Yalari 2022 Annual Review

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Annual Review 2022
A Message from our Founder 5 The Yalari Story 6 2022 Impacts 8 Board Report 10 Eivannah: Yalari Student 12 Towards 2023 14 Jermaine Harrison: Yalari Alumni 16 Our Partner Schools 18 Student Development Program 20 Jabreeni Fogarty: Yalari Alumni 24 Pathways to the future 26 Alumni success 28 Our valued supporters 30 Fundraising Dinners & Events 32 Yalari Foundation 36 Commercial Eyes: Yalari Supporter 38 Volunteer Contributions 40 Trish Matthews: Yalari Supporter 42 Financial Report 44 Thank you 46 Contents 3

Acknowledgement of Country

Yalari acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first inhabitants of this land. We recognise their culture, history, diversity and deep connection to land, waters and territorial seas of Australia.

We pay our respects to the Elders, past and present and acknowledge the Yalari office is on Kombumerri country within the lands of the Yugambeh language group of the wider area. We also acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work Australia-wide, and recognise their culture, heritage and beliefs.


A message from our Founder

2022 … back to normal and moving ahead.

2022 marked an important milestone for Yalari. Through the generosity of individuals and the Australian Federal Government, we bought a building, and created Yalari’s permanent home. It was more than just a financially sensible decision. Our head office is a symbol. We showed our children and alumni that it is possible to own land, a home or a building, while also being able to understand connection and responsibility to the land they are on at any time, embracing culture, story, truth and belonging.

Land ownership has an intrinsic meaning for Indigenous people. It should include security and wealth creation.

Our alumni are educated and empowered. They are working in places all over Australia and throughout the world, pursuing careers they could never have imagined as children. We are supporting them, walking alongside them as they build secure, empowered, contributing lives. Much of this year’s focus has been spent building out our alumni support in our Pathways program. It is not enough to support children to complete Grade 12, we must continue to support our alumni so they fully realise their potential.

2022 was a year of growth in capabilities as we created new roles for head office, invested in the team, welcomed everyone into the new office, and confidently wrote our Strategic Plan for 2023-2025. Our calendar is always full. We held our face to face Student Support Officer workshops, all of our camps for the specific year groups (and a catch up one for the Year 11 girls in Central Australia), board and regional council meetings, three fundraising dinners, and many student gatherings across the country. We were running, laughing, yarning, planning, doing and being as fast as we ever were. It was back to normal, and we embraced it.

I can look back on 2022 with admiration and respect for our Yalari team; our staff, volunteers, students and families, supporters and donors, and partner school staff. I’m very proud of the energy and heart that people bring of themselves when they are supporting us and our students and alumni in so many different ways. The truth is, it takes us all. None of us can do it on our own, and nor would we want to. The community of Yalari is vibrant, precious, vulnerable, strong, loving and kind. Thank you for being a part of our community.


The Yalari story

In 1979, a young Aboriginal boy growing up in rural Queensland was awarded a scholarship to attend Toowoomba Grammar School. Waverley Stanley went on to become the first Indigenous student to complete Year 12 and to be appointed school Prefect in the school’s 100+ year history.

More than 20 years later, Waverley and his wife Llew Mullins, backed by a group of like-minded and generous supporters, established Yalari to give young Indigenous students from remote and regional areas that same opportunity.

Named in honour of the Year 7 teacher who helped to organise Waverley’s scholarship, the Rosemary Bishop Indigenous Education Scholarships are awarded annually to approximately 50 children from across Australia who are about to start their secondary schooling. The scholarships cover full boarding and tuition costs to attend some of Australia’s leading boarding schools right through to Year 12 and are funded by corporate sponsors, trusts and foundations, individuals and government programs.

Our scholarships are complemented by a holistic network of educational, pastoral, personal and cultural support.

Our Student Support Officers (SSOs) who are based in cities and major centres across Australia, journey alongside our students. Through our Wellbeing Program, SSOs work with parents and guardians, school staff and community services to monitor each student’s wellbeing and encourage them to develop and maintain their cultural connections. We also have a dedicated group of volunteer tutors who provide one-on-one academic help and guidance.

Most importantly, we understand the value of students supporting students through the connections and friendships they make at our annual camps, workshops and cultural activities.



Yalari’s vision is to be one of Australia’s great enduring educational and leadership foundations empowering Indigenous people from regional and remote Australia.


To create equitable opportunities and outcomes for successive generations of Indigenous children.

To develop leading programs educating and supporting Yalari’s students and alumni, individually and collectively, as qualified, contributing, culturally connected and influential Australians.

To honour all Australians by sharing Indigenous cultures through stories, healing, laughter and truth.

Our CORRIE Values

Compassion Openness
Resilience Inclusiveness Excellence 7

2022 impacts

Total number of Yalari Scholars

229 Yalari
Graduates 26
51 8
Alumni 445
New Scholarships Awarded


Scholarships Awarded to Date

Number of camps 96% 9
Annual retention Rate

A message from the Chair

18 years ago, Waverley and Llew launched Yalari with a vision to change outcomes for Indigenous Australians; a credit card, 1 table, 2 chairs, 2 phones and a lot of love and determination. Anyone who wanted to help was welcome whether you were (to quote Waverley) “black, white, brindle, purple or corrugated.” Many wonderful people joined them to help.

Today, as a result, 674 young Indigenous people’s lives have changed for the better. They are learning, contributing, developing and emerging as leaders in this country, changing stereotypes, changing outcomes and creating positive change for the nation.

The lives of countless others, who live and work alongside Yalari students and alumni, have changed for the better too. My guess is, that number is in the thousands.

What Yalari does works. The heart and soul of Yalari is, and always will be, the love and support given to every child who accepts a scholarship. We are constantly expanding our models of pastoral care, and increasingly involving our alumni in the support of our students and each other. Their impact is profound.

This year we continued investing in our Pathways program which supports and develops our alumni. Our Pathways program has 4 pillars:

1. Post-School Pathways;

2. Pathways for Personal Growth;

3. Leadership and Professional Development Pathways; and

4. Pathways for Voice and Connection

As our alumni grows, we must continue this investment to keep pace.

In 2022 we offered a record intake of scholarship recipients for commencement in 2023. Each year we see enthusiastic children from our remotest

communities who don’t have the necessary numeracy and literacy skills to take a place at one of our partner schools ... just yet. So, we have commenced a feasibility study into establishing a Yalari bridging program. This school will be aimed at closing the literacy and numeracy gap for children from our remotest communities and if successful, we will then be able to offer more children access to our Rosemary Bishop Scholarships (grade 7-12).

Yalari is evolving as we invest in capacity, capabilities, facilities, systems and processes to increase our impact. Importantly Yalari remains true to its values and culture as we do so.

Our vision is to be one of Australia’s great enduring educational and leadership foundations, empowering Indigenous people from regional and remote Australia. If Yalari is to operate in perpetuity, and that is our goal, we have a lot to do over the next decade.

On behalf of Yalari, I would like to thank outgoing board member Karen Spiller for her wonderful contribution over many years. Having leading educators on our board is essential. We were thrilled that Charlie Scudamore, after a stellar career at Geelong Grammar School, has filled that role on our board. Welcome Charlie.

18 years ago, two people with a vision set out to make a difference. 18 years later we have many supporters helping realise that vision to change this country for the better. Thank you to each and every one of you - we never take that for granted.


Yalari Board of Directors

BRUCE DAVIDSON Chairman Executive Director & Founder Davidson CHRIS BALALOVSKI Director Partner, Business Services BDO Sydney WAVERLEY STANLEY AM Founding Director Yalari JOHN CAMPBELL Director Managing Director Jefferies Australia LLEW MULLINS Managing Director Yalari CHARLES SCUDAMORE Director Former Vice Principal Geelong Grammar School

Eivannah reflects on her first Yalari year

At the start of 2022, Eivannah was one of 51 new Yalari scholarship recipients who journeyed from some of the most remote corners of Australia to attend some of the very best secondary boarding schools in the country.

In Eivannah’s case, it meant travelling more than 2000 kms from her home on Thursday Island, just off the tip of Cape York, to the prestigious Glennie School in Toowoomba.

Thursday Island is a beautiful place to grow up: a tropical paradise surrounded by sandy beaches, opal blue water and coral reefs; populated by a family-based community where everyone knows everyone.

“My favourite thing to do at home is to go out fishing with my family. The water is so nice and we all love jumping in off the boat. We catch snapper – sometimes my mum cooks it and other times my grandmother does.”

It’s an idyllic life – and a hard one to leave – but, even as a primary school student, Eivannah recognised the doors that a Yalari scholarship could open for her.

“Yalari is giving me a better education and a better future.

At The Glennie School, I can learn different languages and new subjects like algebra.

My favourite subject is PE – at home I played touch footy with my friends but now I’m playing basketball. This year, we just played against other Glennie teams but next year, I’ll be able to play on teams against other schools.”

Playing sport has helped Eivannah meet new people and feel part of the Glennie community. It has also helped her stave off the homesickness that is part of

almost every new student’s boarding school experience.

When Eivannah struggled in Term 3, she had her older sister, Courtney (also a Yalari scholar at Glennie) to help her through. But true to her resilience and determination, Eivannah was equally supportive of her Year 7 Yalari classmate who found the transition to boarding school quite challenging.

Eivannah and Courtney’s mother, Vanessa, understands the challenges of her daughters leaving home but she knows that they are far outweighed by the opportunities her girls will get, not just at Glennie, but from being part of the Yalari family.

“For me the Yalari scholarship means opportunity in education, sport and the arts,” she says.

“My daughters are provided with amazing support and mentors and are exposed to so many things. Yalari is a group of amazing people who have supported me and my daughters and made us a part of their big family.”

Eivannah ended her first Yalari year on a high by being presented with a Principal’s Award for Academic Achievement at the Glennie Speech Day.

“I am proud of my studies – especially of my grades for Japanese: In Term 1, I got a D-minus but now I’m a B student.

I’ve also met lots of new people and tried new things, and I know that, thanks to Yalari and my sponsors, there’ll be opportunities to experience even more things over the years to come.”

Eivannah’s scholarship is proudly supported by the National Indigenous Australians Agency.


Towards 2023

In 2022 – our 17th year, Yalari supported a total of 229 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students attending our 20 partner schools.

Among those were 51 young newcomers who started their Yalari journeys in Year 7. They were selected from a total of 105 scholarship applications and 71 interviews conducted at the end of 2021.

COVID continued to challenge our long-established method of interviewing our applicants and their families face-to-face and in their homes. Pandemic restrictions meant that 40% of Yalari interviews for 2022 were conducted via Zoom and FaceTime, however we were thankful for the power of technology which allowed us to persevere despite the challenges.

By year’s end, we saw 26 confident, accomplished, connected, and educated Year 12 graduates join our ever-growing group of alumni.

We were also completing one of our most joyous tasks of the year – contacting the successful applicants who will follow in their footsteps.

A total of 93 scholarship applications resulted in 69 interviews with prospective Year 7s and their families. Waverley, Llew and the team travelled from Thursday Island in the Torres Strait to Wagin in Western Australia’s wheat belt, to Wallan in Victoria, and everywhere in between.

What we encountered was exceptionally high quality applicants – testament to the ever-expanding impact of the Yalari story. Families and communities have seen the difference it has made for their young adults and want the same opportunities for younger sisters, brothers, cousins and friends. We are talking to parents, guardians and community leaders who know what a Yalari scholarship means and are committed to the process; and we’re meeting students who are excited about the opportunity and well prepared for our interview.

As a result, we offered the highest number of Rosemary Bishop Scholarships in Yalari’s 17-year history, with a total of 57 young lives set to be changed forever when they start Year 7 in January 2023.


Year 12 class of 2022 pathways

University (16) Working (11) Vocational (3)

Jermaine discovers the spirit of mateship

One of our key understandings at Yalari is that success looks different for everyone. Not every Year 12 graduate is headed for university – nor do we want that for them. Whilst we applaud and celebrate our Yalari alumni who take on the challenge of a university degree, we also applaud and celebrate those who enrol in a TAFE diploma, find a good job, or secure an apprenticeship – like 2022 graduate Jermaine Harrison.

Jermaine started his job training well before the end of Year 12. As a student at Waverley’s alma mater, Toowoomba Grammar School, he completed his Certificate II in Electrotechnology in Grade 11, spending one day a week at TAFE for the entire year.

With that qualification on his resume, Jermaine was signed on by Ergon Energy as an apprentice linesman, starting in February 2023. Best of all, he’ll be based in Murgon, just a twenty minute drive from his family in Wondai.

“Initially, I struggled to settle in – I didn’t know anyone and had never been away from my family – but I ended up making life-long mates that I now consider to be my brothers. In fact, those mates are what I miss most now that I’ve left school.”

Carrying on that spirit of mateship, Jermaine is the first Year 12 graduate for the ‘Class of 84’ – a group of 24 Toowoomba Grammar School alumni who were classmates of Waverley’s (or, as they know him, ‘Stan’) from 1980 to 1984. They started sponsoring Jermaine in 2017 and now support two other students at Toowoomba Grammar School.

“We were so pleased that Jermaine has taken up the apprenticeship with Ergon Energy,” said Class of 84 spokesman, Philip Clark. “We need connected, confident young Indigenous men in all workplaces.”

Jermaine worked for Philip’s rural fencing business and stayed with Philip and his wife Jo between finishing school and starting his apprenticeship.

“We want Jermaine and our other sponsored students to know that they are part of many communities: their family, their home community, their Yalari community and also the Toowoomba Grammar School community.

I think that’s one of the really important things these young Indigenous students gain from Yalari – that ability to make connections and become a part of many communities, as well as their language group or family name.

Different members of the sponsorship group are involved with Yalari in different ways – some of us will take students out for the odd meal during the term and tag along to watch sporting events. We also go to the Yalari dinners, help out at the camps, and with job placements.

“I did my primary schooling at Wondai State School,” says Jermaine. “My Mum suggested that I should apply for a Yalari scholarship. I didn’t really want to at first, but if I was going to go, I wanted to be as close to home as possible, so I chose Toowoomba Grammar School.”

We keep a low profile and are usually introduced as a ‘mate of Waverley’s’, but we want the boys to know that we have their back and will do what we can to help them get where they are going.

Every time I see how brave these families and students are and the upheaval they go through, but then the appreciation of the opportunities in front of them, the more excited and determined I become to help.”

“It has become a good connection for our year group. We now catch up and communicate with greater regularity and I really enjoy the eclectic mix of people that are connected simply by where our parents chose to send us to school.

We have men who had a great experience at school and others who, at times, did not. Some cruised through school; others nearly didn’t make it to the final assembly. But we are all tied by our pride in Stan, Llew, Yalari and the impact they are having on Australia today and into the future.”



Our partner schools

In 2022, Yalari partnered with 20 of Australia’s leading private schools across Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. Many of these schools have been educating Yalari scholars for well over a decade now – including our two original schools: Toowoomba Grammar School and The Glennie School.

Each school is carefully chosen on the basis of their alignment with Yalari’s vision, values and philosophy, and for their ability to provide a culturally sensitive and supportive environment for young Indigenous children living away from their homes and families for the first time.

In addition to academic achievement and sporting opportunities, our partner schools also offer a wealth of extra-curricular experiences and challenges that have a life-changing impact on our students.

Thank you to our 2022 partner schools

• Anglican Church Grammar School (Churchie), Brisbane

• Clayfield College, Brisbane

• John Paul College, Brisbane

• St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School, Brisbane

• Scots PGC College, Warwick

• The Glennie School, Toowoomba

• Toowoomba Grammar School

• The Southport School, Gold Coast

• St Hilda’s School, Gold Coast

• Methodist Ladies’ College, Perth

• Scotch College, Adelaide

• St Peter’s College, Adelaide



• Geelong Grammar School

• Kinross Wolaroi School, Orange

• Abbotsleigh, Sydney

• Kambala, Sydney

• Sydney Church of England Grammar School (Shore)

• St Ignatius’ College Riverview, Sydney

• St Catherine’s School, Melbourne

• Great Southern Grammar, Albany NT SA

Staying connected

Yalari’s school partnerships are vitally important to the success of our students and the engagement of their families. We never take these relationships for granted and prioritise the importance of connecting face-to-face with each school’s support team.

To this end, Waverley embarked on a series of meetings with key stakeholders at our partner schools across the country in 2022. Accompanied where possible by our Student Support Officers and Student Support Managers, he met with Principals, Deputy Principals, Heads of Boarding, Indigenous Education staff and other key school staff involved with supporting our students.

They discussed our partnership, where we’ve come from and where we are going together.

Great Southern Grammar is a supportive partner in educating Yalari students from different regions around Australia. Over our extended relationships, we have been able to educate Indigenous students who have given so much in return to the School. As an organisation, Yalari has been well organised and strategic in developing high quality experiences for students under their care.

Mark Sawle, Principal, Great Southern Grammar

Kambala’s relationship with Yalari is a significant one. The education and empowerment of our Yalari scholars is an integral part of the Kambala narrative, and we embrace all that these students contribute to our community. We are delighted to continue to nurture our partnership and we look forward to another year of educational opportunities for our Yalari students.

Jane Danvers, Principal, Kambala

Our partnership with Yalari is one that we value deeply. I have personally been involved for over 10 years and it is an ongoing association that brings with it appreciable gains to the College and the students.

The best education in any context is provided through partnership and collaboration and both have been a feature of our association with Yalari. We have been fortunate to educate young men from First Nations communities who bring the richness of their culture and experience to our school, and for that our College and the students are the beneficiaries.

Dr Paul Hine, Principal, St Ignatius’ College, Riverview


Student development program

The Student Support Team’s outstanding work with Yalari students in 2022 is reflected by our exceptional retention rate of 95.63%.

With significant improvements made to our ongoing support and communications with parents, students and schools, we are confident our processes will continue to stand the test of time in this post-COVID era.

Year 7 & 8 orientation camp

A January spike in COVID cases on the Gold Coast forced us to postpone our Orientation Camp for new students. Knowing how vital this first camp is for helping our Year 7’s prepare for their new school life and to meet other Yalari students, we decided to run a series of Regional Orientation Workshops.

Ultimately, 32 students were able to meet in person at workshops in regional Victoria, Dubbo, Moree, St George and Rockhampton, with another 12 students from the Torres Strait Islands (where we were unable to host a workshop) joining the Rockhampton get-together online.

In addition to making new friends, the workshop attendees took part in several activities designed to prepare them for their Yalari journey, including Preparing for Prep, Deadly Advice and The Lowdown on Boarding School.

The Orientation Camp was eventually held at The Southport School in April. It was attended by 35 new

Year 7 students, 31 Year 8’s and our 16 Senior School Leaders from Years 11 and 12. For the first time we also welcomed 4 Senior Leaders from Years 9 and 10, giving them the opportunity to be role models to the younger students and develop their leadership skills. 5 Yalari alumni and 2 volunteers travelled from across Australia to help out at the camp.

Despite being held after the school year had commenced, it was still an important opportunity to help students create new friendships and start building their support network within the Yalari community, and for us to check in on their wellbeing in a casual but safe space. Having already met their Student Support Officers, and having completed one term at school, the Year 7 students brought a different confidence with them to this camp, one that was coupled with the reality of preparing themselves for term 2.


Year 10 pay it forward

The COVID situation had eased somewhat by March and we were able to hold our Pay It Forward camp at Mt Tamborine for 25 of our Year 10 students and 2 alumni.

The weekend was a great opportunity to identify each student’s character strengths and to get students thinking about how they can positively impact others around them. Teamwork and encouragement were displayed by all on the high ropes course and it was a great opportunity for our Year 10s to bond as a cohort.

Most importantly, they started looking at fundraising ideas that would allow them to ‘pay it forward’ by funding a Yalari scholarship for another Indigenous student.

Outback camps

Throughout June and July, three Outback Camps were held back-to-back to make up for the COVID cancellations over the past few years. Most of our graduates tell us that these camps were an eyeopening and life-changing highlight of their Yalari experience so it was really important to us that nobody missed out. They are also the pinnacle of reconnection for students who study at different schools across Australia – so you can imagine the excitement of our Year 11 girls who had not met in person for more than three years.

The five-day programs took place in Mparntwe (Alice Springs). They included a day trip to Ntaria (Hermannsburg), a trip to Kings Creek Station and a spectacular hike at Watarka (Kings Canyon). They concluded with two nights at Yulara and Uluru.

Everyone camps in swags, helps with the setup and pack down, cooking, cleaning and other camp chores. Each day, they complete reflective journal activities and share yarns around the campfire at night.

At the Year 11 camp, one of our Scotch College Adelaide students – Delaney – led an activity called the ‘Triple H’ where each person around the campfire had to share a yarn about a hero, a hardship and a highlight. Delaney went first and demonstrated a truly incredible level of vulnerability. Her words set the tone for what became a deeply moving and bonding experience for everyone involved. There were hugs and barely a dry eye (which could not be blamed on the smoke from the fire!).


Year 12 graduation and ski trip

In August, Our Year 12 Graduation and Ski Trip weekend celebrated the amazing achievements of our 26 graduating students.

The Graduation Ceremony was held at Parliament House in Canberra where Waverley spoke about the opportunities and choices that will open up for our Year 12 cohort as they move into adult life.

This year’s valedictorian, Moigida Loban, then shared how his years at Churchie, made possible by a Yalari scholarship sponsored by the Deloitte Foundation, transformed him from a curious young boy to an educated and confident young man. We are also very proud that Moi was the first Torres Strait Islander to serve as Prefect in Churchie’s 110-year history.


Wellbeing program

The Wellbeing Program gained a lot of momentum in 2022. Several resources were developed for students, Student Support Officers, and schools, including wellness journals, isolation entertainment booklets, training resources and the commencement of a community resource map. Our team continued to connect students to community wellbeing services and, where possible and appropriate, Indigenous specific external support was sought. Our students reported back to us that the support received from Yalari is essential.

In 2022, we had 15 senior students in the roles of Yalari Captains. This is a fantastic leadership and skills development opportunity for our senior students who are chosen to be a voice for the Yalari students at their school. In addition to offering on-campus guidance and support for the Yalari students in all year levels, our Yalari Captains liaise with partner school leadership to discuss ideas for improvements to the Indigenous program and inclusion of culture in school community. They are involved with developing ideas for celebrating NAIDOC Week and other significant events and working with our Pathways team on developing and facilitating senior school dinners.

at Geelong Grammar School in May for Yalari staff, alumni and partner school staff. Facilitated by Dr Tracy Westerman AM and attended by 35 people, it proved to be a productive two days of intense and inspiring learnings, collaboration and relationship development. Feedback was universally positive about the importance and value of this workshop from a renowned Indigenous Psychologist.

For a bit of fun and team bonding, 34 South-East Queensland students and 9 Yalari Staff, including Waverley and Llew, took on the Raw Challenge in Term 1. Set on a 150-acre property in the Gold Coast hinterland, the obstacle course involved 9 kilometres of mud, running, climbing, more mud, adventure, sweat, tears and even more mud! It was a great event that celebrated grit, determination and teamwork.


There’s no place like home

So many of our alumni tell us that their Yalari scholarship set them on a pathway to a bigger, wider world of opportunities. For others, like Jabreeni (‘Jabs’) Fogarty, that pathway has gone full circle; taking them across the country and across the world before returning them home.

Since the age of eight, ‘home’ for Jabs has been with his sister and her family in the south-west Queensland town of Cunnamulla. His sister and her partner raised him alongside their own children and any others who needed their care.

They knew Jabs was special. He wasn’t the loudest or the most outspoken but he was good at his studies and, for his last year in primary school, he was chosen as co-school captain.

“Going on to high school in Cunnamulla probably wasn’t the best environment,” says Jabs.

“My sister and her partner have really strong values that they wanted us to maintain as we got older. I think Yalari gave them that option.”

On his first visit to its riverside campus on the Gold Coast, Jabs had decided he wanted to go to The Southport School (TSS) before he even got out of the car.

“Coming up the driveway, through the roundabout and up towards the clock tower, all I could think was ‘Wow – this is crazy!’ The location – the buildings – the view – it was just insane.”

And from day one, TSS didn’t let him down.

“I have so many good memories with my mates – how we’d capsize the sailing boats all the time then be scrambling back into them as quick as we could because of the bull sharks. And the energy of the war cries at the First XV matches – that real sense of togetherness.

I think, for me, that was the big takeaway from TSS – that incredible bond, the sense of belonging, that you’re part of something special.”

The TSS/Yalari pathway took Jabs even further –to the Outback Camp, The Commemorative Walk to Cherbourg, the graduation ceremony in Canberra, and to India as part of TSS’s delegation to a Round Square International Conference.

I probably didn’t realise it at the time, but those experiences taught me so much about different ways of living and that there are so many different standards of living. It opened my eyes to a whole other reality.

It taught me about myself too – that I have to push myself forward, to test my limits.

After Year 12, I got a scholarship to go to Bond University. I finished a Diploma in Communication, then started a Bachelor of Interactive Design. I didn’t finish the degree but decided to eventually go home and be back with the family. I accepted a job with Deadly Choices as a Health Promotions Officer based in Cunnamulla. I guess it was meant to be.

I’ve been there over a year now and I really love the job. We’re teaching kids about healthy lifestyles, cultural connection, and good choices. I’m always trying to find ways to make the lessons as interesting as I can and it’s so rewarding.

But the level of growth I’ve gone through as a person is what’s really surprised me. I think it’s all about learning new things and being in schools around kids – being able to talk to them and manage them; that’s something I’ve never done before … and I can certainly say that my social skills have gotten a lot better!


Jabreeni’s journey at Yalari was generously supported by the Roden Family Foundation.

I really feel as though I’m in the right place for right now.

Pathways to the future

Our first Pathways event for the year was the Year 12 workshop in March, once again generously sponsored and hosted by Herbert Smith Freehills at their Brisbane offices.

The main objective was to help students hone their job application skills – we specifically looked at resumes, cover letters and interview techniques. On the Saturday, alumnus and artist Kane Brunjes spoke to the students about his post-school pathway to becoming an established artist. This was followed by a wellbeing conversation and check-in.

Due to COVID, our numbers were slightly reduced, with only 18 of our 26 Year 12s able to make it, but it was a great catch-up with plenty of good learnings for everyone involved.

Senior School Dinners for our Year 10, 11 and 12 students were held at The Glennie School in Toowoomba, Geelong Grammar School, Abbotsleigh in Sydney, John Paul College in Daisy Hill and Churchie in Brisbane.

These dinners bring students together in a formal setting to discuss their post-school pathways. They are also an opportunity for our Pathways staff, Student Support Officers and alumni to share experiences of their own journeys and potential pathways. It is always particularly special hearing our alumni talking about their journeys and firsthand accounts of the highlights and challenges they have faced making the transition from Year 12 to adult life.

Our Year 11 students came together at Bond University on the Gold Coast in September to focus on their futures. The program included workshops and roundtable discussions with representatives from a wide range of organisations that offered varying pathways and opportunities.

The key initiatives for the Pathways team moving forward are a focus on four key areas:

• Post-School Pathways – supporting our Year 10, 11 and 12 students with a range of career guidance events, workshops and mentoring to help identify clear and appropriate post-school career options.

• Pathways for Personal Growth – seeing success through a different lens and supporting the ‘whole’ person by highlighting health, wellbeing and life skills.

• Leadership and Professional Development Pathways – empowering our alumni and providing opportunities for them to continue to grow as leaders and professionals in business, public service, community, family and country.

• Pathways for Voice and Connection – offering programs that facilitate our alumni’s powerful connections to one another, the Yalari community and their culture.


Alumni success in 2022

Kane Brunjes

Graduated from Toowoomba Grammar School, Class of 2016. Artist – Cultural Creative Residential Program.

Selected as a finalist in the Brisbane Portrait Prize for his piece ‘With My Old People’.

Jazleen De Busch

Graduated from St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School, Class of 2015.

Graduated from a Bachelor of Fine Arts, QUT (2022)

Performed in the production ‘Tight in the Bud’, directed by Wesley Enoch AM.


Jodene Garstone

Graduated from Geelong Grammar, Class of 2016

Arts/Law (Hons) student, ANU

Completed a 4-month internship at the National Native Title Council in early 2022.

Serves as Co-Chair of the inaugural King Wood Mallesons’ First Nations Youth Voice Council, helping to guide KWM in the execution of their Community Impact Strategy and wider responsible business initiatives.

Kealey Griffiths

Graduated from St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School, Class of 2018

Doctor of Medicine student, University of Queensland

Completed a Bachelor of Science and Graduate Certificate of Public Health at the University of Queensland, receiving a Dean’s Commendation for academic excellence.

Interned at EY in their Health, Safety and Environments team and People Advisory team.


Philanthropic Our valued supporters

85 & 86 Riverview old boys & friends

Alan and Doris (deceased) Sinclair-Jackson

Archie and Mary Lou Douglas

Bagot Gjergja Foundation

All of the achievements highlighted in this Annual Review – the 229 Indigenous students currently progressing through boarding school, the 445 alumni making their way through early adulthood raising families and establishing their careers, the camps, the mentoring, the connections, the lives that are being changed every day – simply would not be possible without the extraordinary generosity of our sponsors, donors and supporters.

To each and every one of you, we say THANK


Through your support of Yalari and everything we do, you are not just changing the lives of young Indigenous Australians; you are helping to create better outcomes and a brighter future for the next generations of all Australians.

Claire Nontapan

Daniel Pittorino

Dr Roger Grigg

Estate of Mona M Birrell

Fenwick Family Foundation

Fiona East

Geoffrey Davies AO and Thea Davies

Grant and Linden Oliver

H & J Davies Foundation

Janette Laver

Jenny Hall

Johnson Group WA

Judith Musgrave Family Foundation

Macquarie Group Foundation

Mathew’s Syndicate

Mckeage Cole Foundation

Mia Foundation

Nick and Georgia Martin

Opportunity 12 Syndicate

Patricia Matthews and Neville Sandford

Paul and Judy Williams through

Woomera Education Scholarship Trust

Richard East

Richard Oliver AM

Roden Family Foundation

Rosey Kids Foundation

Russell and Sue Scrimshaw Family Foundation

Sinclair Charitable Trust

Stan and Maureen Duke Foundation

Steve and Di McCready

The Fred P Archer Charitable Trust

The Leroy & Joy Brauer Perpetual Charitable Trust

The Sue Chase Foundation

Tim Fairfax AC and Gina Fairfax AC

Toowoomba Grammar Class of ‘84

Vicki Hanman

Wally Boydell

Waterwheel Foundation

Williams Family

Proudly supported by the Australian Government 31

The return of Yalari gala dinners

Our sponsors and donors have always been incredibly loyal and generous to Yalari, but never more so than over these past few years when our events and faceto-face interactions have been severely curtailed.

Thankfully, 2022 offered a light at the end of the COVID tunnel, allowing us to reconnect with our supporters in person. As a result, the reintroduction of our Gala Dinners in Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane was greeted with extra enthusiasm.

We started with our Adelaide Gala Dinner in May at the National Wine Centre, where hip hop artist J-MILLA (aka Yalari alumnus Jacob Nichaloff) was a big hit, particularly with the students in attendance!

Two months later, we gathered in Sydney at the Four Seasons Hotel with a crowd of more than 460 attendees, including 44 students. One of our first Year 12 graduates, Kyol Blakeney – now a “proud teacher” – gave an absolutely inspirational keynote address.

But we really raised the roof of the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre in September with the largest Gala Dinner Yalari has ever held. We had more than 720 attendees, including 127 students from nine south-east Queensland schools who were able to meet with their sponsors and other key stakeholders.

Our TSS boys opened the festivities with a drumline, didgeridoo and clapsticks performance, while our Torres Strait Islander students from Churchie, St Margaret’s, The Glennie School, Clayfield College and John Paul College performed traditional dance. It was amazing to see them proudly sharing their culture with such a large audience.

Collectively, our Gala Dinners raised more than $332,000 and showcased our student and alumni achievements, talents and culture to almost 1,500 attendees.


A special thanks to our Gala Dinner Event PartnersEpic Private Journeys, Fireworks Gallery, Hentley Farm Wines, Greyhound Australia, Humanitix and the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.


Thank you for being part of the Yalari mob

The spirit of generosity

We receive contributions from big corporations, small businesses, sporting teams, trusts and foundations, groups, individuals and families. There are companies that donate a percentage of their profits, organisations that raise money for Yalari by holding NAIDOC and Reconciliation Week events, and some of our supporters give regular weekly or monthly donations. And then there’s young Oscar who, instead of asking for presents for his 8th birthday, chose to make a $100 donation to Yalari. The words ‘thank you’ seem barely enough in response to the extraordinary generosity, compassion and belief shown in what we do here at Yalari.

Putting the ‘fun’ into fundraising

It’s always particularly gratifying when companies and individuals nominate Yalari as their charity partner or fundraising beneficiary. Not only are they donating their time, energy and money to our cause, they are helping to spread the Yalari message far and wide.

2022 started with a star-studded boost when chef Poh Ling Yeow named Yalari as her charity of choice for her stint on I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!

Yalari was able to raise over $4,000 through the 50/50 raffle during the Queensland Reds Indigenous Round. As an added bonus, they invited some of our Brisbane-based students to attend the game and meet the players.

Thanks also to Cotton Australia who acknowledged Yalari’s impact on regional and farming communities when Yalari was made the official charity partner of the 2022 Australian Cotton Conference.

Humanitix has continued to support Yalari as one of the beneficiaries of their award-winning online event ticketing platform that donates 100% of booking fee profits to various children’s charities. We were thrilled to catch up with Lockhart River artists Rosella Namok and Samantha Hobson when

FireWorks Gallery launched the Friends of Yalari –Art VIP Club which will see up to 15% of the price of each artwork purchased donated to Yalari.

Our partner school Churchie brought some 860 guests to the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre for the legendary Churchie Rugby Lunch in July. While “the game they play in heaven” may have been the hot topic of the day, Yalari was the real winner as the beneficiary of their fundraising raffles and auctions. We were also immensely proud to see Year 11 Churchie student Kye Boland speak to the massive crowd about the impact Yalari has had on his life.

In Melbourne, Hall & Wilcox law firm hosted a cocktail party for Yalari supporters and friends, showcasing our students’ achievements to a gathering of 70 guests.

And massive thanks to Greyhound who have been supporting Yalari since 2013; providing free travel on their coaches for all Yalari students across Australia; setting us up with coaches and drivers for our Orientation Camp; promoting Yalari on the back of three coaches; getting our camping gear from Gold Coast to Alice Springs for our Outback Camp and so much more.


Tax appeal

Our other major fundraising drive for the year was our 2022 Tax Appeal which raised more than $147,000

To everyone who contributed … we cannot thank you enough.


Yalari Foundation

The Yalari Foundation, established in 2020, aims to ensure the long-term sustainability of Yalari, enabling and empowering us to continue educating Indigenous children and supporting future leaders for generations to come.

The Yalari Foundation is home to the Mary Boydell Endowment Fund, Yalari’s general endowment fund, named in honour of the late Mary Boydell. Mary was the dedicated and passionate chair of the Yalari board from 2014 to 2017 and her unwavering commitment helped lay the foundation for Yalari’s enduring success.

In 2022, the Yalari Foundation saw an increase in the value of its funds, prompting the board to appoint an investment manager to prudently invest the funds for long-term security, growth, and returns. This appointment, to be finalised in 2023, demonstrates the board’s commitment to achieving long-term financial sustainability and ensuring Yalari remains a vital and enduring part of Australia’s educational landscape.

Thank you to those who have supported the Yalari Foundation and the Mary Boydell Endowment Fund through donations or by including a gift in your will. A gift to the Yalari Foundation offers a unique and compelling opportunity to leave a lasting legacy for the future of Yalari and our shared belief in what we can achieve together.


Much more than a sponsorship for Commercial Eyes

At our 2022 Year 12 Graduation Ceremony, Andrew Carter and Melissa Sampson-Curry from Commercial Eyes caught up with not one, but two, of the students they have sponsored through Yalari over the past 14 years: Cassandra Peris, who was celebrating her graduation from Geelong Grammar School and alumna, Jodene Garstone, who did a phenomenal job as MC of the event.

“Throughout their school years, Andrew and I, along with a number of our staff, got to know Jodene and Cassie at the Melbourne Dinners and other Yalari events, but it was lovely to see them both at this year’s graduation and to get an update on Jodene’s university studies,” said Melissa.

Cassie and Jodene are the third and fourth Yalari students Commercial Eyes have sponsored since they joined the Yalari family at the beginning of 2009. Their fifth student Curtis Stafford started at Geelong Grammar in 2023.

Initially there were a number of elements that appealed to us about working with Yalari: Waverley’s vision and passion, of course; but also the opportunity to support young Indigenous people and make a long-term sustainable difference in their lives – all achieved via an easy-to-understand sponsorship package.

Over the years, however, Yalari has become much more than a sponsorship opportunity. Attending the fundraising dinners and graduation ceremonies with various staff members has allowed us to really connect with our sponsored students and with Waverley, Llew and the Yalari team. On two occasions now, Waverley has been a guest speaker at our staff conferences; and one of our Senior Managers had a great time talking to Yalari students about careers in life sciences at a careers information day as part of the Yalari year 11 camp at Melbourne University.

“Commercial Eyes is a values-based organisation, with ‘generosity’ being one of our five core values. We were still a relatively young company in 2008 when we engaged a social responsibility consultant to recommend organisations that we could support. We were particularly looking for programs focussed on delivering health and/or education initiatives for Indigenous people.

Yalari was one of the recommendations that immediately resonated with us, and we sponsored our first Geelong Grammar School student in 2009.

We’ve also attended sponsor breakfasts, cocktail fundraisers, NAIDOC Week programs and other Yalari events; so that Yalari has become part of our company culture in the same way that we have become part of theirs.

It gives us all a great deal of pride to know that we have been long-term partners of an organisation that has been instrumental in the development and achievements of the impressive young Yalari students and alumni we have met along the way. Each one is proof of the crucial role that education can play in creating opportunities for Indigenous Australians; empowering them to take control of their lives and contribute to their communities.”


Volunteer contributions

With life finally moving forward in 2022, we were thrilled to welcome back our wonderful volunteers who help us in so many ways – hosting student events, helping at our camps and, of course, at the dinners, tutoring and in our office.

Thank you to our tutors


Our volunteer tutors play a vital role in helping Yalari students meet and exceed the high academic standards of our partner schools. In 2022, we had volunteer tutors working one-on-one and with groups of students in our partner schools across the country.

Thank you to our office volunteer

Thank you to our dinner committees & helpers

We only had one office volunteer, so we can thank her personally! We love having Trish Matthews helping out at Yalari’s head office one day a week, making thank you calls to our supporters.

Our Dinner Committees lent their creative expertise, logistical support and decision-making skills to ensure that our gala dinners in Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane were a success. They helped source auction and raffle items, extended invitations and set up the decorations, among many other things. After our enforced COVID hiatus, it was great to welcome back long-serving Committee members and some newbies in 2022.

A big thank you to the volunteers who helped out on the night; setting up and packing down, selling raffle tickets and giving us a hand with the auctions at the Sydney and Brisbane gala dinners.

And speaking of raffles – thank you to the A-team who stepped up to sell raffle tickets at Yalari’s first 50:50 charity match as a charity partner, helping to raise $4,000 at the Queensland Reds Indigenous round.


Thank you to our Alumni

It’s wonderful to see that our alumni are always willing to give back to Yalari and support our current students by volunteering their time at various events and activities. Over the year, 24 alumni volunteered, contributing a total of over 333 hours. All three gala dinners featured alumni MCs and guest speakers; we had alumni volunteering as leaders and mentors at every student camp; and we had alumni out and about representing Yalari at speaking engagements.

Thank you to our Regional Council members

Our Regional Councils play a vital role in raising awareness about Yalari in their regions. Made up of passionate volunteers from the Yalari community, they introduce new supporters and work with the Yalari team to provide a personal connection with our sponsors.

With the first meeting for interested members of a new Victorian Regional Council held in 2022, we will have regional councils in Queensland, NSW and Victoria operating in 2023.

Thank you to our Regional Council Chairs Tim Wilson (Queensland), John Campbell (NSW) and Graeme Chipp (Victoria) and the valued council members for their enthusiasm and commitment to continue to introduce new supporters and opportunities to Yalari.

Thank you to our board

We can never overlook the amazing contribution of our Board members, all of whom work on a completely voluntary basis providing their expertise, passion and commitment.

Thank you to our volunteers who transform their values into actions - helping to empower the next generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

Meet Yalari volunteer

Trish Matthews

Yalari volunteer Trish Matthews knows exactly how an education scholarship can change lives –because, when she was in Year 10, it changed hers.

“I’ve seen the impact a scholarship can have in just one generation,” she says. “I went from being a child whose parents never owned a house, didn’t have a hot water system or a washing machine, didn’t even have a car until I was 12 … to studying medicine at university and later anaesthesia, and then having a career that allowed my husband and I to live a very comfortable life and educate all our children to tertiary level.

I grew up in Innisfail in far north Queensland - a small country town. My father worked as a guard in the railways. His schooling finished in Year 7. My mother got to Year 10 and was offered a scholarship to board at any grammar school in the state for Years 11 and 12 but, as the only girl in her family, she had to stay home to help look after her sick mother.

When it came to their own children, my parents were passionate about us getting an education and the five of us went to the local Catholic high school in Innisfail but it didn’t go past Year 10. Then I was awarded a Donatiu Bursary which was given each year to the best Year 10 student in the district. It was a fairly sizeable sum that my parents used to send me to board at St Patrick’s in Townsville. I was able to go through to finish Year 12 and on to study medicine at university (thanks to another scholarship). So it was absolutely life-changing for me.”

Moving into retirement after a long and successful career, Trish was looking for an opportunity to ‘pay it forward’ by including a bequest in her will that would contribute to the education of underprivileged children.

“I’d never heard of Yalari – I literally found it by googling. But then I had the opportunity – by chance – to meet Mary Boydell who was Chair of Yalari at the time. She was just so enthusiastic about the organisation that I decided, rather than just making a donation, I would also give Yalari my time. “

Trish now travels down from Brisbane most weeks to volunteer at Yalari’s Helensvale office. Over the past four years, our regular donors have come to recognise Trish’s voice as she phones to thank them for their generosity. Having seen how the organisation works from the inside, Trish and her husband Neville Sandford, also sponsor Yalari student, Kaleigha who is studying at Clayfield College.

“The thing that impresses me most about Yalari is the family feel; the nurturing. This is more than people coming to the office each day to work for a charity. All the staff are really knowledgeable about the children and vested in how they’re doing.

They go on the camps and have a lot of engagement with the children and are aware of how they are going in their studies and in their lives.

The other thing I like is that Yalari runs a very tight ship. They’re not spending donors’ money on marble floors and chandeliers. They’re spending the money where it needs to be spent – on the kids’ education.

Before I came here, I hadn’t had a lot of interactions with Indigenous people over the course of my life, so my involvement here has prompted me to want to know more.


One thing I have learnt from talking to our wonderful donors is that there are so many people out there who really want the best for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – they want them to get a really good education so that they have the same opportunities to do well that other Australians have.”


Financial Report


Disclaimer: This information has been extracted from our annual audited financial statements which were given as an unqualified opinion by our auditors. These are available at the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission (ACNC) website. INCOME Government Grants - Operating 44% Sponsorships 22% Other Income 3% Government Grants - Capital 9% Investment Income 1% Donations 15% Event Income 6% EXPENSES Scholarships 51% 11% Business Services 8% Fundraising 4% Fundraising
Events 5% Pathways 5% Student Events 16% Student Support

Thank you

In 2022, 229 Indigenous students attended Australia’s leading boarding schools thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, supporters and partner schools. Their names have been added to a roll call of 445 Yalari alumni who are now making their way in the world.

By funding the highest quality education and life-changing opportunities offered by our partner schools, you are empowering these young Indigenous Australians to dream bigger dreams – to want more, be more and do more, not only for themselves but for their families, their friends, their communities and their country.

Through the support of our generous, compassionate and loyal Yalari mob, our students are taking the reigns as our community, corporate and political leaders, bringing Australia together as a united and equitable country.


Contact us

For more information, please contact the philanthropy office team on 07 5665 8688 or info@yalari.org.

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Student Artists

The artwork featured in this booklet was supplied for use by Yalari students Noami Buchanan of the Wadja Wadja Tribe, and Summer Lowe of the Gudanji Tribe.

Figures correct at time of printing — March 2023 48
Yalari Yalarimob Yalari

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