A time to focus on Indigenous culture


It’s a week that celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, cultures and achievements and is an opportunity to recognise the contributions that Indigenous Australians make to our country and our society.

NAIDOC Week is celebrated each year between the first and second Sundays in July. The name, NAIDOC stands for the National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee.

For Indigenous Australians across the country, NAIDOC Week is celebrated with a variety of activities.

This year at Monash University, NAIDOC events included a panel discussion on the topic: Thriving at University – engaging Indigenous students in campus life. Panelists were Robyn Oxley, the Indigenous Academic Support Co-ordinator at Yulendj Indigenous Engagement Unit at Monash University; her Yulendj colleague, Inala Cooper, the Senior Advisor for Indigenous Strategy and Communication at Yulendj; Emma Fletcher, Manager Residential Services at Monash Residential Clayton; and second-year Education student Jyden Brailey. The event was organised by Monash Residential Services and Yulendj.

In the lead-up to NAIDOC, a team of 18 Monash Indigenous students travelled to Brisbane to represent the University at the National Indigenous Uni Games. The students participated in basketball, touch football, netball and volleyball. The Games were an opportunity for students to enjoy the sporting experience and to network with other Indigenous uni students.

During NAIDOC, Monash partnered with the University of Melbourne, Swinburne and RMIT Universities to launch the inaugural Victorian Indigenous Engineering Winter School (VIEWS). It is hoped that this five day winter school aimed at year 11 and 12 Indigenous students will help lift the number of Indigenous people enrolled in engineering courses across Australia. In 2014, 53 Indigenous students completed their engineering degrees at Australian universities.

Monash University has long been a pacesetter in the provision of Indigenous programs. The University was the first in Australia to establish a dedicated Indigenous research unit. That was 51 years ago.

There are currently 172 Indigenous students at Monash University. These students are enrolled across all levels, including pathway programs, and undergraduate and post graduate degree courses. Indigenous students are currently enrolled in every Monash faculty except Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Monash University provides a range of specialist support services to Indigenous Australians. Monash delivers advisory and support services for Indigenous people who are contemplating tertiary study at the University and also offers support for those students currently enrolled. These services include:

  • Finding accommodation
  • Support for academic success
  • Indigenous student lounges - Clayton and Peninsula campuses
  • Monash Indigenous Students Social Committee
  • Leadership program
  • Student Peer Mentoring
  • Computer labs with email and internet access - Clayton and Peninsula campuses
  • Referral to other Monash University services.

Monash encourages all staff and students to complete an online education program that will enhance understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and cultures. The module will take around 20 minutes to complete. Staff are also encouraged to do the Indigenous Cultural Safety Workshop (half day, no cost). The online module and registration for the workshop are available here.