NACCHO Aboriginal Health Conferences and Events #Saveadate : Today 29 Oct @strokefdn #WorldStrokeDay Plus Closing dates #PuggyHunter Scholarship #ClosingtheGap #HaveYourSayCTG survey and @UniversitySA Healthy New Born Projects survey

This weeks feature 

29 October World Stroke Day

Next month 

4 November Applications close for the Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarship Scheme 

4 November NACCHO Youth Conference -Darwin NT

5 – 7 November NACCHO Conference and AGM  -Darwin NT

8 November  Survey Closes  : Have your say about what is needed to make real change in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people #HaveYourSay about #closingthegap

14 December Rural/Remote clinicians required for antenatal ultrasound-needs analysis survey

29 October World Stroke Day

 “On World Stroke Day we are urging all the mob to take steps to reduce their stroke risk

 Australian National University research, found around one-third to a half of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in their 40s, 50s and 60s were at high risk of future heart attack or stroke. It also found risk increased substantially with age and starts earlier than previously thought, with high levels of risk were occurring in people younger than 35.

The good news is more than 80 percent of strokes can be prevented.

As a first step, I encourage all the mob to visit to visit one of our 302 ACCHO clinics , their local GP or community health centre for a health check, or take advantage of a free digital health check at your local pharmacy to learn more about your stroke risk factors.” 

Colin Cowell NACCHO Social Media editor and himself a stroke survivor 4 years ago today

Read over 110 Aboriginal health and stroke articles published by NACCHO over past 7 years 

 The current guidelines recommend that a stroke risk screening be provided for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people over 35 years of age. However there is an argument to introduce that screening at a younger age.

Education is required to assist all Australians to understand what a stroke is, how to reduce the risk of stroke and the importance be fast acting at the first sign of stroke.”

Dr Mark Wenitong, Public Health Medical Advisor at Apunipima Cape York Health Council (Apunipima), says that strokes can be prevented through a healthy lifestyle and Health screening, 

Picture Above Naomi Wenitong  pictured above with her father Dr Mark Wenitong Public Health Officer at  Apunipima Cape York Health Council  in Cairns:

Share the stroke rap with your family and friends on social media and celebrate World Stroke Week in your community.

Listen to the new rap song HERE  

The song, written by Cairns speech pathologist Rukmani Rusch and performed by leading Indigenous artist Naomi Wenitong, was created to boost low levels of stroke awareness in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Sharon McGowan said the rap packed a punch, delivering an important message, in a fun and accessible way.

“The Stroke Rap has a powerful message we all need to hear,’’ Ms McGowan said.

“Too many Australians continue to lose their lives to stroke each year when most strokes can be prevented.

“Music is a powerful tool for change and we hope that people will listen to the song, remember and act on its stroke awareness and prevention message – it could save their life.”

Ms McGowan said the song’s message was particularly important for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities who were over represented in stroke statistics.

The Australian National Stroke Foundation promotes the FAST tool as a quick way for anyone to identify a possible stroke. FAST consists of the following simple steps:

Face – has their mouth has dropped on one side?

Arm – can they lift both arms?

Speech – Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?

Time – is critical. Call an ambulance.

But the good news is more than 80 percent of strokes can be prevented.

4 November Applications close for the Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarship Scheme !

This scholarship provides financial assistance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are intending to enrol or are currently enrolled in an eligible health-related course at an Australian educational institution.

Eligible health areas include:

•             Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander health workers and practitioners

•             Allied health (excluding pharmacy)

•             Dentistry/oral health (excluding dental assistants)

•             Direct entry midwifery

•             Medicine

•             Nursing

Examples of eligible study areas.

This scholarship is for entry level or graduate entry level courses only. Funding is not available for postgraduate study. Scholarships are valued up to $15,000 per year for the normal duration of the course. Further information, including eligibility and selection criteria can be found our website.

Applications close Monday 4 November 2019

4 November NACCHO Youth Conference -Darwin NT

Monday 4th November 2019 NACCHO Youth Conference 

The central focus of the NACCHO Youth Conference Healthy youth, healthy future is on building resilience.

Download the AGENDA 

For thousands of years our Ancestors have shown great resolve thriving on this vast continent. Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who make up 54% of our population, now look to the example set by generations past and present to navigate ever-changing and complex social and health issues.

Healthy youth, healthy future provides us with opportunities to explore and discuss issues of importance to us, our families and communities, and to take further steps toward becoming tomorrow’s leaders. We hope to see you there!

Registrations are now closed for the 2019 NACCHO Youth Conference, which will be held November 4th in Darwin at the Darwin Convention Centre.

5 – 7 November NACCHO Conference and AGM  -Darwin NT

Tuesday 5th & Wednesday 6th November 2019 Members Conference now closed 

7th November 2019 NACCHO AGM

This year, NACCHO’s Members’ Conference focuses on the theme –

Because of them we must: improving health outcomes for our people aged 0-29 years.

Download the AGENDA Here

We have chosen this focus because we know that investing in the health and wellbeing of our babies, children and young people can help prevent ill health, disease and disability. Strong investment in this age group will help them to thrive, help them build strong and healthy families and communities, and help to positively influence their future health outcomes and life expectancy measures.

Because of them we must provides an opportunity to place our future generations at the forefront of our discussions, to hear about the innovative work that is happening in our community controlled and other sectors, to exchange ideas and share our knowledge.

If you have any questions or would like further information contact Ros Daley and Jen Toohey on 02 6246 9309 or via email

Conference Co-Coordinators Ros Daley and Jen Toohey 02 6246 9309

7 November

On Thursday 7 November, following the NACCHO National Members Conference, we will hold the 2019 AGM. In addition to the general business, there will be an election for the NACCHO Chair and a vote on a special resolution to adopt a new constitution for NACCHO.

Once again, I thank all those members who sent delegates to the recent national members’ workshop on a new constitution at Sydney in July. It was a great success thanks to your involvement and feedback.

8 November  Survey Closes  : Have your say about what is needed to make real change in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people #HaveYourSay about #closingthegap

There is a discussion booklet that has background information on Closing the Gap and sets out what will be talked about in the survey.

The survey will take a little bit of time to complete. It would be great if you can answer all the questions, but you can also just focus on the issues that you care about most.

To help you prepare your answers, you can look at a full copy here

The survey is open to everyone and can be accessed here:

The Coalition of Peaks are leading face to face meetings with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, communities and organisations on Closing the Gap during the month of October.

The meetings provide an opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in each state and territory to tell the Coalition of Peaks and governments what changes are needed to improve their lives

October Engagement Meetings:


South Australia

2 October – Adelaide Closed

15 October – Ceduna Closed

18 October – Port Augusta Cllosed

23 October – Mount Gambier



11 October – Launceston Closed


Western Australia

14 October – Broome Closed

17 October – Geraldton Closed

21 October – Kalgoorlie Closed

23 October – Port Headland Closed

28 October – Perth Closed

30 October – Narrogin Closed


Australian Capital Territory

17 October – Canberra Closed

28 October – Canberra


Victoria15 October – Melbourne Closed

16 October – Bendigo Closed

17 October – Morwell Closed


New South Wales

21 October – Sydney Closed


Northern Territory

4 October – Katherine Closed

11 October – Yirrkala Closed

30 October – Darwin



23 and 24 October – Canberra Closed


VIC Update

There were three meetings held across Victoria, details are below.

Website RSVP 

NSW Update 

The NSW Coalition of Aboriginal Peak Organisations (CAPO) of which NSW Aboriginal Land Council is a member, are leading the Closing the Gap engagements across the state.

28 consultations will be taking place during the month of October and early November. The consultations are an opportunity for communities to have their say on Closing the Gap.

The 2019 Closing the Gap consultation will see a new way of doing business, with a focus on community consultations. NSW is embarking on the largest number of membership consultations, more than any other state or territory, with an emphasis on hearing your views about what is needed to make the lives of Aboriginal people better.

Your voices will formulate the NSW submission to the new National Agreement. By talking to Aboriginal people, communities and organisations, CAPO can form a consensus on priority areas from NSW when finalising the new National Agreement on Closing the Gap with governments.

The discussion booklet: ‘A new way of doing business’ provides background information on Closing the Gap and sets out what will be discussed at the consultations.

The consultations are being supported by the NSW Government.

Come along and join in the conversation. The dates and locations are:

Route 5
Broken Hill Tuesday 29th Oct
Wilcannia Wednesday 30th Oct
Menindee Thursday 31st Oct
Dareton Friday 1st Nov

Route 6
Lismore Monday 28th Oct
Coffs Harbour Tuesday 29th Oct
Kempsey Wednesday 30th Oct

Route 7
Redfern Monday 4th Nov
Mount Druitt Tuesday 5th Nov
Bathurst Thursday 7th Nov

Route 8
Moree Tuesday 5th Nov
Walgett Wednesday 6th Nov

To register your attendance at Routes 1 and 2, please do so via Eventbrite:

Consultations will run from 11am – 3pm with lunch provided.

If you are unable to make the consultations, you can still have your say through an online survey.

For more information on the Closing the Gap consultations:

Each jurisdiction has structured the events differently, some opting for fewer large events and some opting for a larger number of smaller events.

For more information on The Coalition of Peaks, The Joint Council,

The Partnership Agreement and to sign up for our mailing list, go to: programmes/coalition-of-peaks/

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #FamilyMatters Report 2019 Download : The crisis of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children being over-represented in the child protection systems continues to escalate at an alarming rate.

“If we do not change our course of action the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in care will more than double in the next 10 years.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are seven times more likely to be on a permanent care order until 18 years. They are at serious risk of permanent separation from their families, cultures and communities.

The trauma associated with child removal is intergenerational.

It affects a person’s functioning in the world, has an adverse impact on family relationships and creates vulnerability in families.

Healing is an important part of reclaiming the resilience we need to deal with life’s challenges and address the burden of trauma in our communities,”

Family Matters Co-Chair Richard Weston.

The crisis of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children being over-represented in the child protection systems continues to escalate at an alarming rate, reveals The Family Matters Report 2019

The report also shows a growing trend towards permanent placement away from their families and that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children continue to experience high levels of disadvantage.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are 37.3% of the total out-of-home care population, including foster care, but only 5.5% of the total population of children.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are now 10.2 times more likely to be removed from their families than non-Indigenous children.

The decreasing rate of placement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children with Indigenous carers dropped from 49.4% to 45% in a year and has declined from 65.3% in 2006.

The Family Matters Report 2019 also reveals poverty and homelessness has a profound impact on children being removed from their home.

Nearly one in three Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are living below the poverty line. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander householders are almost twice as likely to experience rental stress.

“Household income and access to safe and healthy housing have a substantial impact on the capacity of families to provide safe and supportive care for children,” says Family Matters Co-Chair Natalie Lewis.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children experience disadvantage across a range of early childhood areas, are more likely to be developmentally delayed at the age of five and attend childcare services at half the rate of non-Indigenous children.

“We stress the need for an increased investment in prevention and early intervention to redress the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of- home care. Consistently, more funding is invested in child protection services than support services,” says Ms Lewis.

The Family Matters Report 2019 calls for:

  1. A national comprehensive Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s strategy that includes generational targets to eliminate over-representation and address the causes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child
  2. Investment in quality Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled integrated early years services through a specific program with targets to increase coverage in areas of high Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population and high levels of
  3. Establishing state-based and national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s commissioners to enable improved government accountability and oversight.
  4. An end to legal orders for permanent care and adoption for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, replaced by a focus on supporting their connections to kin, culture and

Family Matters is Australia’s national campaign to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people grow up safe and cared for in family, community and culture. It aims to eliminate the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care by 2040.

Family Matters – Strong communities. Strong culture. Stronger children. is led by SNAICC

– National Voice for our Children and a group of eminent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders from across the country. The campaign is supported by a Strategic Alliance of over 150 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous organisations.

Since 2016, the campaign has released an annual Family Matters report that examines how Australia is faring in improving the safety and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

Have your say about what is needed to make real change in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children  #HaveYourSay about #closingthegapCTG

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people know what works best for us.

We need to make sure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth voices are reflected and expertise is recognised in every way at every step on efforts to close the gap in life outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians.’

‘The Coalition of Peaks is leading the face to face discussions, not governments.

The Peaks are asking Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth to tell us what should be included in a new Closing the Gap agreement and we will take this to the negotiating table.’

There is a discussion booklet that has background information on Closing the Gap and sets out what will be talked about in the survey.

The survey will take a little bit of time to complete. It would be great if you can answer all the questions, but you can also just focus on the issues that you care about most.

To help you prepare your answers, you can look at a full copy here

The survey is open to everyone and can be accessed here:



NACCHO Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and #WorldHeartDay #ClosingTheGap : NACCHO and the @END_RHD Coalition highlights #RHD Rheumatic Heart Disease as a leading cause of cardiovascular inequality for our mob

“ With Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people being 122 times more likely to have RHD than other Australians, it has become a priority issue for us to confront. In some of our communities, the average age of death from RHD is just over 40 years of age.

These statistics alone speak to the urgency of increased comprehensive and collaborative action.

We want to put ourselves in the strongest position to end this disease over the coming decades.

NACCHO Chief Executive Officer and Co-Chair of END RHD , Ms Patricia Turner AM

Read / Download full NACCHO Press Release HERE

What causes Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD)? see Part 2 below

Photo above: In February 2019, NACCHO also welcomed an announcement from the Hon Ken Wyatt AM, Minister for Indigenous Australians, that saw the Federal Government commit $35 million over three years to support the creation of a vaccine that could end RHD in Australia.

Read NACCHO RHD articles HERE

You can find lots of #WorldHeartDay resources like printable factsheets & infographics, to help educate, inspire & motivate people in your community to keep their hearts healthy

Download these Resources HERE

Read over 80 Aboriginal Heart Health articles published by NACCHO over past 7 Years

The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) is marking World Heart Day by raising awareness of the high prevalence of rheumatic heart disease (RHD) in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Over 4,500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are living with the effects of acute rheumatic fever, the precursor to RHD, or have RHD. If action is not taken now it is estimated another 10,000 will have developed ARF or RHD by 2031.

NACCHO is a founding member of END RHD, an alliance of health, research and community organisations seeking to amplify efforts to end rheumatic heart disease in Australia through advocacy and engagement.

To affirm the continued effort by NACCHO and its members to eradicate this disease, NACCHO encourages all Australians to show their support by pledging their commitment to ending RHD on the END RHD website:

RHD can have devastating effects and is a form of permanent heart damage which results from a throat or skin infection caused by Strep A bacteria.

Although it is most commonly experienced by individuals living in developing countries, Australia has some of the highest rates of the disease in the world, occurring almost exclusively in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Full details of these 5 priorities HERE 


Part 2 What causes Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD)?

What causes Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD)?

When a child gets a group A streptococcal infection of the throat (known as strep throat), their body’s immune system, in trying to fight that infection, produces antibodies. Sometimes these antibodies, in addition to killing the strep, can damage their heart. Acute rheumatic fever can occur following an untreated strep throat infection and can cause irreparable damage to the major cardiac valves, known as rheumatic heart disease.

How common is RHD?

RHD is considered a third-world disease yet Australia has some of the highest rates in the world. About 3-5 per cent of Aboriginal people living in remote and rural areas have the condition. Children aged between 5 and 14 years are most likely to get rheumatic fever.

What are the risk factors of RHD?

Certain living conditions make streptococcal infections more likely. Known risk factors include poverty, overcrowding and limited access to medical care. It is thought that the bacteria may also enter the body through skin cuts and abrasions – so skin sores in a child should never be ignored.

What are the symptoms?

Damaged heart valves found in RHD mean the heart cannot work normally. Symptoms include heart murmur, chest pain, breathlessness, and swelling of face and legs. RHD can result in heart failure and premature death.

How is it diagnosed?

Rheumatic fever is not a straightforward diagnosis – there’s no single test but rather a checklist of symptoms, including heart inflammation, fever, painful joints and skin rash. Early diagnosis and taking preventative antibiotics can stop it developing into RHD. People with RHD require ongoing medical care, antibiotic treatment and possibly cardiac surgery.

The only effective way to stop rheumatic fever recurring is to have monthly penicillin injections, for 10 years or until the patient has turned 21.


NACCHO Aboriginal Health #IYIL2019 and Early Childhood Development #ClosingTheGap : @theALNF shines on the world stage for its innovative use of technology to help solve the literacy challenges facing our Indigenous communities


“Language gives us a sense of identity and, for many Indigenous peoples globally, storytelling is the way our culture and history is shared through the generations. With the loss of language therefore comes the loss of identity.

The importance of First Language, particularly to early childhood development, has been recognised by the United Nations and it’s especially exciting for us to win this award during the International Year of Indigenous Languages ‘

Professor Tom Calma AO, Co-Chair of ALNF and Reconciliation Australia 

“ Language is more than a mere tool for communicating with other people. People simply don’t speak words. We connect, teach and exchange ideals. Indigenous languages allows each of us to express our unique perspective on the world we live in and with the people in which we share it with.

Unique words and expressions within language, even absence of, or taboos on certain words, provide invaluable insight to the culture and values each of us speaks.

Our Language empowers us.

It is a fundamental right to speak your own language, and to use it to express your identity, your culture and your history. For Indigenous people it lets us communicate our philosophies and our rights as they are within us, our choices and have been for our people for milleniums “

Minister Ken Wyatt sharing Australia’s story on preserving and revitalising #IndigenousLanguages at @UNHumanRights Council

Read full speech Here 

Australian technology innovation shone on the world stage today when the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation (ALNF) won the MIT Solve Challenge for ‘Early Childhood Development’ in New York.

The Australian charity was selected out of 1400 entrants, and was one of 61 finalists for the global accolade which recognises innovative technology solutions for global challenges.

ALNF was awarded for its ground-breaking ‘Living First Language Platform’ (LFLP), a highly accessible, cross- platform multi-media app that preserves and revitalises Indigenous First Languages, empowering speakers with best-practice literacy tools to learn to read, write and teach in their mother tongue

The award recognises ALNF’s innovative use of technology to help solve the literacy challenges facing Indigenous communities and will see MIT Solve deploy its global community of private, public, and non-profit leaders to help ALNF build the partnerships needed to scale their work nationally and internationally.

ALNF seeks to address the lack of linguistically inclusive early education, which is recognised by communities and leaders as a major factor in low levels of attainment and engagement of Indigenous children and families in early education.

In remote areas of Australia, around two-thirds of Indigenous children speak some words of an Indigenous language, and in some communities, almost 100% of children encounter English for  the first time when they enter school. Globally, around 221 million children do not have access to education in their First Language.

See a demonstration of the ‘Living First Language Platform’ in action here

Importantly, the platform also aims to stem the rapid and ever-increasing loss of Indigenous languages. There are more than 4,000 Indigenous languages in the world and devastatingly, one is lost approximately every 14 days.

The support from the MIT Solve network will help us to continue to develop and grow the platform’s capability, ensuring a robust Early Childhood Development resource. Additional funding received from investors and donors will go directly to ALNF to enable us to work with more communities in Australia to record our own Indigenous languages and improve literacy levels.”

ALNF is currently working with five Australian Indigenous language groups on the platform, in some instances recording ancient languages for the first time.

One of these languages, Erub Mer from the Torres Strait, has only a few fluent speakers remaining. Thanks to the Living First Language Platform, more than 2000 Erub Mer words have been added to ALNF’s teaching tool by an enthusiastic community, passionate about passing their language on to the next generation.

Photos from Erub Mer workshop Kenny Bedford 

The six global challenges in the MIT Solve Challenge were determined via consultation with more than 500 leaders and experts and workshops with communities around the world. ALNF was among 61 global finalists invited to New York city to pitch their technology solution to the MIT Solve Challenge Leadership Group — a judging panel of cross-sector leaders and MIT faculty —during U.N. General Assembly Week.

In addition to today’s MIT Solve win, the ‘Living First Language Platform also won in its category of ‘Innovation in Connecting People’ at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Innovation Awards in Austin, Texas earlier this year.

For more information or to donate go to

Have your say about what is needed to make real change in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people #HaveYourSay about #closingthegap

There is a discussion booklet that has background information on Closing the Gap and sets out what will be talked about in the survey.

The survey will take a little bit of time to complete. It would be great if you can answer all the questions, but you can also just focus on the issues that you care about most.

To help you prepare your answers, you can look at a full copy here

The survey is open to everyone and can be accessed here:

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #FASDay #FASDprevention News : @NOFASDAustralia and @TheRACP call for mandatory warning labels and a national #FASD Prevention Campaign. An alcohol free pregnancy is everyone’s responsibility.

“ At NOFASD, across Australia, and around the world people took a minute today to pause and reflect on the struggles which individuals , families and communities face when they are living with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

At 9:09 on the 9th day of the 9th month we came together to raise awareness about the risks of alcohol and the importance of alcohol-free pregnancies.”

See NO FASD Press Release Part 2 Below

Read over 30 Aboriginal Health and #FASD articles published by NACCHO

“ Before the extra years were added to his sentence and before the trouble that led to them, authorities were warned that a teenage boy with severe cognitive impairments was deteriorating in Darwin’s Don Dale youth detention centre and needed help.

Key points:

  • A 17-year-old boy was recently sentenced to an additional four years’ jail over a riot in Don Dale in July 2018
  • The ABC has seen letters sent to authorities weeks before the riot, requesting urgent intervention
  • A Supreme Court judge accepted that conditions in the prison contributed to the boy’s offending

Legal letters seen by the ABC formally requesting urgent intervention in then-16-year-old Corey’s* “outrageous” treatment in the condemned facility were sent to the head of the Territory Families department and the NT Children’s Commissioner in June last year.

Legal Aid lawyers told authorities that the teenager — who has foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) and a history of trauma starting from abandonment in hospital at birth — had been kept in effective isolation, with little fresh air, sunlight and schooling, and had been threatened and assaulted by other boys inside Don Dale.

A spokesperson said Aboriginal health organisation Danila Dilba was taking over primary health care in the centre, support services had been “significantly” increased and an FASD component was added to staff induction training.

Olga Havnen, who is the chief executive of Danila Dilba, said Corey had been set up to fail in a system that couldn’t help him.

She said the teenager’s conviction for property damage to Don Dale was ironic, asking: “Who pays for the damage caused to this young person?”

Extracts from ABC Report : Read in full here

Part 1 RACP Press Release

Doctors from the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) are calling for the Australian Government to introduce mandatory pregnancy warning labels on alcohol products.

“Drinking alcohol while pregnant can lead to birth defects and lifelong neurodevelopmental problems associated with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorders (FASD),” said Professor Paul Colditz, President of Paediatrics and Child Health at the RACP and an alcohol policy expert.

“FASD is the most common and preventable cause of serious brain injury in children in Australia. There is no cure for FASD, so prevention is everything. This is why clear and unambiguous messaging on the harms of drinking while pregnant is important and why such messaging should be mandatory across all alcohol product labels.

“With less than half of alcohol manufacturers currently using pregnancy warning labels we can’t look to the industry to self-regulate.

“There is also an inherent conflict of interest under the current approach where consumers are ultimately directed towards industry websites for warning information and may be exposed to contradictory messages.”

In its submission to the Food Regulation Standing Committee, the RACP makes a number of evidence-based recommendations about how to implement mandatory pregnancy warning labels.

The RACP recommends that behaviour change experts develop new text for warning labels. Graphics should feature on the label to convey the harms of alcohol to an unborn baby.

Consistency of messaging is important so warning labels should be standardised across the industry. Prominence of the labelling is also important.

“We know that pregnancy warning labels alone are not enough to prevent FASD, but we think it’s a step in the right direction for raising public awareness about the dangers of prenatal alcohol exposure,” Professor Colditz said.

The National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2016 found only 56 per cent of pregnant women said they abstained from drinking during pregnancy.

Part 2 NO FASD Press Release Continued

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) reports that 50% of Australian women experience an unplanned pregnancy.

The first few weeks of these unknown pregnancies are a major risk for prenatal alcohol exposure. Approximately 59% of Australian women drink alcohol at some time during their pregnancy, and estimates indicate that 1 in every 13 women who consume alcohol will have a child with FASD.

These numbers are staggering. The AMA states that “few accurate data on the prevalence of FASD in Australia is available but it is estimated that FASD affects roughly between 2% and 5% of the population in the United States”.

FASD is the most common preventable disability, and preventing FASD is a whole-of-community responsibility. Mothers never intentionally put their children at risk. Increasing awareness about the risks of drinking when you could be pregnant, and supporting women who are pregnant to abstain throughout their nine months, is essential for preventing alcohol-exposed pregnancies.

If you are pregnant, don’t drink alcohol. If you drink alcohol, don’t get pregnant.

Friends and partners can play a major role in supporting mothers to be alcohol free. For example it is much easier for a woman to say no to alcohol if her partner stops drinking too. We can support expectant mothers by organising fun alcohol-free activities, serving non-alcoholic drinks, and reducing or ceasing our own drinking.

If you, or anyone you know, is pregnant, planning or could be, NO ALCOHOL is the safest option

NACCHO Aboriginal Children’s Health #ClosingTheGap : @SNAICC Chair @MbamblettMuriel Over 1200 #SNAICC2019 delegates support a call for a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s strategy

” While many other reforms are needed to support the best futures for our children, getting these things right will set us on the path to Closing the Gap in outcomes, and giving all of our children access to their fundamental rights.

We need your action now” 

SNAICC Chair Muriel Bamblett

With more than 1200 delegates meeting on the land of the Kaurna people in Adelaide, the past three days have been a truly exhilarating experience for us. We have been able to share our knowledge and experiences in raising happy, healthy and confident children in our cultures and communities.

Dusty Feet Mob performed on Day 2 of the 8th SNAICC National Conference, 2-5 Sept. 2019. From Port Augusta, S.A. Dusty Feet Mob are an Aboriginal dance group that builds a connection to culture, language, community and country through dance.

We have heard from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and practitioners who are proving that they are leading change. Where state and territory governments have invested in and committed to self-determination for our communities, we see greater outcomes for our children and families.

Our challenge going forward will be to address the disparities in funding between states, territories and the Commonwealth and varying levels of commitment.

As one voice, we call for urgent action to be taken to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children have every opportunity to grow up safe and cared for in their family, community, and culture, and on country.

Our agreement on the Closing the Gap Refresh is to support the Coalition of Peaks, and pursue the three reform priorities for action to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and children in the areas of child protection and in the early years.

Our key calls for action are:

1. The establishment of a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Commissioner

We have been inspired by the brilliance and leadership of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, June Oscar AO and South Australian Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People, April Lawrie.

Commissioner Oscar’s commitment to focusing on early intervention and wellbeing was highlighted yesterday. She said,

Just 17% of funding for child protection went to child and family support and prevention services while 83% has been invested in child protection services. This needs to change.”

A National Commissioner for our children must be independent, properly resourced, and have strong powers to investigate the systems that are failing our children.

2. A comprehensive National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Strategy that includes generational targets to eliminate the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care

The National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children ends next year and has failed to improve outcomes for our children. The soaring rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care are a national crisis. We must start work now so that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can co-design with governments a dedicated strategy that focuses on prevention and targets the drivers of child protection intervention.

We heard strong calls from Victoria Tauli-Corpuz’s, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, that Australia must adhere to international standards. The strategy must give effect to the internationally recognised human rights of our children. It must be based on our knowledge of what will work to change outcomes and seek to achieve the four building blocks of the Family Matters Campaign.

3. A dedicated funding program for integrated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander early years services, and an exemption to the child care ‘Activity Test’ for our families

We need a long term program to invest in integrated community-controlled early education, maternal and child health and family support services, with clear targets to increase coverage in areas of high Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, and high levels of disadvantage.

There should be an exemption to the Activity Test in the New Child Care Package, because that test limits participation for children in early education and undermines their fundamental rights. This will seriously impact the futures of our children.

4. An end to legal orders for permanent care and adoption for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, replaced by a focus on supporting the permanence of their identity in connection with their kin and culture

We need to stop focusing on permanent legal orders, and invest in programs that support reunification and cultural connection for children in care. Our children need continuity and to know where they are from, and their place in relation to family, mob, community, land and culture.

This too is a significant human rights issue.

While many other reforms are needed to support the best futures for our children, getting these things right will set us on the path to Closing the Gap in outcomes, and giving all of our children access to their fundamental rights. We need your action now

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Research News : Ngarruwan Ngadju: First Peoples Health and Wellbeing Research Centre gives the team a real identity says @kathleenclapham and @DrMLongbottom

” It will give us an identity. Rather than being the team that works in the corner of AHSRI, we are the Ngarruwan Ngadju: First Peoples Health and Wellbeing Research Centre.

Identity has finally been won and Indigenous health Professor Kathleen Clapham couldn’t be happier.

“Ngarruwan is the sea, the salt water over a long distance, it connects our communities down the coast, it connects us with our international partners.

Ngadju is fresh water, Kath [Prof Clapham] is a fresh-water woman. The name represents all of our team, it’s also about the sustenance that water provides us; water is life.

To start to explore the conundrum of the inequalities which exist, let’s look at the root causes of those.

Let’s not try to blame individuals, let’s look honestly at the history of Australia and our region, let’s look at the structures that sustain the inequalities.”

Researcher Dr Marlene Longbottom said the name Ngarruwan Ngadju had special meaning for all team members

NEW HOME: Dr Marlene Longbottom and Professor Kathleen Clapham at the Ngarruwan Ngadju: First Peoples Health and Wellbeing Research Centre launch at the UOW Innovation Campus. Picture: Robert Peet

Press Release : Identity has finally been won and Indigenous health Professor Kathleen Clapham couldn’t be happier.

So too are her fellow University of Wollongong researchers involved in the Ngarruwan Ngadju: First Peoples Health and Wellbeing Research Centre.

On Friday the team of eight finally had a place to call home.

Previously they had been working at the Australian Health Services Research Institute (AH SRI) at the Innovation Campus.

The centre’s new digs are in the same building but importantly the researchers have their own dedicated space.

The team’s research focuses on the health and wellbeing of South Coast Indigenous communities.

They aim to identify what’s working well, and bring evidence to light in the broader community.

Researcher Layne Brown has been evaluating a program run by the Coomaditchie United Aboriginal Corporation at Kemblawarra.

The program works with kids at risk of being suspended or leaving education. It supports cultural teaching and provides academic, living and social skills. It connects young people with their family and their community.

The team also addresses issues of inequality, such as Indigenous life expectancy and suicide rates.

Launch of Ngarruwan Ngadju: First Peoples Health and Research Centre and the launch of Active & Safe: Preventing Unintentional Injury to Aboriginal Children and Young People guidelines.

Working in partnership with Aboriginal communities is the only way to tackle the high rates of injury for Aboriginal children reportActive and Safe‘ finds

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are still dying from unintentional injuries at the same rate as 15 years ago, a new report has highlighted. Yet death rates for non-Aboriginal children have halved in the same period.

The report – Active and Safe – by The George Institute, The Australian Health Services Research Institute, Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network, Kidsafe NSW and the Australasian Injury Prevention Network calls for injury prevention in Aboriginal communities to be made a priority.

The report provides a set of NSW Health funded guidelines developed from research undertaken in 2016.

Australian and NSW data show rates of injury to Aboriginal children to be consistently higher than for non-Aboriginal children, with the mortality rates for Australian children from injury-related causes almost five times higher and hospitalisation rates two times higher than the rate for non-Aboriginal children.

The guidelines are intended to assist a number of stakeholder groups working in Aboriginal child injury prevention including: Aboriginal community controlled organisations, non-government organisations; researchers and government policy makers.

“We need the government to work alongside and be guided by Aboriginal communities to build on community strengths and promote the resilience of Aboriginal children, families and communities in injury prevention,”

said Keziah Bennett-Brook, Manager of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Program at The George Institute.

“The new guidelines have a strong focus on practical implementation and will be a valuable tool for policy makers, researchers and practitioners,” she said.

The guidelines were also developed and designed to complement the Australia edition of the Child Safety Good Practice Guide which provides practitioners, decision-makers, and legislators with an evidence-focused resource on which they can base their work, funding and recommendations.

The Active and Safe guidelines are being released today to coincide with the launch of the Ngarruwan Ngadju: First Peoples Health and Wellbeing Research Centre located within the Australian Health Services Research Institute at the University of Wollongong and led by Professor Kathleen Clapham.

Download the full report ‘Active & Safe: Preventing unintentional injury to Aboriginal children and young people in NSW’(PDF 2.4 MB)




NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #SocialMedia #MentalHealth #SuicidePrevention : Is your mob safe online ? New Report: Urges parents and communities to seek support with children’s online safety

Kids are growing up in two worlds, the real world and an online world. Just like we protect kids from dangers in the real world, it’s important to protect their safety in their online world too.

Many of our mob are unsure how to help keep their kids safe online. These resources are designed to educate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents and carers of children aged 5 – 18 about the importance of starting the chat with young people around online safety.

Visit Be Deadly Online to find out more about the big issues online, like bullying, reputation and respect for others “

Download StarttheChatandStaySafeOnlinepdf

Start the Chat

Download Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Resources Here

“eSafety has built engaging and award-winning educational content to help adults understand the issues and trends so they can have informed conversations with young people about what they are doing and experiencing online.

There is no substitute for being as engaged in our kids’ online lives the way we are in their everyday lives.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to parenting in the digital-age. Our materials seek to accommodate these differing parenting styles and are tailored to be used in accordance with your child’s age, maturity and level of resilience,” 

eSafety Commissioner, Julie Inman Grant

Download the Report eSafetyResearchParentingDigitalAge

Parents are the first port of call for most young people affected by negative experiences online but less than half of parents feel confident to manage the situation, according to new research issued yesterday.

The report, Parenting in the digital age, conducted by the eSafety Commissioner (eSafety) explores the experience of parents and carers raising children in a fast-paced connected world.

eSafety found only 46% of Australian parents feel confident in dealing with online risks their children might face, with only one third (36%) actively seeking information on how to best manage situations like cyberbullying, unwanted contact or ‘sexting’ and ‘sending nudes’.

According to the eSafety Commissioner, Julie Inman Grant, the findings reinforced the importance of providing resources to support parents and carers in managing conversations about online safety.

“We know dealing with online issues can be challenging for many parents. The issues are complex, nuanced and ever-changing and are different from what we experienced growing up,” says Inman Grant.

“The research shows 94% of parents want more information about online safety. This is why it is critical to equip parents and carers with up to date resources and advice on how to keep our children safer online. Australian parents need to know they are not alone in navigating this brave new online world and that there is constructive guidance to help them start the chat.”

Starting the chat, an important part of growing up safe online

“Everyone has a role to play in further safeguarding our children online and we are seeking the help of all parents, carers, educators, counsellors and anyone else that has a connection to a child or young person to answer this call.”


Starting the chat with teens, key to online safety (Stars Foundation)

The report also uncovered the varied parenting styles used to help manage online safety in the home. Parents with older children were more likely to favour an open parenting style, providing guidance and advice, while parents with younger children were more likely to adopt a restrictive approach by controlling online access and setting rules around internet-use.

“There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to parenting in the digital-age. Our materials seek to accommodate these differing parenting styles and are tailored to be used in accordance with your child’s age, maturity and level of resilience,” adds Inman Grant.

Now is the time to start the chat.

Visit for a free copy of the report, as well as tools, tips and advice for parents, carers and educators to help manage these conversations, including tailored information for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as well as resources in various translated languages.

Aboriginal Health and #ChronicDisease 1 of 2 #SaveADates Submissions Close 15 July for Reviewing the Practice Incentives Program Indigenous Health Incentive (PIP IHI). Register for Workshops 17 June to 3 July #NSW #QLD #VIC #SA #WA #NT#ACT

Aboriginal Health Hero’s @ashbar96 #BartyParty : NACCHO pays tribute to our two French Opens winners #EvonneGoolagong 1971 and now #AshBarty 2019 #Dream #Believe #Learn #Achieve


“ I think the pathways and progress we’ve made for Indigenous youth in Australia has been incredible.

I think there have been more opportunities, there’s more publicity, people are actually aware that there is a pathway for Indigenous youth, not only in tennis but in all sports.

But tennis is now becoming a nationwide sport for Indigenous youth.

It’s incredible to know what Evonne has done and how passionate she is about it. If I can have any small part in that, that would be incredible.”

Ash Barty speaking after winning the 2019 French Open 8 June

Her win will inspire a generation of Australian girls to play tennis and as an Indigenous Australian, just like the 1971 champion, Evonne Goolagong Cawley ( 13-time major champion ) See Part 2 and 3 below 

” Goolagong grew up in the wheat town of Barrellan in New South Wales, one of eight children. Her mother Melinda was a homemaker and father Kenny a sheepshearer.

Their simple one-story home was a tin shack with dirt floors and no electricity. But moreover, Goolagong was born into Aboriginal heritage, the only family of its kind in town, and as light-skinned members of the Wiradjuri tribe, the Goolagong kids faced prejudice, and faced a cloudy and uncertain future.

The Australian government’s policy at the time was to forcibly remove Aboriginal children from their families and relocate them to camps where they could be properly educated and integrated into white society.   

“Every time there was a shiny car, my mum must have worried if was the welfare people coming for her kids,” Goolagong has explained in many media interviews when the topic of her Aboriginal roots was questioned.

We had no idea. We thought the welfare man was there to take us away.”

Evonne pictured this week with Tackling Tobacco Team – Nunkuwarrin Yunti ACCHO Adelaide

Since 2005, she has run the Goolagong National Development Camp for Indigenous girls and boys, which uses tennis as a vehicle to promote better health, education and employment. See Part 4 below

See Evonne Goolagong Foundation Website 

Extracts from the Guardian

Everything you need to know about Ash Barty was summed up in the immediate aftermath of her first grand slam success. Within minutes, the 23-year-old, a teenage prodigy turned cricketer and turned back into a tennis player again, was busy trying to share the glory with those she feels have helped her along the way.

From her family – her parents and her two sisters – to her team, and coach Craig Tyzzer, Barty almost always speaks of “we” when it comes to describing her exploits.

She may be a grand slam champion for the first time, but as far as she is concerned, it has been a team effort.

“I’m extremely lucky to have a team around me that love me for Ash Barty the person, not the tennis player,” she said, sitting with the Coupe de Suzanne Lenglen within reach, just an hour or so after her 6-1, 6-3 triumph over the Czech teenager Markéta Vondroušová.

“I’m extremely lucky to have an amazing family, a truly amazing family that no matter, win lose or draw, the text messages and the facetiming is the same. It’s just a really good group of people around me that make the tennis very easy.”

If it wasn’t already clear, Barty is a hugely popular player, as evidenced by the outpouring of congratulations on social media, and directly to Barty via texts and instant messages.

From Petra Kvitová to Nick Kyrgios and from numerous players and coaches on both the ATP and WTA Tours, Barty’s achievement was hailed by her peers. “It’s incredibly kind, especially from your peers, I suppose,” said Barty, who shared a handshake and hug with Rod Laver after the match.

“And people that you see every single week and most weeks of the year, it’s very kind of them to compliment [me], my game.

But I think it’s also a compliment to my team. It’s just been an incredible journey, the way we have tried to work and develop and grow this game that I have and this game style and kind of Ash Barty brand of tennis, I suppose. It’s amazing. I haven’t seen any of it yet. It’s just been nice to take a minute or two with my team and celebrate what we have achieved.”

There have been some tough days for first-time finalists here at Roland Garros over the years, from Natasha Zvereva being double-bagelled by Steffi Graf in 1988 to Elena Dementieva’s 6-2, 6-2 defeat by Anastasia Myskina in 2004. Barty and Vondroušová were both appearing in their first grand slam final but while the Czech failed to produce her best, Barty was close to perfect in her execution of her game.

And hers is a game to bring a smile to the face of anyone who loves to see variety on the court.

Compete, enjoy and try to do the best you can – that’s her mantra – and the way she plays, with slice, power, angles, drop shots, volleys, kick serves, everything you can imagine, is a joy to watch. As Kirsten Flipkens, the Belgian player, tweeted on Saturday evening: “Just love to watch her play (with a gamestyle similar to mine, just 20 times better. Slice for life! Impressive, Kiddo”.

Three years after she returned from an almost two-year hiatus from the Tour, Barty has a grand slam title to her name, a surprise only in the fact that the first one should come at Roland Garros, rather than, say, Wimbledon, where her style of play would seem to be perfectly suited.

It was at Wimbledon where she won as a junior, aged 15, but her ability to hit every shot, as encouraged by her first coach, Jim Joyce, means she is a threat on every surface.

September 2018 #USOpen Doubles Title

Barty will rise to world No 2 on Monday, only a handful of points behind Naomi Osaka, and she admitted that reaching top spot was a goal.

Barty will celebrate with her family when she heads to the UK for the grass-court season, building to Wimbledon, where she will be a big threat for the title. It’s entirely possible she will be the world No 1 before the summer is out, but whatever success she has, she will ensure her family and team share the credit.

Part 2. Evonne discovers spiritual centre court 1993 

When she competed on the world professional tennis circuit Evonne Cawley would always look forward to the traditional dancing that tournament organisers would put on to welcome international players.

But she always wondered why, at the Australian events, no equivalent celebration of Indigenous culture ever took place.

“In almost every other country, I went to the native people would put on a dance,” Cawley recalled this week. “I used to think, “why doesn’t this happen at home ?. It always made me feel a little sad.”

For Cawley, the sporting heroine who as “our girl” Evonne Goolagong rose from the obscurity of small town life in NSW to capture her first Wimbledon crown as a teenager in 1971, such memories are becoming increasingly relevant as she seeks to unravel the mysteries of her own aboriginality.

It is a journey of self-discovery which this week took her, for the first time, to Australia’s red centre, to a dinner with 120 Aboriginal women in Alice Springs and to the awesome grandeur of Uluru, symbolic sentry to 40 000 years of Indigenous Australian culture.

“ I ve reached a stage in my life where I need to find out about where I come from – about everything to do with being an Aboriginal person,”said Cawley.

In the ancient Pitjantjatjara language of the Anangu custodians of Uluru the process is written “ara mulapa ngaranyi pulkara kulintjaku”- the proper thing is to really listen.

As she follows this new road Cawley has found a great source of strength in the old Aboriginal women she has met  along way , women she described as the most interesting people I have ever met.”

At dinner in Alice Springs she sat down with traditional Aboriginal women who have never seen a big city, hardly ever left the desert. Gushing with joy, she explained how they held hands together and sang old favourite mission songs like “One Day at a Time”.

“ The dinner was a really special time for me, “Cawley said. “ I had never been to anything like it before and I felt a great sense of unity with the women. I really felt there was a lot of bonding there.”

Cawley’s search for her Aboriginal identity reveals the little-known downside of her life in the jet-set world of professional tennis.

Thrust into the limelight as a teenager by the sheer natural artistry and grace of her sporting talent she inevitably became an international celebrity, feted from nation to nation by the sport’s floating gallery of movie stars, money moguls and royalty.

Front Page The Australian September 11-12 1993

Part 3 Evonne Goolagong 13-time major champion

Evonne Goolagong was not born into tennis royalty with a gold plated racquet, fancy outfits, and private lessons at a posh country club.

From the Tennis Hall of Fame 

Furthermore, she didn’t matriculate her game with a used wooden racquet on public courts.

Her introduction to tennis has perhaps the most humble origins in tennis history, yet she overcame major stumbling blocks to become the No. 1 player in the world, won 13 majors and ranked 12th all-time in championship wins.

Goolagong’s first racquet as a youngster was made from a wood fruit box that resembled a paddle – it was absent of any strings. For hours on end she would hit a ball against any flat surface she could find.

A young Evonne was spotted peering through a fence at Barellan War Memorial Tennis Club by club president Bill Kurtzman, who asked her if she’d like to join in. Had Kurtzman not made the gracious and human offer, it’s likely her road to the Hall of Fame, let alone a revered place in history as a two-time Wimbledon Ladies Singles champion (1971, 1980) and keeper of four straight Australian Open Singles titles (1974-77) would not have materialized.

Word obviously traveled fast, as renowned Sydney-based tennis coach Vic Edwards was tipped off to the prodigy and made a 400 mile trip west to the wheat-farming country to see what all the fuss was about.

Even as a developing player, Goolagong had the grace and movement on court that would be a staple of her splendid career. Edwards was enamored with Goolagong, whose name is Aboriginal. He persuaded her parents to let him take the 14-year-old to Sydney for schooling at Willoughby Girls School (where she completed her School Certificate in 1968), coaching, and boarding.

She became part of his family in 1965, with Edwards protecting her from racial slurs, as she competed in big city tournaments, teaching her to believe in herself and talents. Edwards instilled confidence in Goolagong and prepared to her to become the first non-white to play in apartheid South African in a tournament in 1972. At age 15, Goolagong won the New South Wales Championship and in 1967 competed in her first Australian Nationals.

Goolagong would compile an illustrious resume, appearing in 26 major finals (18 singles, six women’s doubles and two mixed doubles), capturing seven singles, five doubles and one mixed double championship.

Overall, she earned 72 singles, 45 doubles and three mixed doubles tour championships and compiled a 704-165 (81 percent) singles record. During the 1970s, Goolagong was a household name and face – attractive, carefree, and admittedly prone to lapses in concentration that caused folks to say “Evonne’s gone walkabout.”

Goolagong was graceful, almost poetic in how beautifully she played the game. Not only did tennis fans marvel in her smooth and effortless movements, but her opponents could also get caught in the ballet that was on the other side of the net.

“She was like a panther compared to me,” said Billie Jean King after losing to Goolagong in the semifinals of the 1974 Virginia Slims Championship at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. “She had more mobility and she played beautifully. I started watching her, and then I’d remember all of a sudden that I had to hit the ball.”

In 2005, Martina Navratilova told Sports Illustrated, “She was such a pretty player. She didn’t serve-and-volley, she would sort of saunter-and-volley.”

Goolagong preferred a baseline game that observers said was reminiscent of Ken Rosewall‘s – her backhand was classically stroked liked Rosewall’s with slice and accuracy. Her groundstrokes were precise and fluid, balls struck hard each time.

“She can be down love-40, apparently beaten, and she’s still trying to hit winners,” Margaret Court told the New York Times. “She won’t play safe tennis, and her shots are quite unpredictable. They’re likely to come back in any direction. The harder you hit the ball to her, the more she likes it. It’s best to slow the game up, rather than try to outbelt her … and she loves a wide ball … she’ll have a crack at anything.”

At the 1971 Australian Open, Goolagong lost to her idol Court in three well-played sets, 2-6, 7-6, 7-5.

At the French Open, the No. 3 seeded Goolagong won her first major singles championship, defeating fellow Aussie and unseeded surprise finalist Helen Gourlay, 6-3, 7-5.

It helped that No. 1 seed Court and No. 2 seed Virginia Wade were eliminated in the third and first rounds respectively. Goolagong didn’t face a seeded player until the quarterfinals, No. 6 Françoise Dürr, and squashed the native favorite, 6-3, 6-0.

A few months later, her tennis dream came true when she decisively defeated Court to win Wimbledon, 6-4, 6-1. “To beat Margaret Court … I was over the moon about winning,” Goolagong said. Outside of defeating the defending champion Court, Goolagong needed a huge semifinal, 6-4, 6-4 victory over King to advance. She nearly became a repeat champion in 1972, but King evened matters with a decisive 6-3, 6-3 victory in the final.

“It was the age of nine that I dreamed about winning Wimbledon,” Goolagong said, appearing as a guest on the television news program Where They Are Now Australia in 2007. “I read this cartoon magazine story called Princess Magazine, about a young girl who was found, trained and taken to this place called Wimbledon, where she played on this magical center court and eventually won. Every time I went to hit against a wall I used to pretend I was there, and every time I went to sleep I would dream about playing on that magical court”

Goolagong made her Wimbledon debut in 1970, and at the time, just stepping inside the hallowed All England Club may have seemed like heaven for the Aussie, but she had unfinished business ahead.

“I remember a cocktail party the night before Wimbledon started and the head of Dunlop (Goolagong’s racquet sponsor) took me out on court when there was no net, just deep silence,” Goolagong recalled. “I said, ‘Wow, I am here … my dream has come true, I am really here.’ I remember playing a girl named Peaches Bartkowitz – what a name – an American top player who beat me pretty convincingly (6-4, 6-0).

When I got off the court my coach said, ‘maybe I better enter you into the “plate” event for second and third round losers, that way you’ll get used to the atmosphere, the crowds, the court. I played in that and ended up winning it.”

The following year, the fairy tale came true with the cherished victory in London and Goolagong ended the 1971 touring season as the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year.

Wimbledon had a love affair with Goolagong, who dubbed her “Sunshine Supergirl” and she long maintained that the crowning moment in her career came at Wimbledon in 1980, when she defeated Chris Evert in the final to become the first mother since Dorothea Lambert Chambersto accomplish that feat in 1914.

The nine years between championships matched Bill Tilden for the longest gap between titles in history. “After I defeated Margaret Court at Wimbledon in 1971, I found out later she was pregnant and I thought, ‘so that’s why she played so badly,’” Goolagong joked. “Of course I was pregnant in 1980 and was so thrilled to have won again.”

Goolagong captured the Australian Open four times and three consecutively (1974-76), defeating Evert (7-6, 4-6, 6-0); Navratilova (6-3, 6-2) and Czech Renata Tomanova (6-2, 6-2).

The three-peat at Melbourne has only been accomplished by Court, Steffi GrafMonica Seles, and Martina Hingis. Goolagong also appeared in six consecutive finals (1971-77), a record shared with Hingis and stands alone in total finals (7), achieved from 1971-76. Three of her wins (1975-77) came without losing a set, a remarkable mark shared only with Graf. The only asterisk on her championship-filled career was the U.S. Open, where she was a finalist four consecutive times (1973-76), and unable to claim a championship, though the 1973, 1974, and 1975 defeats all came in tightly-contested three set matches against Court, King, and Evert.

Goolagong was nearly perfect in doubles, winning seven major tournaments; 1971 Australian with Court, 1974 Australian and Wimbledon alongside American Peggy Michell; 1975 Australian with Michell; 1976 and 1977 Australian with compatriot Helen Gourlay. She won the 1972 French Open Mixed Doubles Championship with Aussie partner Kim Warwick.

Goolagong made history in October, 1974. As a 23-year-old, she won the third annual and season-ending Virginia Slims Championship played at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. She upset King in the semifinals, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 and then upset Chris Evert in the final, 6-3, 6-4. She earned $32,000, equal to the top cash prize in the history of women’s tennis. Goolagong also won the season-ending Slims in 1976, again defeating Evert. She was a finalist in 1978, losing to Martina Navratilova. She ranked in the Top 10 for nine years. She married Roger Cawley in 1975 and added the surname while still on tour.

Nagging injuries forced her into retirement in 1983. She moved to South Carolina, where she became the touring professional at the Hilton Head Racquet Club. The family purchased 70 acres and built a 20-court tennis center. She began working with Tennis Australia and launched the Evonne Goolagong Getting Started program for young girls.

For her service to tennis, Goolagong was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1972 and Officer of the Order of Australia in 1982.  Home! The Evonne Goolagong Story was published in 1993. Since 2005, she has run the Goolagong National Development Camp for Indigenous girls and boys, which uses tennis as a vehicle to promote better health, education and employment.

Part 4 



Under the auspices of the Evonne Goolagong Foundation, the Goolagong National Development Camp targets Indigenous young people between the ages of 12 and 21 for four main purposes:

  1. Use tennis as a vehicle to promote and help provide high quality education and teach better health through diet and exercise.
  2. Increase the number of young Indigenous people playing tennis both competitively and socially
  3. Support young Indigenous people who have the potential to play at the elite level and make a career in tennis either as a player, coach or administrator.
  4. Develop in all young people who come through the camps the ability to lead, plan and organise so they can contribute these skills in their own Communities when they return as well as work effectively with non-Indigenous individuals and organisations.

See Evonne Goolagong Foundation Website 

Since 2012, in partnership with the Australian Government the Dream, Believe, Learn, Achieve programme each year has run ‘Come and Try’ days across each State and Territory with some participants chosen to receive assisted coaching.

Progression to a Goolagong State Development Camp (GSDC) can follow with the aim of selection to the Goolagong National Development Camp (GNDC) held each January in Melbourne during the first week of the Australian Open.

Mentored school scholarships are awarded from the GNDC. To date, almost 4900 youngsters have entered the programme and in 2017 thirty youngsters have progressed to the GNDC 2018.