Wirltu Yarlu Cultural Advisors
Niina Marni (Are you good?). At Wirltu Yarlu, we are fortunate to have the cultural guidance of two Kaurna Elders, Rosemary Wanganeen and Uncle Rod O'Brien. To the university they bring a wealth of experience, knowledge, pride in their Aboriginal heritage and culture and a willingness to share, teach and grow. Rosemary and Uncle Rod can advise on a range of Aboriginal matters and provide culturally appropriate support to all students and staff of the university.
- Cultural Advisors
Uncle Rod O'Brien
Rod identifies as a Kaurna man and devotes much time to helping other Kaurna people identify with the language and culture. He is an active member of the Adelaide Aboriginal community, volunteering his time as a Chairperson on a number of committees which include the Kaurna Warra Karrpanthi Aboriginal Corporation, Kaurna Yerta Aboriginal Corporation and Kura Yerlo Inc.
Rod has an Honours and Bachelor's Degree in Applied Science in Aboriginal Community Development and Management from Curtin University. Prior to joining Wirltu Yarlu, he worked in the State Government for over 23 years in the Department for Child Protection.
Rod is passionate about reclaiming Kaurna language, and hopes to see Kaurna language and culture being in taught in every school in the Adelaide Plains region.
"My dream is for the Kaurna language to be revived to a level where there are hundreds of people able to converse in it with meaningful dialogue on a daily basis. For I believe, if it is spoken, people will gain strength, knowledge and power from its us, thus keeping alive Kaurna culture."
Uncle Rod works Monday - Friday.
Rosemary is a proud Kaurna, Koogatha and Wirrangu woman. Rosemary is the founding CEO of the Australian Institute for Loss and Grief, which has been working with health professionals across Australia to challenge respectfully, from an Aboriginal perspective, prevailing western assumptions about loss and grief.
On the basis of her extensive experience and knowledge, Rosemary has been admitted into a Master of Philosophy degree at the University of Adelaide.
Rosemary works on Friday.
- Welcome to Country
Our Cultural Advisors are available for Welcome to Country for University of Adelaide or external events.
What is a Welcome to Country?
A Welcome to Country is a formal process which publicly recognises the Traditional Owners and Custodians of a given area and welcomes visitors to their country. All three campuses of the University of Adelaide sit on Kaurna Land, and thus it is appropriate for a Welcome to be performed by Kaurna people who have both the authority and respect within their community.
Why is recognition of Country so important?
There are many reasons why recognition of Country (through either the ‘Welcome to Country’ or the ‘Acknowledgement of Country’) is important for Kaurna people, Aboriginal people from another Country, and non-Aboriginal people.
For Kaurna people, the recognition of Country is a sign of respect that acknowledges the sacred, cultural and spiritual significance of Country, the lore and the Kaurna people. Through the recognition of Country, awareness about Kaurna culture is shared.
‘Welcome to Country’ has always existed as a protocol for Aboriginal people. It is considered that being in someone else’s Country means following formal processes and sharing knowledge between cultures. Aboriginal people visiting from another Country may not feel welcome to speak, work and act if they are not formally welcomed to Country.
For non-Aboriginal people, it is a starting point to educate current and future generations about Aboriginal people and cultures. It is a position from which a sense of pride in Aboriginal cultures can grow. To ensure recognition is a richer experience,
A ‘Welcome to Country’ must extend beyond words and have substance and meaning for all involved.
Engaging a Cultural Advisor
All requests require two weeks notice to book a Welcome and we require information regarding the event to ensure the Welcome to Country is tailored appropriately.
The standard fee for Welcome to Country at University events is $250.00 and information for payment will be supplied on confirmation of booking and there may be additional fees for transport that will be notified at time of booking. Fees for external events will be advised upon request.
- Cultural Advice
At Wirltu Yarlu, we understand that university can be daunting experience for all students, including those of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage. Our Cultural Advisors want to help students feel safe and welcomed at the University of Adelaide by providing tailored cultural advice and emotional support.
Whether you're facing challenges in your study, work or family life, both Rod and Rosemary are available to help you work through your concerns in a safe, culturally appropriate space.
- Cultural Engagement
Our Cultural Advisors are available to provide input into University of Adelaide projects that require engagement from a Kaurna elder to ensure cultural appropriateness.
Please complete the enquiry form to register your interest for their involvement.