our past and unlocking our future

Join the Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP as he explores the role education plays in shaping Indigenous Australia. How does education help us understand our nation’s past and what role will it play in delivering a voice and Constitutional Recognition; and how can education help continue to close the gap, empower communities and provide greater opportunities for future Australians?

Date: Tuesday 19 November
Time: 6:00pm
Venue: Arts Theatre (A1), Booloominbah Drive, UNE, Armidale NSW


Stories in the Media

Scholarship takes alum to Cambridge: UNE alumna, Nina Cass, has been awarded a prestigious Cambridge Australia Scholarship. The Cambridge Australia Charlie Perkins Scholarship for 2019. This Scholarship is designed to support Indigenous Australians who have the potential to become leaders in their field of study and in their communities and are awarded on the basis of academic merit. (12 Sept 2019)

Peer support smooths the way for TRACKS students: While Dawn Lewis is a high-achieving student her experience at university has not always been smooth sailing.  She admits to being a bit thrown when Program Coordinator and TRACKS Tertiary Preparation Program Academic, Kate Carter, approached her to be a mentor in the program. (24 July 2019)

Making TRACKS towards her degree: Balie McCormack's journey towards tertiary education had an inauspicious start but is firm testament to her determination and ability to grow and rise to new challenges. (21 June 2019)

May sees an influx of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander high school students visit UNE: Together UNE, Oorala and AIME support our kids to be proud of who they are and to explore every opportunity presented to them such as these unique UNE Indigenous learning experiences. (20 May 2019)

Opportunity to make a difference: UNE criminology graduate, Kaitlyn Sawtell, always knew that one day she wanted to be in a position where she could make a difference. (7 May 2019)

From shearing shed to medical graduate: Kerby is the first female Aboriginal student and only the second Aboriginal medical student to graduate from UNE’s School of Rural Medicine since the introduction of the Joint Medical Program in 2008. What makes Kerby’s achievement even more special is that she did not finish high school and had to complete a TAFE tertiary preparation course before she could consider tertiary education. (25 October 2018)

First-in-family “had a go”, and graduated: “The first year was really, really hard and I failed quite a few units, but I hit back in my second year and passed every unit after that,” Michael said. “It was a case of finding my feet, and the style of study and organisation that suited me. It’s been an up-and-down ride, but I knew from first-hand experience the positive difference that teachers could make." (24 April 2018)


Naidoc Week 2019

Sunday 7 July to Sunday 14 July

Voice Treaty Truth

Voice. Treaty. Truth. were three key elements to the reforms set out in the Uluru Statement from the Heart. These reforms represent the unified position of First Nations Australians.

However, the Uluru Statement built on generations of consultation and discussions among Indigenous people on a range of issues and grievances. Consultations about the further reforms necessary to secure and underpin our rights and to ensure they can be exercised and enjoyed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

It specifically sequenced a set of reforms: first, a First Nations Voice to Parliament enshrined in the Constitution and second, a Makarrata Commission to supervise treaty processes and truth-telling.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people want their voice to be heard. First Nations were excluded from the Constitutional convention debates of the 1800’s when the Australian Constitution came into force.  Indigenous people were excluded from the bargaining table.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have always wanted an enhanced role in decision-making in Australia’s democracy.

Join us for the UNE Celebrations, and opening ceremony, an Elders BBQ Luncheon.


Oorala Aboriginal Centre Research Lecture Series

The Sydney Wars - book coverHistory and truth-telling - The Sydney Wars
Dr Stephen Gapps

‘it seems extraordinary that, after 230 years, the myths of benign colonisation and absence of Aboriginal resistance during the first decades of British settlement at Sydney are still firmly entrenched in the Australian narrative’. (Lyndall Ryan 2018)

Dr Stephen Gapps has taught Public History at the University of Technology, Sydney. He is currently a curator at the Australian National Maritime Museum. read more

12:00 - 2:00pm, Tuesday 11 September, 2018
Oorala Aboriginal Centre Lecture Theatre

The Oorala Aboriginal Centre, and the Faculty of Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences and Education, invite the UNE and Armidale community.


Myall Creek and Beyond 2018

  • Friday 8 Oorala Bus to Myall Creek event posterJune: a Myall Creek and Beyond one-day symposium at the Oorala Aboriginal Centre at the University of New England exploring the historical, legal and cultural significance of the massacre;
  • Sunday 10 June: the 180th anniversary memorial event at the Myall Creek Memorial near the site of the massacre (near Bingara).

Each year hundreds of people from across the country gather to commemorate the unprovoked massacre of 28 Wirrayaraay women, children and old men by a group of stockmen on Myall Creek Station in 1838. This year marks the 180th anniversary of this horrific event.

Although there were many other massacres of Indigenous people that occurred during the Frontier Wars across Australia, this one had special significance because it was the only time when white men were, arrested, charged and hung for the massacre of Aborigines, following a police investigation.


Celebrating 30 Years

Oorala 30 Open Day Poster on Tuesday 31 Oct and featuring images of Isaiah Firebrace and Clayton DonovanThe Celebrating 30 Years project successfully ran events from October 18 to November 30, 2017. The calendar included public celebration such as the Oorala Art Exhibition, the Sunset Opening Ceremony, the Oorala 30 Open Day and the Oorala 30 Closing.

Over the time period and within the public events was the opportunity to showcase the student services & the ongoing projects and events that the Oorala Aboriginal Centre is involved in, such as the Youth Development Camps, the Oorala Indigenous Research Seminar Series, the AIME partnership, an inaugural Indigenous STEM Program Day, Experience Days. Alongside this the graduation of 21 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and the awarding of two Doctorates were examples of the success and respect UNE has for Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander education.


World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education (WIPCE)

WIPCE UNE delegatesIn July 2017 the University of New England, Oorala Aboriginal Centre funded 14 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, 4 staff and 5 UNE other researchers to attend World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education (WIPCE) in Toronto, Canada.

UNE Aboriginal students and researchers had the opportunity to choose from over 800 presentations over five days focusing on the conference theme of Truth and Reconciliation. Mr Greg Davison, Director of the Oorala Centre, presented a paper on the implementation of a student engagement system tailored to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students that provided timely culturally-appropriate support. read more


Join our community

Oorala holds a number of community engagement events throughout the year. If you, or your organisation, would like to be included on our invitation lists for upcoming events please contact us.