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2019 Tickets are available now.

Indigenous boarding continues be in the spotlight as questions are raised about the capacity of boarding to meet the needs of Indigenous students and close the education gap. Regardless, for most rural and remote Indigenous secondary students, a boarding education is the only viable opportunity for academic achievement, personal growth and future opportunities with the skills to walk in both worlds.

If the Indigenous education gap is to be closed through boarding there is an urgent imperative that boarding schools and residences do Whatever it takes! to meet the needs of Indigenous students.

So what must boarding schools and residences do to help Indigenous students get on-board, engage in learning and stay connected throughout their schooling?

Whatever it takes! is a rallying call for everyone involved with Indigenous education and boarding to be at  the 2019 Indigenous Education and Boarding Symposium in Brisbane on 11-14 March to step up and make boarding education a positive life experience for every Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student studying away.

Do Whatever it Takes to be in Brisbane for the 2019 National Indigenous Education and Boarding Symposium.


  • School Principals and leaders
  • Senior School Staff with responsibility for Indigenous students
  • Heads of Boarding and Boarding managers
  • Remote community leaders and families whose children study away
  • Managers of relevant government agencies
  • Managers of Not for profit organisations with responsibility for Indigenous student welfare
  • Providers of scholarships for Indigenous boarding students
Mon 11 March
6pm Registration
6pm – 9pm Welcome Function
Tues 12 March
8.30am Opening and Keynote Address
On-boarding – what does it take to get an Indigenous student from the bush to prepare for and commence boarding?

(Speakers, Q&A and Workshop)
Richard Stewart, State Program Manager, Transition Support Services, QLD
Anthony Bennett, Manager, Wiltja Secondary College, SA
Peter Linnehan, Principal Coach, Deparmentt of Education, QLD
Brenton Toy, Director, Transition Support Unit, NT
NPY Women’s Council, NT

Engaging – what does it take for a boarder to feel connected with their boarding experience and value their education?

(Speakers, Q&A and Workshop)
Leigh Allener, Head of Residential Campus, Western Cape College, QLD
Anthony Begg, Indigenous Students Coordinator, Kinross Wolaroi School, NSW
Dr Tessa Beneviste, Senior Research Officer, CQU, QLD
Gayle De La Cruz, Project Manager, North Qld Toyota Cowboys
Derek Hunter, Indigenous Liaison Officer, Aquinas College, WA

6.30pm Indigenous Boarding Awards Dinner
Bernie Dean, MC
Wed 13 March
7.45 to 8.30am


Symposium Exclusive
Evaluation of Investment in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Boarding Services and Indigenous Boarding Financial Health Survey Results. Overview and Q&A.
Andrew Giles MP, Shadow Assistant Minister for Schools, Member for Scullin, VIC
Staying Connected – what does it take to keep a boarder returning each term, year after year, until they complete their education?

(Speakers, Q&A and Workshop)
Andrew Beck, Indigenous Program Coordinator, Guildford Grammar School, WA
Renee Coffey, Deputy CEO, AIEF
Ronnie Forrest, Program Coordinator – Future Footprints, Assoc of Independent Schools of WA
Lorraine King, SA
Stuart Ward, Principal, Tiwi College, NT

You can’t say that!

(Speakers, Open mic)

3.00pm Closing statement and Call to Action
Thur 14 March
8.30am – 1.00pm What’s Working in Indigenous Boarding
Findings of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Boarding Reference Group – Student Support Working Group(Optional workshop)

Ticket inclusions


  • Cocktail Welcome Function
  • Indigenous Boarding Awards Dinner – 3 course meal, drinks and entertainment
  • Lunch and tea break refreshments Tuesday and Wednesday
  • 2 day symposium

Optional Workshop – What’s Working in Indigenous Boarding

  • Refreshments and light lunch
  • 1/2 day workshop


Full ticket pricing details are displayed below. Early Bird tickets are available until midnight 28 February 2019. When booking Early bird prices will be displayed automatically until they end.

to 28 February
From 1 March
Group of 3 +
Boarding Australia / ABSA members $1,295 $1,395 $3,300 / 3 people
(+ $1,100/extra)
Non-Members $1,495 $1,595 $3,900/ 3 people (+ $1,300/extra)
Workshop – Boarding Australia / ABSA members $295 $395 $690/3 people


Workshop – Non-Members $395 $495 $990/3 people


Boarding Australia have negotiated special accommodation rates for Symposium Delegates.

Rydges South Bank and Mantra South Bank are both conveniently located adjacent to the symposium venue.

The links below will open a new window/tab and take you to a unique booking page with prices and room options.

Rydges Accommodation Deal

Mantra Accommodation Deal

Boarding Australia hosted the first National Indigenous Education and Boarding Symposium at the Canberra Rex Hotel on March 27th and 28th, 2018.

Driven by the release of recent reports the Symposium focussed on the issues of Child Protection, The Power of Education and Studying Away.

We will collate and publish the outcomes of the Symposium and please see below the items that are currently available to download.


Tuesday 27 March

Keynote Presentation – Commissioner Robert Fitzgerald AM – The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse – Learnings and Challenges from the Royal Commission (1MB)

Wednesday 28 March
Keynote Presentation – Geneveive Hassall, Adviser, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
The Study Away Review. (4.5MB)

Keynote Presentation – Richard Stewart, Manager, Transition Support Service, Queensland Education Department. The future needs of boarding for remote Indigenous students. What do we know, what’s coming next and what do we need to do now. (1.4MB)

Common Themes and Priorities identified by the Workshop Groups over the two days (0.15MB)

Additional Resources
Response to Symposium Common Themes and Priorities, John Guenther, Marnie O’Bryan, Richard Stewart, Tessa Benveniste, Bill Fogarty and David Mander.

Study Away Review Fact Sheet, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.


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