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We are delighted to celebrate NAIDOC Week 2020 and acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and achievements. For 65,000 years First Nations People occupied and cared for our country and were our first farmers, scientists, astronomers, storytellers, artists and engineers. This year’s theme, “Always Was, Always Will Be” recognises the noteworthy roles that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have played, and continue to play, in shaping this great continent to sustainably provide for the future.

Recognising and Promoting Indigenous Wisdom

In the past month we successfully launched our 2030 Strategy, where we focus on a world where technology benefits all. In it we shine a light on tenets that we hold centrally including the recognition and promotion of Indigenous wisdom. We believe this recognition and promotion is integral for all engineering professionals.

We celebrate that, in Australia, Indigenous wisdom is now being recognised. However, there is still much work to be done before all Australians embrace this expertise and learn from traditional owners about their history, culture, language and land.

We are all part of a delicately balanced web of life and while our natural systems are malleable, they can also collapse. We are nourished by our environment and we can nourish it with the right intention and approach. The technology that engineers design, develop and implement will always have an impact on these delicately balanced ecosystems and, in turn, the natural world influences the solutions that have been put in place.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People are connected to the country physically, culturally, and spiritually. This is truly “bigger picture thinking”, true system thinking.  We hold this way of thinking as one of our core organisational values and it is one of the principles of our newly articulated Technology Development Approach.  But with few of us steeped in this way of knowing, how can we engineer with this perspective?  We can practice as engineers knowing that others do have this wisdom and listen to their expertise.

In our new 2030 strategy, and in our new ‘Innovate’ RAP – in the final stages of approval – we have committed to actively recognise, respect, promote and use Indigenous wisdom, especially in relation to land management and engineering expertise. We are delighted to share our commitments during this important week.

–  Eleanor Loudon, EWB CEO

Our Picks to Celebrate NAIDOC Week

Our staff have shared a list of the initiatives they’ll be exploring to celebrate NAIDOC week, as well the opportunities they have been embracing as part of their own cultural learning journey.


Indigenous values in Engineering

Join me for a virtual panel discussion along with, a Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Elder, Nigel Corby from Western Water, and Craig Lee, Managing Director of Beca Australia. Date: Friday 20 November 10:00am-11:00am.

Introduction to Indigenous knowledges and decolonial futures

This workshop aims to develop understanding and knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, history and culture, worldviews and perspectives and how these compare and contrast with Western cultures.

Victoria’s Royal Botanic Gardens 

Aboriginal Learning Facilitators are hosting virtual tours through the Cranbourne Botanic Gardens to explore common bushfood plants that can be grown in your backyard.

University of New South Wales 

Live stream with Indigenous rapper Barkaa about what NAIDOC Week means to her and her world.

Bruce Pascoe: Perennial Soil (podcast) 

The Arthur and Hilda Winch annual lecture in pre-colonial Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. Bruce Pascoe delivered a lecture on Indigenous farming and land management. The ‘Dark Emu’ author is also joined in a conversation with agricultural scientist Dr Angela Pattison.



Freeman, a documentary on Aboriginal Olympic Athlete, Cathy Freeman.

NITV and SBS On Demand

A curated collection of films and feature documentaries, every night of NAIDOC week (8 – 15 November).


National arts events

From a Deadly Denim Workshop to painted car bonnets, weaving workshops to Indigenous Dance Awards, streamed music, markets, and dawn beach smokings – this is the quintessential NAIDOC list to keep you connected.


National Gallery of Victoria 

Is hosting a series of events online suitable for families, focussing on William Barack, who used art as a way to record and preserve his culture for future generations.

Storytime with Aunty Fay Muir

Listen to stories around the theme of family and the importance that family holds in First Nations culture. Sing, listen gather.


Many of our staff have been diving into the below fiction and non-fiction titles from Indigenous authors:


Follow Aboriginal-run accounts

@blakbusiness and @commongroundaustralia

Follow our Federal Aboriginal parliamentarians

The 45th Parliament currently includes five Indigenous parliamentarians:

House of Representatives:

Ken Wyatt AM, Member for Hasluck (WA). FB, Twitter

Linda Burney, Member for Barton (NSW), FB, Twitter


Senator Patrick Dodson FB, Twitter

Senator Malarndirri McCarthy  FB, Twitter

*Senator Jacqui Lambie FB, Twitter

*although recognised by the Parliament this has been a disputed claim


You can also learn more about the most recent work EWB is progressing to support Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples to live, work and thrive on Country, including:

EWB collaboration with NAIDOC 2020 poster artist, Ty Waigana

EWB is thrilled to be collaborating with talented NAIDOC 2020 poster artist Ty Waigana, and Saltwater People to create a bespoke piece of art that will be used to represent and support our work with Aboriginal & Torres Strait Island communities. Waigana is a proud Noongar and Saibai (Torres Strait) Islander, and a Perth-based artist and designer. He has previously been named as one of WA’s best new and emerging Indigenous artists. Waigana won the prestigious National NAIDOC Poster Competition for 2020 with his entry ‘Shape of Land’ (see poster image above).

According to the 23-year-old, his winning entry depicts the Rainbow Serpent coming out of the Dreamtime to create this country and how we are strongly connected to it. Says Waigana on the artwork:

“The Rainbow Serpent is represented by the snake and it forms the shape of Australia, which symbolises how it created our lands. The colour from the Rainbow Serpent is reflected on to the figure to display our connection to the Rainbow Serpent, thus our connection to country. The overlapping colours on the outside is the Dreamtime. The figure inside the shape of Australia is a representation of Indigenous Australians showing that this country – since the dawn of time – always was, and always will be Aboriginal land.”

You can download your own copy of this beautiful piece.

We look forward to sharing further news on this exciting collaboration!


For further enquiries about EWB’s Engineering On Country program work, contact Kim Axworthy.

We hope you find an engaging opportunity to learn more and celebrate NAIDOC Week.