Walama Muru

Be part of a real and practical demonstration of true reconciliation.

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 in two stages: initially there are loads of planning and fundraising activities including the famous, annual Walama Muru Trivia Night. The group then utilise the funds they raise to cover their travel arrangements, accommodation, and materials while taking part in community development projects.

Meet your 2018 Coordinator!

Alex McWhirter

Heya! I'm Alex, a Social Work/Arts student here at UNSW. I like the ocean, my family, plants (eating them and looking at them), and any kind of music that you can't help but dance to. I was lucky enough to spend time over the summer of 2017-2018 living in an Indigenous community in the Northern Territory called Yuendumu, volunteering for a youth development organisation. My friends out there, young and old, showed me what true strength looks like. I am so excited to continue this journey of listening, learning and walking together with our Indigenous brothers and sisters this year with Walama Muru. 

Gilgandra Trip 2017

After spending a whole year fundraising, our team of volunteers got to spend a week with the Wiradjuri community of Gilgandra in western NSW. It was an amazing trip!

The students gained first hand experience volunteering and taking part in cultural experiences with local Elders and community members, giving them a greater appreciation of the lifestyle in Gilgandra and of Aboriginal culture in general. 

We worked on construction and maintenance projects for two cultural education centres, went on cultural tours, learned to make and throw boomerangs, and heard directly from Elders about life on Wiradjuri country.

Palm Island Trip 2016

In 2016, the Walama Muru volunteer team travelled all the way to Palm Island! 

The volunteers worked hard, giving a much needed face-lift to the community's post office by giving it a brand new coat of paint. But they also received so much from the experience, and the many people they met who welcomed them with open arms and gave them insight into the beauty of Palm Island and it's Aboriginal culture.

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.

Volunteer!

Whether you've got itchy feet or you're itching to make a real difference as a volunteer with Walama Muru, you'll be giving back and gaining so much return.

You'll get the chance to fundraise, work in a team, visit an Indigenous community and embark on a local project. 

As a volunteer you'll gain a deeper understanding and insight into the incredible Indigenous culture, and gain a whole lot of new friends along the way.

Volunteering with Walama Muru is also recognised on your Australian Higher Education Graduation Statement (AHEGS).

Deets

Intake // Applications for Walama Muru 2018 are now closed. Applications for next year will open early S1 2019.

Time commitment // Medium

FAQS

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. 

Contact Us

Walama Muru