Walama Muru

At its core, Walama Muru represents an opportunity for students to be a part of a real and practical demonstration of true reconciliation.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it

Walama Muru is a volunteer program offering students the chance of a lifetime: to gain insights and cultural appreciation by learning about and visiting an Indigenous community to work on a local project and connect with other students and local community.

This incredibly worthwhile program is run in partnership with Nura Gili, and is run in two stages: initially there are loads of planning and fundraising activities including the famous, annual Walama Muru Trivia Night. The group then utilize the funds they raised to cover their travel arrangements, accommodation, and required materials while on the trip taking part in community development projects.

This year the program will be working closely with local indigenous community groups as well, providing opportunities to students who are unable to come along on the trip.

Applications for our 2017 trip team are now closed! But if you'd like to help us fundraise and volunteer locally, please get in touch.

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Walama Muru

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I volunteer with Walama Muru?

Walama Muru has it all – travelling, learning, giving back, and doing it all with an awesome team! Since 2008, we’ve been invited to communities all over the country to contribute towards reconciliation in a hands-on way, connect with community members from local government leaders to the area’s bright and energetic kids, and gain a greater understanding of the world’s oldest living culture. If you’re looking for an experience that takes you somewhere new, broadens your mind and gets your hands dirty, Walama Muru is the program for you.

When is the trip, and where are we going this year?

The trip is organised for the mid-sem break of semester 2 each year. As for where we’re going, this is a decision that is only made after lots of consultation between staff from Nura Gili and Elders from the community. In the past, we have been invited to communities around NSW such as Gilgandra and Wellington, and have even travelled as far as Palm Island in far north Queensland!

What will we be doing there?

Again, this is decided by the Elders of the community in consultation with Nura Gili staff. In the past, we’ve helped out by painting key community buildings, repairing stages for youth dance groups, renovating basketball courts, constructing veggie gardens, and plenty of other projects. Our cultural experiences have ranged from historical tours of the area and sharing traditional meals to learning to throw a boomerang (and for most of us, getting hit by one). In our spare time, we’re always playing games as a team, going for bushwalks, swimming with the local kids, and resting up for the next big day of volunteering!

How much time will I be asked to commit to the program?

This program will likely take up 1-3 hours of your time each week leading up to the trip. This time could be spent attending a meeting, helping out at a fundraiser, participating in cultural training, or volunteering locally. As for the trip, we will require you to commit to the whole week away.

I can’t go on the trip, but I still want to help. Is that OK?

Absolutely! With all the fundraising we’re doing throughout the year, we’re always grateful for extra help. Fill out an application or contact walamamuru@arc.unsw.edu.au to let us know how you would like to be involved.

How do you say “Walama Muru”, and what does it mean?

“Walama” is pretty straight-forward, but people tend to get stuck on the “Muru”! It’s pronounced with a hard “u”, so it sounds like “Murrah” rather than “Mooroo”. The term comes from the Bidjigal language, and means “return to path”. We think it really captures the spirit of reconciliation that this program is all about. 

Meet your 2017 Walama Muru Student Coordinator!

Hi everyone! I'm Rachael, this year's Walama Muru coordinator. I started off at UNSW wanting to be a film-maker, but ended up doing six years of criminology instead. I'm obsessed with travel and love meeting new people, which is what first brought me to Walama as a volunteer. The only place I'd never travel to is the deep sea, because Angler fish are tiny underwater demons (Google them).

The two trips I went on as a Walama vollie (to Gilgandra and Palm Island) were some of the most fun, educational, and challenging experiences I had at uni. I came home from my first trip with a greater passion for reconciliation, a few bumps and bruises from my terrible attempts at boomerang throwing, plenty of new friends, some handy construction skills, and an addiction to Johnny Cakes (yuuuuuummmmmm). I couldn't wait to do it again - and I'm so excited to help our team have an even better experience this year!

Palm Island Trip 2016

Our volunteers, after spending a whole year fundraising, got to spend a week with the Bwgcolman community in Palm Island. It was an amazing trip!!

The volunteers gained first hand experience and greater appreciation of the lifestyle in Palm Island and of Aboriginal culture and issues in general.

They also gave a much needed face-lift to the community's post office by giving it a brand new coat of paint.

Fishing, fresh oyster picking, swimming, and enjoying the company and foods of the locals were amongst the dozens of treasured memories the group came home with.