Indigenous Offerings

8IATC hosts are pleased to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the country upon which the conference will be held, and wish to pay our respects to the Dharawal people, also known as Tarawal and Tharuwal.

We recognise that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population of the region include many cultural and political groups and organisations.

What have Australia’s Indigenous people got to do with Adventure Therapy?

Adventure Therapy in Australia is usually conducted out-of-doors in nature, whether that be in a local urban park or a remote wild landscape. For this reason, adventure therapy is called ‘Bush’ Adventure Therapy and has everything to do with Australia’s Indigenous people – they are the traditional custodians of the country, bush, rivers, lakes, beaches, marine areas and mountains that we venture into. In Australia there is no ‘wilderness’, which implies a ‘people-free’ natural place. All natural landscapes in Australia have a traditional and continuing cultural presence – natural places are ‘peopled’ places.

The diverse practices of Bush Adventure Therapy in Australia resonate strongly with a wide range of traditional place-based Indigenous practices and also contemporary therapeutic practices and programs designed to maintain the wellbeing of Aboriginal people, their community and the land upon which they live.

Bush Adventure Therapy practitioners often seek permission from local custodians of the land they visit, and since its inception, the Australian Association for Bush Adventure Therapy (AABAT) has sought guidance and practical advice from traditional custodians.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait influences are very strong within the Australian field of Bush Adventure Therapy, and for this reason, the 8IATC organising committee has worked hard to establish relationships with local custodians and involve Indigenous people in as many ways as we can throughout the conference.

8IATC organisers have provided 10 Indigenous scholarships, and are responding to additional requests for support as they are received. From this basis, we are excited and proud to have abundant Indigenous offerings at the 8IATC.

Current Indigenous Offerings at the 8IATC include:

  • Welcome to country, Smoking ceremony
  • Indigenous Spotlight Presentations:
    • Professor Liz Cameron & Ms Barbara Allen – ‘Creativity Within Making and Seeing Within an Aboriginal Cultural Place and Spiritual Space’ 
    • Associate Professor Gabrielle Fletcher –  ‘Strategies of Encounter:  Adventures in Post-Humanism – Indigenous Ontological Conceptions of Country and Co-Becoming’
  • Presentations with Indigenous content:
    • Jacob Prehn and Luke Mabb – ‘The Benefits of Bush Adventure Therapy for the Social and Emotional Wellbeing of Aboriginal Men’
    • Arthur Alla (non-Aboriginal man) – ‘Therapeutic and Educational Programs in Remote Indigenous Australia’
    • Donna Moodie – ‘8 Ways of Knowing: The Beginners’ Mind/ Search for Indigenous Knowing’.
    • Donna Moodie, Lee Lingwoodock and Professor Tarquam McKenna (Head of Research at IKE) – ‘Identity: Art as a Way of Engaging Children and/or Parents in an Australian Way of Knowing’.
  • Aboriginal Men’s booth: hosted by Jacob Prehn and Luke Mabb
  • Indigenous Closing Ceremony — Dreaming Humming Bee

By Hoya (Lynne) Thomas and Rhona Miller The conference closing activity is an indigenous dreaming humming bee to bring people together through love, understanding and belonging. By sending out blessings, prayers and respect for Mother Earth we will  reconnect the conference delegates through the songlines.  As a collective, the activity is providing therapy for meditation and oneness.

Additional Indigenous Offerings

8IATC hosts welcome attendance and further involvement by Indigenous people at the 8IATC. There are limited places left for people to present – the remaining places must be delivered at outside venue spaces (i.e. out-of-doors) and delegate places are filling fast.

For information on submitting an Abstract to present at the 8IATC see:  

For more information about the conference visit:

More Information

For more information on local protocols in relation to traditional custodians see the City of Wollongong Welcome and Acknowledgement of Country document:

For more information on identified local traditional custodians look for:

  • Korewal Elouera Jerrungarugh Tribal Elders (KEJ)
  • Wadi Wadi Coomaditchie Aboriginal Corporation
  • Wodi Wodi Elders Corporation
  • Wodi Wodi Traditional Custodian Corporation

There were over 300 culturally and linguistically diverse groups of people living in the Australian continent prior to colonisation by the British beginning around 1788. Among other commonalities within these traditional Indigenous groups were cultural practices – deep wisdom, skills and knowledges – that maintained the health of people, communities and the country over millenia.

Today, contemporary Australians – from all cultural backgrounds – are at various stages of ‘making sense of’ and ‘taking up personal reconciliation’ with the history of colonisation and dispossession. This is an ongoing ‘work in progress’ for Australia and Australians.

The Australian Association for Bush Adventure Therapy encourages individuals to take up the pursuit of reconciliation. Organisationally, AABAT acknowledges the role and responsibility for national bodies and those engaging in public discourse to acknowledge and show respect for the ancient cultural presence in the Australian landscape and the ongoing traditional and spiritual custodianship of land by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in Australia.