First Nations science a strong focus during National Science Week 2019

National Science Week kicks off this weekend and there are plenty of Indigenous events happening across the country.


New South Wales

On August 8 and 9, INDIGI HACK takes over Redfern – a two day ‘hackathon’ event that helps students make connections between science, culture and technology to create an app that could revitalise Indigenous languages.

Over 100 Indigenous youth from remote Australia and New Zealand will team up with 20 teachers and community members as well as 14 industry mentors to develop potential language-saving apps.

The student hackathon winner is given the opportunity to develop and refine their product and skills further.

At the Redfern Community Centre, the Indigenous Science Experience is from August 14-16 and celebrates both Indigenous and Western Science.

Attendees learn about bush medicine, Aboriginal astronomy, and the value of traditional and contemporary Indigenous knowledge in technology and science.

Students from National Indigenous Science Education Program (NISEP) partner schools will also assist in activity demonstrations.

On August 17, the Sydney Harbour will host the Indigenous Navigation by the Stars Harbour Cruise led by an Aboriginal crew aboard Tribal Warrior’s Mari Nawi (Big Canoe).

The crew will share skills and stories taken from generations of traditional star navigation knowledge.

Participants will learn about connections to lands, seas and skies based on Traditional Owners’ deep knowledge of the stars, oceans, winds and tides.

Cruisers will also learn how stars can be used to mark one’s position and navigate the seas {or the harbour) safely.



The regional town of Ballarat is the location for Aboriginal Astronomy with host, Kamilaroi astrophysics student Krystal De Napoli on August 16.

Ms De Napoli will showcase how First Nations people have been encoding scientific information in their traditions for thousands of years, and how this knowledge is passed on from generation to generation.

In Melbourne, festival attendees will delve into the psychology of traditional knowledge and look at how different Indigenous cultures have similar patterns of memorising maps for navigation by the stars.

Participants will explore psychological pattern recognition and whether it’s possible to use similar methods to encode memories into the modern world.


Western Australia

The State Library of WA will host Moonboorli (Beyond): Integrating Noongar culture in science on August 10 with Kobi Morrison at the workshop’s helm.

Mr Morrison will share with attendees how they can incorporate Noongar cultural elements into their everyday work methods.

The workshop will address approaches to appropriate acknowledgement and collaborating in ways that are inclusive, relevant and engaging for all Australian cultures.


Northern Territory

Between August 13 and 18, the HealthLAB: Science on Wheels clinic will travel around the Territory to work with Aboriginal health practitioner trainees on country.

On August 13, remote Milingimbi community will be visited by the clinic where visitors can see ultrasounds of their heart and kidneys, hear their heartbeats and see the way the heart changes after exercise.

Darwin Parliament House will be visited on August 15, where visitors can engage in the above activities as well as try on headsets that mimic high blood alcohol levels.

The last stop of the roving clinic will be at Charles Darwin University in Casuarina on August 18, where interactive displays and demonstrations will cover issues such as nutrition, preconception health, and poisons in cigarettes, among others.

Visitors to the HealthLAB can also find out more about careers in health sciences and related fields.

National Science Week runs from August 10-18, for more information visit:

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