Community members invited to join local Aboriginal healing workshops in Southern NSW

2 November 2023

A healing program developed from an Indigenous perspective will be delivered free of charge for local community members over the next few months in Southern NSW. 

Organised by COORDINARE – South Eastern NSW PHN, the one-day Red Dust Healing workshops will be held in four key locations and facilitated by Barry Fernando, a proud Yuwaalaraay man within Gamilaroi nation. 

Red Dust Healing is a self-evaluating awareness program designed to help people deal with hurt and anger in their lives. Aimed at the heart and not the head, the Red Dust Healing program arms participants with the tools to make better choices and to fix things in their own lives. The workshops cover areas such as anxiety, fear, social and emotional wellbeing, mental health, suicide safeguarding, domestic violence, and law and justice. 

COORDINARE’s Aboriginal Health Service and Development Manager Nathan Deaves said: “Aboriginal community representatives have identified the need for further Red Dust Healing workshops as an appropriate solution to support healing and help with the grief and loss experienced by our communities. 

“Due to impacts of the recent referendum outcome, natural disasters (drought and bushfires) and COVID-19, there remains ongoing grief and trauma among communities in the Southern region. This is especially highlighted through recent suicides impacting directly on Aboriginal communities.  

“As part of COORDINARE’s commitment to working collaboratively to improve wellbeing and suicide outcomes for Aboriginal community, we believe attendance at these workshops will contribute to the healing process,” said Mr Deaves. 

A participant in a recent workshop said, “I have heard so many good things about Red Dust Healing. I’m so glad I got the opportunity to attend. Uncle Barry is really good.” 

Designed by Tom Powell, a Warramunga man from within the Wiradjuri Nation, Red Dust Healing received the 2017 United Nations of Australia Award for services to Human Rights. Over 17,000 people in over 400 communities Australia-wide and internationally have so far benefited from the Red Dust Healing program. 

Workshop registrations are now open for: 

  • Narooma – Monday 6 November, 9.30am-3pm, Club Narooma 
  • Ulladulla – Tuesday 21 November, 9.30am-3pm, Ulladulla Civic Centre 
  • Bega/Eden 2024 – venue and date TBC  
  • Goulburn/Queanbeyan 2024 - venue and date TBC 

*Header image: Barry Fernando, a proud Yuwaalaraay man within Gamilaroi nation, workshop facilitator.

Aboriginal health, Events, Mental health, Southern NSW