An innovative study hub in a remote part of south-east Arnhem Land, Northern Territory is changing the lives of its local students and its graduates who are currently studying at Macquarie University in Sydney.
The Wuyagiba Regional Study Hub is designed to facilitate two-way learning – the learning and exchange between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people of each other’s knowledge. It was established as a trial in 2018 by Numbulwar and Ngukurr elders with the support of Macquarie University, the Australian Government and The Nature Conservancy.
Senior Lecturer at Macquarie University Dr Emilie Ens said: “The Wuyagiba Study Hub has exceeded our expectations. When we set it up last year we hoped that it would help bridge the gap for post-secondary students from the local area between remote Country high school and the demands of a big city university and lifestyle. Of the 15 students who graduated late last year, 13 of them enrolled at Macquarie University. Ten remain studying a variety of courses including education, Indigenous studies and environmental management.”
“This year we’ve got another 20 students taking part in the course at Wuyagiba”, said Ngukurr elder Kevin Rogers. “We hope they’ll follow in the footsteps of last year’s graduates and move on to Sydney for further studies next year. They all plan on returning to Arnhem Land to practice their professions.”
Making the move to study in Sydney is a big step for any student from regional Australia and even more so for a young person from a community as remote as Ngukurr – a nine hour drive southeast of Darwin. "In my own experience coming to Sydney from a small remote community is a massive change,” said Earnest Junya Daniels, a former student from the Study Hub. “You are living a whole new chapter of life, becoming a leader in your own community. There will be many struggles that drive you to succeed. Be committed. Be adventurous and stay focused with determination. That's what the Wuyagiba Study has allowed me to do."
The Nature Conservancy is proud to support the Study Hub. “We listened to Traditional Owners about what support they needed to build their capacity and allow their communities to thrive,” said Rich Gilmore, Director of The Nature Conservancy in Australia. “We could see the merit in supporting initiatives like the Wuyagiba Study Hub. It helps to maintain strong cultural connections to Country. This leads to better conservation outcomes for people and nature.”
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organisation dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we focus on getting things done efficiently and with the greatest positive impact for conservation. We’re a trusted organisation working in more than 70 countries and territories around the world on innovative solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. To learn more about The Nature Conservancy in Australia, follow us on Facebook.