NAIDOC Week: Heal Country!

5 July 2021

NAIDOC Week invites all Australians to reflect on the history of our country and shared future. Celebrated from Sunday 4 July to Sunday 11 July, the theme for NAIDOC 2021 is Heal Country! The theme calls for stronger measures to recognise, protect, and maintain all aspects of our culture and heritage. In support of Heal Country! the Watarrka Foundation have compiled a collection of highly acclaimed texts, exhibitions and viewing opportunities for our readers. Read more

Healthy Housing For The Local Community

22 June 2021

Located in Lila close to the Watarrka school are four large homes which often house multiple families, giving their children easy access to education and the adults easy access to the local amenities. One of these houses is the Williams house, owned by Vera Williams a Traditional Owner of the land. Vera generously donated her house to be accommodation for local families who needed a living space in a central location, and the Watarrka Foundation team has recently cleaned and painted the house to improve the living conditions for local families. Read more

Reconciliation Week 2021 - How We're Taking Action

27 May 2021

This week is National Reconciliation Week, an opportunity for all Australian’s to become familiar with our shared histories and to contribute to Reconciliation amongst all Australian cultures.  2021 marks 20 years since the creation of Reconciliation Australia, and this year’s theme is “More than a word, Reconciliation takes action.” To learn more about what we at the Foundation are doing to take action, and the history behind Reconciliation Week, click through to our article below. Read more

Educating Our Children on Aboriginal Language, Culture and History

21 April 2021

We strongly believe that a large part of keeping the Indigenous Australian culture alive rests on educating our youth (Indigenous and non-Indigenous) on Australian history, including Aboriginal culture, history and language. This month we have collated a list of children's books that are excellent resources for future generations to further their education on our Australian and Aboriginal history. Read more

“Study Hard and Have Fun!” – An Interview with Watarrka Student, Vivian

25 March 2021

This month we’ve interviewed one of the students at the Watarrka School to understand firsthand their experience with education and the projects the Watarrka Foundation has brought to life.  
Vivian is one of our students who has had a direct benefit from the opening of the second classroom, which has allowed her to continue her education on country. Vivian has also been involved in a range of the Foundation’s projects, including the Sports & Storytelling festivals, trips to Melbourne to visit sponsoring schools (Mentone Grammar and Braemar School) as well as the fresh foods project including the school veggie garden and fruit orchard. Read more

Acknowledgment and Welcome to Country - Their Meanings, Traditions and Importance

11 February 2021

To ‘acknowledge’ means to recognise the importance or quality of something. This concept and its application in Australia has been imperative to the slow repair of disparities that exists between First Nations People and non-Indigenous Australians. By acknowledging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and in turn, giving them the opportunity to welcome us to Country, we promote an awareness of the history and culture of Indigenous people, as well as contribute to mending a long history of dispossession and colonisation. Further to this, by incorporating welcoming and acknowledgement into official meetings and events, we recognise First Nation Peoples as the First Australians and Traditional Custodians of this land.

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Winners of the NT Sports In Community Award

25 January 2021

On the 16th of December 2020, the Watarrka Foundation was honoured to accept the Sports in Community Award at the first annual NT Community Achievement awards ceremony, held in Darwin. The Sports Community award was given to the Foundation in recognition of the annual Sports and Storytelling festival, held each year in Lilla. The Foundation was recognised for the great impact the festival has on local Indigenous students who attend and learn about health and fitness. 

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Thank you for your support through 2020

11 December 2020

2020 has been a year marked by unpredictability and change. Despite the unusual circumstances in which we all found ourselves, the Watarrka Foundation continued to deliver important programs and initiatives for our community. To wrap up the year, this month we have compiled an overview of our 2020 achievements.

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Always was, always will be

9 November 2020

NAIDOC Week is a celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and an acknowledgment of their history, culture and achievements. Historically celebrated in July from the 5th - 12th, this year the weeklong celebrations were postponed to the 8th - 15th of November. This decision was made in the interest of safety for communities due to the COVID 19 pandemic of 2020.

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The Role of Family & Kinship in Aboriginal Culture

13 October 2020

The notion of family in Aboriginal culture is closely tied to themes of connectedness and kinship. In this setting, family structures are pivotal to identity formation, understanding one’s own spiritual and cultural belonging, and assists in establishing strong links with community. Ultimately, family and kinship are a cohesive forced that bind Aboriginal people together.    

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Immersive Education in Watarrka

29 September 2020

Inspired by the power of education, our Founder and Director Richard “Reg” Ramsden established Remote Educational Tours. Remote Tours is an educationally based, culturally aware tour company that has a strong emphasis on interaction with Aboriginal people and culture. They have worked with many prominent schools from Australia's large cities and frequently organise educational tours into central Australia. This month we spoke to a handful of schools who have had the privilege of visiting the Watarrka region over the years.

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Understanding the New Closing the Gap Agreement

20 August 2020

Last month a new National Agreement on Closing the Gap was released. This came after a historic shift towards joint decision making between the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community and the Australian Government. Developed through direct involvement and negotiation with the Indigenous community, the Agreement aims to substantially improve the life outcomes of our First Nations people. This move follows years of failure to meet many of the targets set out by Closing the Gap report of 2008.

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Reflecting on the International Day of the World's Indigenous People

10 August 2020

Celebrated on August 9th, the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People aims to increase awareness about the protection and promotion of the rights of all Indigenous peoples. In light of this day, our Team reflected on the Indigenous community of Watarrka and recounted the actions we took to protect this community from the global COVID-19 pandemic.

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Thank you to our supporter: CareerTrackers

28 July 2020

With ‘Students at the Core’ as their underpinning philosophy, CareerTrackers have made wonderful contributions to the tertiary education outcomes of Australia’s young Indigenous adults. The Watarrka Foundation has had the privilege of receiving ongoing support from CareerTrackers for many years. Mostly notably, they provide us with staff, interns and alumni from their organisation to assist with the happenings of the annual Sports & Storytelling Festival held in Lilla. This month we spoke to Manny Bell, a CareerTrackers alumni, about his experience with the organisation and connections to the Watarrka Foundation. 

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Indigenous Stories with Indigenous Voices

6 July 2020

Storytelling has always been an essential part of Indigenous culture. In recent months, storytelling has taken centre stage as the world turned its attention to the injustice’s experiences by people of colour. Black Lives Matter, a movement founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer and recent death of George Floyd, has re-ignited a collective interest in our own justice system and the treatment of Indigenous and Torres Strait Island peoples in Australia. For non-Indigenous Australians, the past few months has stimulated a newfound interest in the histories and stories of our people. As such, the Watarrka Foundation felt it important to share some voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through a selection of highly acclaimed films, books, podcasts and other digital resources.

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The Tradition of Aboriginal Music

25 June 2020

Indigenous music refers to music owned, composed and/or performed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. also explored the history and practice of traditional Aboriginal music. Music plays an important social and spiritual role in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and is closely linked with dance, ceremony and storytelling. In this article we provide on a broad overview of the practice, which like the 250 or more language of their culture, varies in different parts of the continent.

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Thank you to our donor: The Source Bulk Foods

22 June 2020

Founded on the principles of strong community connections, good health and sustainability, The Source Bulk Foods has made a meaningful impact on community wellbeing and environmental awareness in Australia and abroad. For the past few years The Watarrka Foundation has had the privilege of gaining ongoing support from this inspiring business. This month we interviewed The Source Bulk Foods co-founder and Managing Director Paul Medeiros about the organisation’s humble beginnings, their ongoing work with community and ties to the Watarrka Foundation.

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27 May 2020

Celebrated from May 27th to June 3rd, National Reconciliation Week is a time for Australians to come together and learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements. During this week, Australians of all ages, cultures and beliefs are encouraged to reflect on how they can contribute to achieving reconciliation. Here we explore what National Reconciliation Week means to our community and reflect on the 2020 theme #inthistogether, in light of recent events relating to COVID-19.

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Update: COVID-19 and Feed the Watarrka Community

13 May 2020

Through nation-wide social distancing measures and the implementation of strict biosecurity areas in remote regions, Australia has successfully flattened the curve in its fight against Coronavirus. The Watarrka Foundation is pleased to report that the Watarrka region has had no confirmed cases of COVID-19. We believe that the Feed the Watarrka Community Program played a significant role in this positive outcome. In our first article for May, we provide a food program update, as well as information and resources relating to COVID-19 in Indigenous Communities.

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In Conversation: Justin Burrill from Feed the Watarrka Community

29 April 2020

Implementing the ‘Feed the Watarrka Community Program’ has been our way of taking action to prevent COVID-19 from reaching the vulnerable communities of Watarrka. The program would not have been possible without the generosity and support of those in the community including local tour guide Justin Burrill. After being released from a canceled tour, when travel restrictions were imposed on the Northern Territory, Justin was quick to offer his hand of support and has since been working tirelessly in the Remote Tours Kitchen organising, preparing and delivering meals to our community.

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The Importance of Protecting our Community from COVID-19

17 April 2020

With the impacts of COVID-19 being felt across the country, the Watarrka Foundation has taken significant steps to stop the spread of the virus to our community. It is known that everyone is at risk of contracting the virus, however Indigenous communities are at greater risk due to a variety of health and lifestyle factors.

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Our Emergency Response to Preventing COVID-19 in the Watarrka Community

26 March 2020

As the threat of the pandemic spreads throughout Australia, the Northern Territory tourism industry has come to a standstill. These measures have been felt in Kings Canyon, our local community and Remote Tours. While practising adequate hygiene and social distancing is important, isolating vulnerable communities is a necessary preventative measure to avoid the spread of COVID-19. In response to these circumstances, the Foundation will be funding a program titled ‘Feed the Watarrka Community Program’. 

Aboriginal Fire Management: What is Cool Burning?

17 March 2020

For thousands of years Aboriginals have been using fire to hunt animals, maintain ecosystems and manage the land. In a practice called Cool Burning, often referred to as Cultural Burning, small blazes are set alight to clear the underbrush. This process generates patchy habitats preferred by small animals and prevents lightning and wildfires from consuming the land. In light of our recent catastrophic bushfire season, there has been a national shift in consciousness about land management and bush fire prevention.

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Generous support from Andy Fell at #whatwinnersdo

24 February 2020

For many years the Watarrka Foundation has had the privilege of gaining ongoing support from motivational speaker, coach and educator Andy Fell. Andy generously donates 20% of net profits from his #whatwinnersdo personal development events to the Watarrka Foundation. His generosity is exemplary of the invaluable community support that surrounds the Foundation and assists us in delivering key projects to the Watarrka Community.

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12th Anniversary of the national apology to the Stolen Generation

12 February 2020

This year marks the 12th anniversary of the national apology to the Stolen Generations made on the 13th of February 2008, by our then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. This date is an important time for all of us to reflect on how generations of First Nations Peoples have been affected, and will continue to be affected, by past policies from our Government.

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Dark Emu Book Review

30 January 2020

Dark Emu, first published in 2014, examines journal entries written by early colonial settlers in Australia to explore different engineering, agriculture and building practices that were employed by the Indigenous Australian population. Our Director Josie Gardiner recently read the award-winning novel Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe and has highly recommended this as a good read for those interested in learning more about Aboriginal history in Australia.

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Uluru - A Sacred Aboriginal Site

15 January 2020

There are over 40 sacred Aboriginal sites located in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, which features in various Aboriginal dreamtime stories and is believed to have been created by great ancestral beings during their first travels across the land. Indigenous Australians have fought hard over the past few decades to protect and show respect to this sacred site.

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Thanks For A Big Year Of Support!

18 December 2019

2019 has been another big year for the Watarrka Foundation, with a range of projects being completed in the community and the new school classroom officially opened! We wouldn’t have been able to achieve such fantastic results without the ongoing support of our donors and community of volunteers, so thank you to everyone who has helped us throughout the year.

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2019 Melbourne Trip!

17 December 2019

In November 2019, 5 older students from the Watarrka School had their first excursion to Melbourne on a two week tour. For these 5 children, it was the first time they’d been on a plane and the first time they’d left the Northern Territory. The students were exposed to new and exciting learning environments, and were generously hosted by Mentone Grammar and Braemar College.

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What A Difference A Little Cool Air Makes!

9 December 2019

After completing our second classroom build last year, making classrooms at the Watarrka School comfortable and functional has been a big focus for the Foundation, and staff members at the school. The air con project has been on the cards for a while now, and thanks to the help of a few generous donors we’ve been able to organise and implement new air conditioning units throughout the school building.

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Celebrating World Children's Day!

20 November 2019

Now in it’s 65th year, World Children’s Day, organised by the United Nations is a day to raise awareness on children’s welfare around the world, and promote international togetherness. At the Watarrka Foundation, this celebration is very close to our hearts and aligns directly with the objectives of the Foundation, and how we approach supporting the children of Watarrka.

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The New Watarrka School Basketball Court!

23 October 2019

Thanks to the generous support from Braemar College and Remote Tours, the children of Watarrka are now enjoying their new, safe and functional basketball court! The project took a lot of organising and support from a range of community groups, and 3 days of hard work levelling and paving the court at the Watarrka School.

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International Day of Rural Women 2019

15 October 2019

Today we celebrate the International Day of Rural Women, and recognise the amazing impact and contribution women and girls in rural areas and Indigenous communities make. 

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Support from Berwick College, Melbourne

27 September 2019

As a long term supporter of the Watarrka Foundation, Berwick College in Victoria have recently held their annual “Watarrka Week”, raising close to $2,000 for the Foundation across a range of student-led events. 

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Support from Ascham School, Sydney

24 September 2019

The Watarrka Foundation has had the privilege of gaining support from students, staff and parents from Ascham School, Sydney. Every two years, students and teachers from Ascham School visit the Watarrka community as part of a school tour to meet the locals and provide any support they can. The Ascham Parents Association recently provided the Foundation with a cheque for $6,000 raised from a school pop-up stall.

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Watarrka Community Fresh Foods Project

28 August 2019

In 2014, the Watarrka Foundation engaged the skills and expertise of Slow Food Hunter Valley to assist in bringing the Watarrka school vegetable garden back to life. Five years on, the veggie garden and fruit orchard have been fully set up and are thriving.

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2019 Sports & Storytelling Festival Comes To A Close

12 August 2019

That’s a wrap! The annual Sports & Storytelling Festival 2019 has come to a close this week as our volunteers and sponsoring organisations return home, and the Watarrka community is left with great memories and a new passion for education.

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Meet Our Chairman

17 July 2019

Over the past 5 years Paul Jensen has played an integral part within the Foundation, delivering a range of projects and being a driving force for donations and corporate sponsorship from his home base in Sydney. 

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NAIDOC Week 2019

8 July 2019

This week is NAIDOC week! NAIDOC week runs from the 7th to the 14th of July and celebrates the culture, achievements and history of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and peoples within Australia.

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The Aboriginal Dreamtime

20 June 2019

Aboriginal tribes have been residing in Australia for more than 40,000 years. And with this long history, comes a long line of storytelling and spirituality that has been passed down from generation to generation, and is commonly known as the dreamtime.

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Make a Tax Deductible Donation Before EOFY

17 June 2019

Help us raise much needed funding for our projects within the Watarrka community before the end of financial year! All donations over $2 are tax deductible, and the Watarrka Foundation will provide you with full tax receipt.

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National Reconciliation Week

27 May 2019

This week is National Reconciliation Week! National Reconciliation Week (NRW) is a week of celebration, and an opportunity for all Australians to learn about the shared history, culture and achievements of our country, and how we can work together to achieve reconciliation in Australia. 

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Growing Fresh Produce To Support The Local Community

13 May 2019

The Watarrka Primary School fruit and veggie project has been a driving force in increasing awareness within the community on how to grow, maintain and cook healthy foods. The project is led by Christine Munro, teacher at the Watarrka Primary School, who began work on the veggie garden almost 5 years ago. Since then, the garden and orchard have produced abundant crops for the community to enjoy. 

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The Year of Indigenous Languages

23 April 2019

The United Nations have declared 2019 the “International Year of Indigenous Languages”. This came after a shocking finding in 2016, that
around 40 per cent of the worlds languages are in danger of disappearing. At this time, there were an estimated 6,700 languages spoken globally, and around 2,680 of these languages, which are mainly Indigenous, are no longer commonly used, and may be forgotten with
the passing of elder generations.

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The Tradition of Aboriginal Dance

9 April 2019

Traditional and ceremonial Aboriginal Dance has been a part of the Aboriginal culture for thousands of years. Dances played an important role in the spirituality of Indigenous Australian tribes, and each group had different customs when it came to performing and orchestrating these dances.

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Join us in supporting National Close The Gap Day!

21 March 2019

National Close The Gap Day, or NCTGD was started in 2007, launched by Olympic Sprinter Cathy Freeman and Olympic Swimmer Ian Thorpe. The day is an important reminder of the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous life expectancy and health standards within Australia. Now in it’s 12th year, NCTGD aims to raise awareness and close the gap on Australian Indigenous health statistics.

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The second classroom is officially open!

15 March 2019

We’re proud to announce that as of the 9th of March 2019, the second school classroom at Watarrka Primary School has officially been opened! A group of our Foundation Directors, major donors, builders, school staff and the Watarrka community were present for the opening ceremony held at the school. 

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Opening of the second classroom at Watarrka Primary School

5 March 2019

We’re very excited to announce that after months of fundraising and organisation, we will be celebrating the opening of the secondary classroom at the Watarrka Primary School on the 9th of March. This classroom will provide a vital opportunity for the local children to continue their schooling on country, living with their families up until year 10.                  

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A History of Aboriginal Art

13 February 2019

Aboriginal Art is one of the oldest art forms on the planet, and has played an important role within Aboriginal society for thousands of years. Australian Aboriginals don’t have a fully formed written language that can be understood across all tribes, so their artwork played an important role in communicating history, ideas and the dreamtime.            

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Welcome to our newest board member, Josie Gardiner

29 January 2019

We’re very excited to welcome our newest Watarrka Foundation Board Member, Josie Gardiner to the team. Josie has a wide range of skills and experience that she will be bringing to the team, and will be a driving force in implementing our planned projects for 2019.  

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Traditional Aboriginal Foods

14 January 2019

For thousands of years, Aboriginal Australians have been surviving on “bush tucker” and foods provided by the outback. Aboriginals were hunters and gatherers, hunting wildlife to provide meat and gathering fruits, seeds and insects for their daily meals. Each season, weather conditions and geographic location would impact the types of food available, making their diet varied and well balanced.

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Thank you for all of your support this year!

18 December 2018

2018 has been a big year at the Watarrka Foundation, with many projects successfully completed and notable improvements throughout the Watarrka Community. We’d like to take this time to say a huge thank you to all of our donors and volunteers for their support throughout the year. Without your contribution, these projects would not have been possible.

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Sports & Storytelling Festival Wraps Up For Another Year

26 November 2018

Another year has passed with another successful Sports & Storytelling festival coming to a close. The annual festival brings together children from three remote areas (Lila, Areyonga and Finke) to play sports and engage in poetry and storytelling activities, encouraging excitement around education and attending school.

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Improving Health Through Sports & Nutrition

23 November 2018

One of the most important aspects of the Watarrka Foundation’s work within remote NT communities is to encourage and improve the overall health of the community. Since the Foundation’s involvement in the Watarrka and Lilla region, we have implemented a range of projects that aim to improve attitudes towards a healthy and happy lifestyle. 

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Watarrka Region: History & Landmarks

23 October 2018

Aboriginal Australians have been living in the Watarrka region for over 20,000 years, enjoying it's beautiful landscapes, animals and plants. The Traditional Owners of the land are the Luritja and Arrente people, who contributed to the large number of Aboriginal art sites positioned within the Watarrka National Park. 

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Watarrka Founder: Reg Ramsden

17 October 2018

Richard “Reg” Ramsden is the Founder and Director of the Watarrka Foundation. Reg started the Foundation in 2011 after experiencing first-hand the challenges faced by remote Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory. Reg has lived and worked in central Australia for the past 30 years, and has always put a high importance on giving back to the local community and Traditional Owners in any way he could.  

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Advisory Board Member: Manny Bell

25 September 2018

Manny Bell is an Advisory Board Member of the Watarrka Foundation, and a proud descendant of the Wakka Wakka people from Queensland. Manny has worked hard throughout his life to put education at the forefront of everything he does, which has led him to corporate success, becoming a Solicitor at the prestigious Dentons law firm in Sydney.

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Construction has begun on the new classroom.

13 September 2018

The Watarrka Foundation is proud to announce that construction on the new school classroom has begun! After months of fundraising drives and hard work from our internal team, as well as the fantastic support from all of our donors, we have been able to move ahead with the construction of the new classroom at the Watarrka Primary School in Lilla.

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Annual Sports and Storytelling Festival 2018

27 August 2018

The Watarrka Foundation is proud to be a part of the upcoming annual Sports and Storytelling Festival. Running from the 29th to the 31st of August, the festival is expected to be the biggest to date involving approximately 40 children from remote communities as well their teachers, community elders and volunteers from various sponsoring organisations.

The main organisations powering this year’s event are Dentons, Westpac, Poetry in Action, The Watarrka Foundation, Remote Tours and NT AFL.

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10x10 & Watarrka Foundation Charity Event

20 August 2018: Fundraising Event 23rd of August.

The Watarrka Foundation is excited to be a part of the upcoming 10x10 charity fundraising event on the 23rd of August, 2018. The event will be held at Dentons Sydney office in the CBD, Jess Miller will be the MC or “Dragon” for the night, and tickets are available to be purchased at

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Moama Anglican Grammar

June 2018 Student Initiated Fundraiser

Asha and Miller Davies proposed the fundraiser to guess the number of Jelly Beans in a Jar that they bought themselves. Each afternoon they set up their stall and sold guesses. All proceeds was presented to Reg.

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CommBank Foundation Centenary Grant

24 May 2018: $10,000 Grant presented to Watarrka Foundation

Tegan Radloff (CommBank Alice Springs Branch Manager) and her team nominated the Watarrka Foundation to apply for a CommBank Foundation Centenary Grant in February. Our application was successful and Tegan presented Jonathan Trollip (Watarrka Foundation Director) with the $10,000 grant on 24 May 2018 in Alice Springs.

New Classroom at the Watarrka Primary School, Lilla

June 2018: Construction Scheduled to begin

October 2018: Construction & Fit out of classroom completed.

Cranbrook School Aboriginal Art Sale, Sydney

When: 1,2 & 3 June 2018

Where: Cranbrook School, New South Head Road, Bellevue Hill, Sydney

2018 Sports & Story Telling Festival, Lilla

When: 28 September to 2 October 2018

Where: Watarrka Primary School at Lilla

Our Partners

Slow Food