Yalari 2023 Annual Review

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Annual Review 2023


The artwork featured in this booklet was supplied by Yalari staff and Alumni; Urshula Clark-Jacky of the Dunghutti Nation, Noami Buchanan of the Wadja Wadja Tribe, and Summer Lowe of the Gudanji Tribe.

A Message from our Founder 5 The Yalari Story 6 2023 Impacts 8 Board Report 10 Our Partner Schools 12 Russell Whap and Mismam Kris: Yalari Alumni 14 Student Development Program 16 Tarniesha Oscar: Yalari Student 20 Pathways Program 22 Graduating Class of 2023 24 Sheldyn Briggs: Yalari Alumni 28 Alumni Success 30 Fundraising Dinners and Events 32 Auto & General: Yalari Supporter 34 Yalari Foundation 36 Our valued supporters 38 Volunteer Contributions 40 Financial Report 41 Vale Rosemary Bishop 42 Thank you 44 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

Firstly, I would like to acknowledge all of the Yalari family, our wider Yalari Mob, who are a huge part of our growth, no matter whether you are staff, board members, students, alumni, sponsors, supporters, family, friends, school staff, volunteers or corporates. As a collective group of committed Australians, we are making a positive change together.

We are changing the narrative regarding Indigenous success, Indigenous excellence and Indigenous leadership. Most importantly, in collaboration and with the utmost of respect for all, we acknowledge everyone as Yalari family members who have joined us on our journey.

This year we conducted our first Alumni and Friends Yalari Way Camp from Alice Springs to Uluru and immersed ourselves in cultural experiences with Arrente, Luritja and Anangu Traditional Owners and families. We shared stories, exchanged experiences and acknowledged the cultural knowledge within us all.

We conducted our annual camps for each year group, our state based fundraising dinners in Brisbane, Sydney and Adelaide, a cocktail evening in Melbourne and strategic business breakfasts on the present and future direction of Yalari.

We have restated our vision to be one of Australia’s enduring educational and leadership foundations empowering Indigenous people from rural and remote Australia.

However, our core business does not change, our commitment to our children does not change, our commitment to our alumni does not change, nor our commitment to families, to partnership boarding schools, sponsors, donors, friends and supporters whether new or long term, it doesn’t change.

Together we are only focussed on authenticity, kindness and humility with the brand of Yalari which stands in line with our core values of Compassion, Openness, Respect, Resilience, Inclusiveness and Excellence.

If you are committed to making a difference and being a part of generational change for Indigenous children in Australia, please walk beside us. Let us all be the change that we want to see.

There’s an African proverb that epitomises us at Yalari.

“If you want to go fast, go alone, If you want to go far, go together”

We are going far together and will do for many generations to follow. Thanks very much for the enormous support of many throughout 2023.


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, Rosemary Bishop Indigenous Education Scholarships are awarded annually to close to 60 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, individuals, trusts and foundations and government programs.

Supporting our students is crucial to ensure they make the most of the time at their schools, so our scholarships are complemented by a holistic network of educational, pastoral, personal and cultural support.

Our network of Student Support Officers (SSOs) build strong connections with our students and play a crucial role in supporting students and helping to foster a strong sense of community. Working with parents, guardians and school staff, our SSOs provide an extra layer of support for students in terms of their wellbeing and academics. Backed by our Student Support team, our students receive personalised support to maintain positive wellbeing and ensure they are able to succeed academically. 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.

As Yalari has matured and the number of Yalari scholars grows, we have expanded our focus to provide greater support to the ever-expanding alumni cohort. The unique journey our alumni share helps to build strong connections within the group, which Yalari actively works to maintain and strengthen after graduation. Programs and initiatives designed to support alumni with their personal and professional development as they head into further education and employment help empower our alumni as they become leaders in their communities and workplaces.

Our alumni represent a powerful voice of connected, highly educated Indigenous leaders, driving change in Australia.



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 Respect Resilience Inclusiveness Excellence



New Scholarships Awarded


Year 12 Graduates


Yalari Scholars


Yalari Alumni

2023 impacts


Partner Schools


726 Annual Retention Rate

6 Scholarships Awarded to Date

Student Camps


A message from the Chair

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

We have now supported more than 700 students over 18 years.

Our values, Compassion, Openness, Respect, Resilience, Inclusiveness and Excellence, remain at the core of all we do. The passion Yalari has for supporting Indigenous children, families and alumni is as strong today as it was 18 years ago. We continue to evolve our knowledge, our systems and processes and our capacity to provide support for our students, families and alumni.

With 225 Indigenous children attending 20 partner schools across Australia, 32 grade 12 students graduated, and 59 families accepting a Rosemary Bishop scholarships for their children to commence their scholarships with us in 2024, it was a busy year.

In 2023 we worked closely with John Paul College to develop Yalari Ready - a pilot program we have launched in 2024. Yalari Ready will accelerate numeracy and literacy skills for a cohort of students from some of the most remote communities in Australia.

We now have over 500 alumni. They form a unique network of Indigenous leaders - educated in some of Australia’s best schools and universities, confident in both cultures, ambitious, united and positively looking forward. They are making so many positive contributions it is literally hard to keep up with them.

Inspired by our alumni, we are investing heavily in our Pathways Program. We have developed a 10-year plan for the program which encompasses careers, strong personal foundations, leadership and professional development, and alumni contribution. In 2023 we added many new services with alumni participating in leadership and professional development courses run by Yalari and partners including the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Australian Rural Leadership Foundation and many universities.

We formed the Yalari Alumni Advisory Board. We launched Arts Scholarships in partnership with Fireworks Gallery. We ran our first ever alumni and supporters camp in Central Australia. We further developed our wellness program.

Alumni contributed as staff, camp leaders, regional councillors, advisory board and committee members,

mentors, staff, speakers, and assisted with events throughout Australia. Most importantly we had a lot of laughs and fun along the way.

We grew our Regional Councils in 2023. Thanks goes to all our councillors in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland/Northern Territory. The Regional Councils provide support and guidance and help build Yalari’s brand and connections. The impact our councils are having is profound and appreciated.

Yalari continues to keep pace with the growing demands of good governance with thanks going to both the board and executive team for their skill and commitment in this space. Much was done in many domains including our risk frameworks, board structures, foundation governance, investment governance and cyber security.

We held strategic briefings in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland to share and seek feedback regarding our vision, plans and progress. We have been buoyed by the feedback which has seen many old and new friends stepping up to help us realise our vision.

We know the impact Yalari is having is profound. To help quantify and qualify this statement, in 2023 we commenced a social impact study in conjunction with the University of Western Australia. This will be the forerunner to a longitudinal study which we hope will show the broad reaching, positive impact of ongoing education.

I am in awe of the Yalari staff’s passion, kindness and commitment which is mirrored by the teaching and boarding staff at our partner schools. Thank you to each and every one of you for all you do.

As we enter our 19th year, we are stronger, more determined and more aspirational than ever. We know we are standing on the shoulders of many Elders who have gone before us, families who put faith in us, schools who walk with us, friends who have come alongside to help, and a strong and growing alumni. We never take that support for granted and we are deeply appreciative.

The best way we can repay you is to work hard and ensure Yalari makes a positive difference to Australia… and that is what we will do.


Yalari Board of Directors


Director Non-Executive Director


Managing Director Jefferies Australia


Former Vice Principal Geelong Grammar School

Chairman Executive Director & Founder Davidson Workplace Performance Partner, Business Services BDO Founding Director Yalari JOHN CAMPBELL LLEW MULLINS Managing Director Yalari

Our partner schools

At Yalari, we believe it takes a whole community to educate a child. We therefore value the partnership we have with 20 of Australia’s leading boarding schools. This collaboration ensures our students are well supported to access an outstanding education and make the most of every opportunity this presents. We thank our partner schools for continuing to work with us.


“The partnership Abbotsleigh has shared with Yalari over the last 14 years has become an integral part of who we are as a school. We are so fortunate to currently have 14 First Nations students who are Yalari Scholars at Abbotsleigh.

We believe that the reciprocity of the Yalari program is what is so special and enriches our whole school community.

We work in partnership with our girls and their families developing an understanding of, and respect for culture by their non-Indigenous peers and staff, which in turn supports both their sense of pride and belonging and it is this that makes for the rich tapestry that is Abbotsleigh.

We believe that partnering with Yalari is an important part of the steps toward a future of educational inclusion and reconciliation.”

Toowoomba Grammar School is proud to continue our strong and lasting relationship with Yalari. Having been one of the foundation partner schools for Yalari since 2005, and the place of schooling of Yalari Founding Director, Waverley Stanley AM, Toowoomba Grammar School is dedicated to continued growth and support of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

Our commitment is as much to Yalari as an organisation as it is to the individual young people who come into our care. I am conscious that for any teacher, in any classroom, their work is only possible by the trust and the quality of relationships that are built with their students individually and collectively, and that principle extends to all that we do in schools.

Our Yalari students offer so much in return for this support, and we are committed to creating a learning environment that allows all students to learn and develop good character, that in turn sets them up for success in life. We are extremely grateful for the support and guidance provided by Yalari support staff to our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and are excited to continue working together in partnership with Yalari to educate and create generational change.”

Our ability to support and nurture our Indigenous students is grounded by our relationship with Yalari, and our capacity to have a shared vision for what we can all achieve, is something that we celebrate at Scotch.”

Trent Driver, Principal Scotch College Adelaide


From Orientation Camp buddies to best mates

Russell Whap and Mismam Kris grew up less than 50kms away from each other in the Torres Strait. They’re the same age – second cousins (“or maybe third?” they questioned). And, at the end of Year 6, they were both heading to the same high school.

And yet they’d never met until they boarded a plane on Horn Island to fly down to the Gold Coast for Yalari’s 2018 Orientation Camp.

Turns out they had both chosen to attend St Ignatius’ College Riverview – one of Sydney’s most prestigious GPS schools – so they teamed up as buddies at the Orientation Camp … and have been pretty much inseparable ever since.

Hailing from Moa Island, just over 40kms due north of Thursday Island, Misi says he had a “pretty cruisy life” growing up – swimming every day and hanging out with his three younger brothers.

But grandfather John Toshie Kris casts a formidable shadow in the Torres Strait. He has served as Chair of the Torres Strait Island Regional Authority, a Councillor for the Torres Strait Island Regional Council and has stood for election as Mayor of the TSI Regional Council.

“Pop really wants me to follow in his footsteps,” says Misi, “so he was definitely the driving force behind me going to boarding school. And my mum – she could see how good it would be for me.”

I was the first in my immediate family to go to Riverview but now two of my younger brothers are there.

For Russell, trading his home on Thursday Island for the Big Smoke was a huge opportunity.

“I wanted to experience something other than TI,” he says. “I just felt that going to boarding school down south would really expand my view of the world.

My whole family – mum, dad, grandparents, aunties and uncles – were all pushing for me to get a Yalari scholarship. I also had two cousins who had applied.”

Six years later, Russell and Misi are set to move onto different pathways. Russell has set his sights on university and a degree in Marine Science while Misi is applying for apprenticeships. But they came together for one more Yalari adventure as leaders at the 2024 Orientation Camp.

We thought it would be great to go back and experience the Orientation Camp from a different perspective, says Russell; to meet the new Year 7s and maybe share some of the things we learnt along the way.

“The Senior Leadership camp was really good too,” adds Misi about their pre-Orientation Camp training weekend. “There were a couple of familiar faces but also lots of new people to connect with. Yalari is such a good network and a strong community.”

Yalari is also now their family, they both agree … even though they still couldn’t quite work out whether they were second, third or maybe fourth cousins!


Supporting students along the journey

A big part of the Yalari support system is bringing together our scholars who are going through the same experience and giving them the opportunity to forge connections with each other and with their Indigenous culture.

Year 7 & 8 Orientation Camp

In January 2023, we welcomed our largest ever cohort of new Year 7 students, who joined the returning Year 8 students for our annual Orientation Camp at The Southport School. In total – 103 Year 7 and 8 students.

This camp plays a vital role in helping our new scholars prepare for life at boarding school. With the help of our senior student leaders from Years 11 and 12, and alumni leaders who have all travelled the same path, our youngest Yalari scholars got a taste of what is ahead of them and how best to find their feet in a new environment. Over five busy days, they attended classes giving them ‘The Low-Down on Boarding School’ and making them ‘Cyber Smart’, as well as participating in prep sessions every night as they will have to do at boarding school.

There was also plenty of fun to be had at Dreamworld and on the Gold Coast beaches, all of which provided the perfect setting for them to meet other Yalari students and forge new friendships.

Most importantly, our Orientation Camp is their introduction to Yalari’s CORRIE values and learning more about their own and others’ diverse Indigenous cultures.


Year 9 Outback Camp

A highlight of their time with Yalari for almost every student, the Outback Camp to Central Australia was held mid-year.

Our 26 girls had a less than ideal start to their adventure, with the flight from Sydney having to turn back after making it as far as the Northern Territory border. But once they finally made it to the Red Centre, the students had an amazing week exploring Uluru, Watarrka (Kings Canyon) and Kwartatuma (Ormiston Gorge), and joining in unique cultural experiences including a church service in the Western Arrernte language and activities with Traditional Owners and Elders.

In addition to reconnecting with Yalari students they would have met in their Year 7 and 8 Orientation Camps, the students were encouraged to journal and reflect on their experience and the memories they will cherish forever.

Year 10 Pay It Forward Camp

In Year 10, we introduce our students to the pay it forward concept that is at the very heart of Yalari’s foundation. In February 2023, we brought 30 Year 10 students cam together from all over Australia for a weekend at Mt Tamborine in south-east Queensland where they were tasked with collectively raising money to fund a Yalari scholarship for one year.

Working in groups, they brainstormed a range of creative initiatives to raise the funds over the rest of the school year.

This camp is also an important time to talk about their individual character strengths, and what ‘paying it forward’ means in life. Of course, there was time for lots of catching up and friendly rivalry on the high ropes course, the volleyball court and around the campfire.


Year 11

Pathways Camp

Our career planning program gets underway in Year 11 with our Pathways Camp. In 2023, we brought together 32 Yalari students for a series of workshops, presentations and projects that challenged them to think critically about their future. Thanks to the University of Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Support Unit, our students got a taste of what to expect at university by taking part in a range of cultural, leadership and creative activities.

Year 12 Graduation and HSF Weekend

Continuing on the career planning trajectory, a follow-up workshop for our Year 12s was held at Herbert Smith Freehills’ Brisbane office in March. In addition to looking at job applications and resumes, education planning, course selection and the importance of balancing mental health and well-being, students benefited from the one-on-one and group mentoring provided by Yalari staff, alumni and volunteers.

As has become tradition, our 32 graduating Year 12 students headed to Canberra in August for the Yalari Graduation Ceremony. Family members, alumni and Yalari supporters joined the students at Parliament House to applaud their achievements. For the students, it was a time to look back over their past six years with pride, knowing that they have achieved the big goal they talked about at their first Yalari interview and that they can now celebrate what they have accomplished.

Our Class of 2023 Valedictorian, Kye Boland spoke beautifully at the ceremony, reflecting on the impact his years at Churchie have had on his life and the value he places on his Yalari friendships.

As is also the tradition, most of the graduates headed from Canberra to the Perisher ski fields where they enjoyed their last weekend together as a group of Yalari students.


Learning and growing together

What makes Yalari unique – and uniquely successful – is our understanding that the Yalari educational experience is not just about going to a great school. It’s about mentoring and supporting our students through bouts of homesickness, loneliness, tough subjects and difficult assignments, and sometimes the day-to-day practicalities of getting to Saturday sport or the airport.

Academic support

Through study, grade tracking and tutoring initiatives, our academic support program offers a framework in which our students are given the best possible chance to thrive and succeed in their studies.

The academic support program made significant inroads throughout 2023, with a major focus placed on improving student literacy. A reading challenge was set for incoming 2024 Year 7 students, with over 100 books, kindly donated by the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, sent out to the students ahead of their first year at high school. Library For All donated a further 300 books written by Indigenous authors for the benefit of all Yalari students.

Our tutoring program saw more than 100 students tutored by volunteers from our corporate partners, as well as professional tutors.

A pilot program was launched with TutorTime for students at Kambala using a Yalari alumni tutor. The pilot was aimed at assisting students in specific subjects and was trialled over a 10-week period. Qualitative and quantitative data showed an increase in student personal achievement and growth, and we thank TutorTime for their support of this important initiative.

Student wellbeing

Our Student Support Officers are based in the cities where our students attend boarding school so they are close at hand and on call when students need any kind of support. They visit students at their boarding houses on a regular basis, connect with students individually and in groups, and they initiate activities and outings. In many ways, they are a surrogate family member who can help with organisation or lend an ear or keep an eye on how students are travelling from a mental and physical wellbeing perspective.

Driving lessons

Our wonderful partnership with RACV allows Yalari students who have their learner’s licence to access five driving school lessons to prepare them for getting their provisional licence. This sort of practical support is greatly appreciated. It builds our students’ confidence and gives them a sense of independence as they head into the next stage of their lives.


Inspiration begins at home for Tarniesha

In January 2023, ex-Tropical Cyclone Ellie dumped a week of heavy rain on the Fitzroy River catchment in north west WA. It resulted in the worst flooding in the state’s history, destroying more than 100 homes and businesses in the remote community of Fitzroy Crossing and cutting the town off from fresh food, fuel and supplies.

Tarniesha Oscar’s family was one of many who lost their home. Her mum and stepdad had no choice but to move 400kms away to Broome and, while they’ve since been able to move back to the Crossing, the community is still struggling.

As you can imagine, staying focussed on her Year 10 studies far away at Methodist Ladies College in Perth was a massive challenge for this Yalari scholarship recipient but, inspired by the example of her mother and grandmother, Tarniesha was determined to stay the course.

My nan grew up with a lot less than I had but she fought hard to get an education. She went to high school, which would have been unusual for an Indigenous girl in her time.

Nan is Emily Carter AM, CEO of Marninwarntikura Women’s Resource Centre and has worked in Aboriginal health and welfare since the 1970s.

But, more than that, she is a devoted grandmother.

“Nan’s had a big influence on me. She’s very strong but humble and true to herself. She has always been there for me; always pushed me to get a good education and set an example for my siblings.

I remember when Llew came out to Fitzroy Crossing for my Yalari interview – I was so nervous, wondering what I was going to say, but my grandparents live right next door so Nan strolled over and had a good yarn.”

As well as Nan Emily, Tarniesha’s jubi lives next door too. June Oscar AO is Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Co-Patron (with Dame Quentin Bryce) of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation and Co-Chair of the Close the Gap campaign.

She has been honoured as the National NAIDOC Person of the Year (2018), The WA Australian of the Year – Local Hero (2017), the recipient of the Archbishop Desmond Tutu Reconciliation Fellowship (2016) and an honorary doctorate from Edith Cowen University.

Tarniesha goes back in time to describe her primary school. “At my primary school in Fitzroy Crossing, there were only 50-60 kids in the whole school. I was in a mixed Year 5/Year 6 class and was probably one of the top students.

But on my first day at boarding school, I just wanted to go home. I didn’t know what I was doing there – I was really shy and the work was really hard and you just think ‘what’s the point of trying?’ I didn’t want to ask for help because I didn’t want to seem like the dumb kid from a small town on an Indigenous scholarship.”

But Tarniesha didn’t leave. She has worked hard to successfully close that gap with the help of her Yalari tutors, Yalari Student Support Officer Nadia and the MLC boarding house tutors.

And by Year 9, she’d found her groove.

“I’d built my confidence by that stage. I knew everyone and we all basically knew where we are at with our academic abilities.

I also really love my sport. I play AFL football for Claremont in the West Australian Football League and I’ve been selected to go to New Zealand for a two-week netball tournament in April 2024. That will be my first ever overseas trip so I’m very excited but also a bit scared.”

Looking at her plans for the future, it seems that Tarniesha is very likely to follow in her nan’s footsteps.

“I want to study social work when I leave school –maybe work in a remote area helping people in small towns. Seeing my community struggle, not just because of the floods but with all the challenges of living in isolated regions, drives me to want to help people in that situation.”

Building a lifelong network

2023 was a massive year for the Pathways Program. A series of new initiatives was launched, we worked closely with our 32 Year 12 students as they made decisions about their post-school pathways, and our alumni engaged with Yalari more than ever before.

With over 500 alumni now in the Yalari family, our Pathways team is focussed on supporting and empowering these young adults as they make their own way in their communities and workplaces. Our strategy is built on four key pillars: Post School Pathways, Pathways for Personal Growth, Leadership and Professional Development Pathways and Pathways for Connection.

Recognising that our alumni represent one of the largest networks of Indigenous professionals in this country, we offered a number of opportunities for the Yalari mob to re-connect and re-engage with us and with each other, including alumni catch-ups in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, supporting students at Yalari camps and at their schools, and the inaugural Yalari alumni reunions.

Alumni Reunions

This year we held the first ever 5- and 10-Year Reunions for Yalari alumni at RACV Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast.

The 5-Year Reunion was held in July, bringing together the Class of 2018 from across the country to acknowledge and celebrate their achievements. Over the reunion weekend, the group spent time catching up with Waverley and Llew, participating in personal and professional development workshops, and looking back on their time as Yalari scholars at a formal dinner with our staff and supporters.

In October, we held the 10-Year Reunion for our earliest group of graduates. We had a bit of catching up to do so this inaugural event encompassed the Classes of 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. Once again, we offered personal and professional development workshops, lots of catching up time and a formal dinner with alumni, Yalari staff and supporters. In a lovely nod to the past, the dinner included a speech from Mikayla Roe who was the very first Yalari student to speak at a gala dinner back in 2008.

We were so proud to see what Yalari’s first group of students have achieved since graduating school and we look forward to our 5- and 10-Year Reunions for the Classes of 2014 and 2019 this coming year.


Yalari Way Camp

For more than a decade, the Year 9 Outback Camp to Central Australia has been a highlight of the Yalari journey for our students. In 2023, we invited a group of alumni and long-term, dedicated Yalari supporters to experience the magic for themselves at the inaugural Yalari Way Outback Camp.

This amazing group of diverse professionals from all walks of life spent a week travelling through Central Australia, sleeping in swags at campsites along the way. Highlights included a church service in Hermannsburg delivered in Western Arrernte language, visits to local art centres and an exploration of some of the most beautiful natural landmarks in Australia. They enjoyed meeting Traditional Owners, taking part in wood burning activities with Elders and getting creative with the camp cooking.

Around the campsite each night, there was time for reflection, yarning, forging bonds with each other and discovering a profound sense of connection and shared purpose. As Waverley promised, it was a “time to think about your place in our country and all the beauty and peace that can come from that.”

Alumni Advisory Board

Encouraging professional growth is a key part of Yalari’s plans to support alumni as they grow into leaders in their workplaces and their communities.

Fifteen of our alumni were selected to participate in the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) training program designed to give alumni real world boardroom understanding and experience, followed by the establishment of our Alumni Advisory Board. The board met throughout the year with guidance and support from Yalari board members, giving valuable insight as alumni and young Indigenous Leaders.


Congratulations to the Class of 2023

After all the fun, stress, excitement and relief of finishing Year 12, our newest graduates have wasted no time embarking on the next chapter of their lives. Many have continued on to tertiary studies in a range of exciting fields. Others have transitioned seamlessly into the workforce, securing meaningful jobs that align with their aspirations.

We are so proud to see our graduates plot their chosen course, set out on new adventures, and contribute positively to the communities they live and work in. Their accomplishments reflect not only their individual dedication, but also the robust foundation and support provided by Yalari and our sponsors.

Andrew Casey

John Paul College

Andrew has returned to the Northern Territory and is working. He has applied to join the Australian Army.

“I feel thankful for this opportunity Waverley has given me. I have made a lot of good friends in Yalari and with this opportunity I’m going to change my home town and make it a better place, bit by bit.”

Ava Seaton


Ava is studying a Bachelor of Social Work at the University of Wollongong.

“Having Yalari hold and value me on my journey has motivated me to get through. I hope to keep in touch with them after school to ensure that my story can help younger kids to get through their tough times.”

Bonnie Mumford

Geelong Grammar School

Bonnie is studying a Bachelor of Agribusiness at the University of New England.

“I’m so excited to see where my future is going to take me. I know for a fact that boarding school has prepared me well, for wherever life takes me.”

Charlea Smith

St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School

Charlea is studying a Bachelor of Forensic Science at Griffith University.

“I am closer to achieving the one childhood dream I’ve had for ten years. Something I would not have been able to do without the Yalari Scholarship.”

Charlize Watson

Kinross Wolaroi School

Charlize is studying a Bachelor of Primary Education at the University of Newcastle.

“I want to study primary education so that I can go on to pay it forward by teaching in rural and remote areas, giving other children a better education.”

Chenae Wreford

Great Southern Grammar

Chenae is studying a Cert II in Conservation and Ecosystem Management at TAFE.

“Without this scholarship I would never have learnt from all the opportunities I have been presented over these past few years. I know I would have led a different life without Yalari, and I’m thankful for everything I’ve received.”


Ciara Laidlaw

St Hilda’s School

Ciara is working in her community, before beginning a traineeship later in the year.

“I’m forever glad and grateful for this opportunity, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever put myself through, but it’s been so rewarding in the end.”

Clay Schafer

Geelong Grammar School

Clay is studying a Bachelor of Engineering and Aviation at Griffith University.

“I feel thankful and really appreciate the support which has helped me to get a great education. It has given me so many opportunities and has made a big difference to my life.”

Delaney Dagg

Scotch College, Adelaide

Delany has applied for a traineeship at the Adelaide Women’s Hospital.

“I wonder how different my life would be if I didn’t come to boarding school. It makes me feel so lucky and grateful for the education I’ve had at Scotch.”

Ella Nona

St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School

Ella has applied to study Business and Sport at ACU in the mid year intake.

“I’m so grateful and appreciative of the opportunity I’ve been given and will use it to build a better future for not only myself, but my family and culture.”

Emil Willie-Jawai

Anglican Church Grammar School (Churchie)

Emil is playing for Easts Rugby and sees his future in France playing professional rugby. He is continuing his heavy diesel mechanic apprenticeship in Brisbane.

“I am truly grateful for the opportunities I have been given at Churchie. I will carry the lessons and experiences from these years with me as I embark on new adventures and challenges in the future.”

Iesha Gray


Iesha is working full time at Mudgin-dal Women’s Place in Sydney, before beginning university in 2025.

“I am grateful for being able to spend my years in Sydney, especially coming from a small community. It has been an eye-opener in many ways. It has given me many experiences that have made me think deeply about many things.”

Jay Campbell

The Southport School

Jay will continue his modelling career and will spend 2024 in Europe having signed a modelling contract.

“Throughout school I have learned connections is one of the most powerful things to have and to hold. The relationships we build mean we have connections anywhere and everywhere.”

Jye Peters

Sydney Church of England Grammar School (Shore)

Jye has returned to Coffs Harbour to complete a plumbing apprenticeship.

“I would not change a thing about my time in Sydney. I have made many lifelong friends and found my passions in many different places, due to the opportunity that I have been given to explore and open up my bubble.”

Koolee Harbour

John Paul College

Koolee has relocated to Sydney and is playing for the Cronulla Sharks NRLW.

“I am grateful for the opportunities that have come along with this scholarship. It has made a huge difference in my life and I couldn’t be happier for the path it has put me on.”

Kye Boland

Anglican Church Grammar School (Churchie)

The Class of 2023 Yalari Valedictorian, Kye is studying a Bachelor of Architecture at QUT.

“Throughout my time at Churchie, I’ve had a lot of fun and enjoyed all the new experiences. The Yalari scholarship has provided me with the invaluable opportunity to access a quality education, and I strived to make the most of this privilege.”


Lashontae Mosby

The Glennie School

Lashontae is studying a Bachelor of Sports and Exercise at James Cook University in Townsville.

“I have met so many new people and have been given the most amazing opportunities at Glennie which I will forever be grateful for.”

Laura McGrady

Laura is studying a Certificate III in Animal Studies while working at the Animal Welfare in Ipswich. She plans to study a Bachelor of Veterinary Science at UQ in 2025. John Paul College

“We have all come a long way, been through tough times, and laughed and cried. But in the end, we will always have each other and I’m forever grateful that I accepted this scholarship because of the brothers and sisters I now have.”

Leila Belotti

Methodist Ladies’ College, Perth

Leila is studying a Certificate III in Dance Practice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples at NAISDA Dance College in Gosford.

“I am so thankful for the opportunity to have studied at MLC on a Yalari scholarship. It has given me countless opportunities that wouldn’t have be an option if I had stayed at my school back home.”

Leon Connop

St Peter’s College, Adelaide

Leon is staying in Adelaide to complete an apprenticeship and play AFL.

“I look back at my schooling journey and think about how lucky I am to be given this opportunity. I am the first person in my family to go to boarding school and I am very proud of it and it makes me happy knowing that my younger siblings are looking up to me and see me as a role model.”

Luke Tennant

The Southport School

Luke is studying a Bachelor of Business and a Diploma of Entrepreneurship at the Queensland University of Technology.

“I am determined to carry the lessons learned, the connections made, and the values instilled into my future endeavours.”

Mikayla Dowd

Geelong Grammar School

Mikayla has plans to study a Bachelor of Engineering at the University of Queensland in the future.

“Throughout my time at school, I have gained understanding and have learnt so much, not just academically but I’ve also established worldly views that I will carry with me through the rest of my life. I am a different person because of it, the trajectory of my life has dramatically altered, and I now have new motivations and goals that I am determined to fulfill. “

Mismam Kris

St Ignatius’ College, Riverview

Misi is working as a landscaper in Sydney and is hoping to secure an apprenticeship in the future.

“Reflecting on my journey since Year 7 is kind of emotional because all those good memories will be gone but never forgotten.”

Nathan Spry

St Peter’s College, Adelaide

Nathan has moved to Darwin to complete an electrical apprenticeship.

“Without Yalari, I would not have had the chance to attend a school like St Peter’s College and the opportunities I have been given.”

Neitayah Prince

Scots PGC College

Neitayah will be completing a Certificate III in Individual Support at TAFE QLD.

“I have really enjoyed my boarding years and although I am nervous, I am excited to start my adult life.”

Noami Buchanan

The Glennie School

Noami is studying a Bachelor of Contemporary Australian Indigenous Art at Griffith University.

“I have had some of the best times of my life so far at Glennie on Yalari, which I will cherish forever”


Olivia Oakeshott


Olivia is studying a Bachelor of Medical Studies/Doctor of Medicine at the University of New South Wales.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience at boarding school and will forever be grateful for this.”

Russell Whap

St Ignatius’ College, Riverview

Russell is studying a Bachelor of Marine Science at Griffith University.

“Starting in Year 7 I have learned so many things. Coming into Year 12, the friends and connections that I’ve made will last a lifetime and wouldn’t have been possible without Yalari.”

Scarlett Mercer Geelong Grammar School

Scarlett is studying a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Politics and Indigenous Studies at the University of Melbourne.

“The last six years have allowed me to experience things that I otherwise would never have had any chance to do or see.”

Summer Lowe Methodist Ladies’ College, Perth

Summer moved across the country to study a Bachelor of Contemporary Australian Indigenous Art at Griffith University.

“Yalari was a huge support throughout my time in boarding, helping with tough times at school, providing opportunities in and outside of school, as well as encouraging my dreams and goals in life.”

Tayah Riley


Tayah is studying a Foundation Program at the University of Newcastle.

“I am and will be forever grateful for this opportunity. I have had the most amazing time and experience being at Kambala and will not forget it.”

William Fletcher-Toovey Anglican Church Grammar School (Churchie)

Will is completing a fitter and turner apprenticeship in Dubbo.

“I am so grateful for the times I’ve had during my time at Churchie, and for the opportunities that being on Yalari has given me.”


‘Pay it forward’ inspires the next generation

Yalari was founded on the philosophy of paying it forward: just as Mrs Rosemary Bishop paved the way for Waverley Stanley to attend Toowoomba Grammar School, Waverley has paid it forward by offering the same opportunity to more than 700 young Indigenous children just like him.

That pay it forward ideal is now driving the next generation, with Yalari alumna, Sheldyn Briggs determined to follow in Waverley’s footsteps.

“Waverley has always been my inspiration to give back to my community. In every application I write – for jobs, work placements, scholarships, anything – I talk about Waverley and how he expanded my horizons beyond Moree by making it possible for me to go away to a boarding school like Abbotsleigh.

One of the big opportunities Abbotsleigh gave me was sport. I played Saturday sport just like other boarders, but my main sport was touch football. I was fortunate that my footy coach also worked with Hornsby Touch Football. She got me playing with Hornsby, which opened up opportunities to go away to Port Macquarie for State Cup every year at school as well as while I was at university.

I would never have had those opportunities back home in Moree. Even though sport was a big thing there, you just don’t have the same resources and funding in small regional towns.”

After finishing year 12, Sheldyn went on to the University of Technology Sydney and studied Primary Teaching. She was offered a job back in Moree once she graduated.

“I was never tempted to stay in Sydney – I always knew I wanted to go home and give back to my own community. The kids all knew me – they knew I was from Moree, that I sat in the same classroom they were in; and that I got a scholarship to go away to boarding school and then went to university. It was so great to be able to tell them my story and show what was possible for them.

And it’s interesting because one of the students from my very first Year 5 class is now a Yalari scholar.”

After two years teaching in Moree, Sheldyn moved to Dubbo, teaching at Peak Hill Central School, before finding a role that perfectly combined her love of teaching and sport as a Program Lead with the National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy (NASCA).

“NASCA runs programs for Indigenous high school students in the Northern Territory and in a number of schools around NSW. Our programs use sport as a way of engaging with kids and teaching them about health and well-being, as well as things like teamwork, problem solving, communication and nutrition. It also helps them to avoid negative influences – drugs, alcohol, low self-esteem, boredom.

I’m delivering programs at Dubbo College’s Delroy campus where we have more than 100 Indigenous girls in NASCA’s Young Women’s Academy.

I’m still using my teaching skills – writing programs, teaching in our NASCA room – but this role is more focused on mental health and well-being which is the area I want to work in.

I only started with NASCA in the last term of 2023 but I’m really loving it.”

Throughout her working life, Sheldyn has maintained her connection with Yalari; most recently by travelling to the Gold Coast to attend the Senior Leaders’ Camp to then volunteer at the Orientation Camp.

“It was a perfect opportunity to give back to Yalari and to share my story with little kids just starting their Yalari journey.


My goal now is to become a leader with NASCA, so the Yalari Leadership Camp came at the right time. I’ve also signed up to do the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre course in Indigenous Leadership this year through Yalari’s Pathways program.

I am beyond grateful for what Yalari has given me. I wouldn’t be where I am today without Yalari’s support and the doors they have opened for me – whether it be sporting opportunities, academic opportunities, lifetime friends and connections.

I’m just so thankful for how Waverley paid it forward by creating Yalari. Now I want to see how I can pay it forward.”


Alumni success in 2023

Marley Holloway-Clarke

Class of 2013, Scotch Oakburn College

Graduated from a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Masters of Arts and Cultural Management at the University of Melbourne.

Marley is currently the Marketing Lead at Common Ground. Founded by fellow Yalari alumna Rona Glynn-McDonald, Common Ground is a not for profit that aims to amplify First Nations voices.

“Yalari really is the largest connected network of Indigenous people in this country. We all have that shared experience of being an Indigenous kid at boarding school, living away from home and being given that amazing opportunity to break the cycle of poverty and disadvantage through education, meaningful careers and a broader life experience.”

Denzel Tighe

Class of 2013, St Ignatius’ College, Riverview

Graduated from a Bachelor of Arts (Indigenous Studies) from the University of Sydney.

After graduating, Denzel spent several years at the Commonwealth Bank, most recently as the Senior Advisor of Indigenous Affairs.

He is currently the Indigenous Student Advancement Officer at the Wollotuka Institute at the University of Newcastle.

“Yalari for me, means empowering and educating our young Indigenous kids for the future.”

Ashley Hudson

Class of 2014, Kinross Wolaroi School

After starting her career in the Australian Defence Force, Ashley is now working for BHP as a Material Logistics Officer.

She is a talented artist and has founded her own business Bilura Watu.

“Yalari built my backbone and enabled me to put on my boots to walk into any room and be confident in myself and my story.”


Trey Petterson

Class of 2016, St Ignatius’ College, Riverview

Studying a Bachelor of Communications, Social and Political Science at the University of Technology Sydney.

Trey is interning at FTI Consulting, one of Yalari’s corporate partners, while at university.

He is also passionate about giving back to the Yalari community through his role as a student mentor.

“Yalari means family - one big family - and I’m proud of all of us.”

Kayla Baker-Peris

Class of 2018, Kambala

Studying a Bachelor of Communications (Digital and Social Media) and International Studies at the University of Technology Sydney.

Kayla is working as a Communications Intern at Breville and as an Indigenous Mentor and Boarding Staff at her alma mater Kambala.

She is an Ambassador for the not for profit ‘You can sit with me’ which promotes inclusivity and kindness within schools across Australia.

“Yalari is an opportunity to make our mob and communities stronger and better with the right education for our future generations.”

Ryan O’Callaghan

Class of 2018, St Peter’s College, Adelaide

Graduated from a Bachelor of Design majoring in Urban Planning from the University of Melbourne as a Chancellor’s Scholar.

Previously Ryan was the Acting Senior Advisor on Aboriginal Self Determination at the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning at the Victorian Government.

He is currently the Research Project Manager at La Trobe University.

“Yalari’s dedication to Indigenous education has changed everything for me, opening doors I never knew existed.”


Celebrating with our community

Our annual Gala Dinners continue to be the highlight of Yalari’s social calendar and the backbone of our fundraising activities.

This year, they gave us the opportunity to showcase the achievements of our students and alumni to more than 1500 supporters and guests. Coming together on Kaurna Country in Adelaide, Gadigal Country in Sydney and Turrbal and Jagera Country in Brisbane, these events allow us to honour Indigenous culture, share life-changing stories and celebrate the achievements of Yalari scholars, past and present.

These dinners are our major fundraising events each year, collectively raising over $380,000, so we can continue writing the Yalari story for the next generation.

Our calendar of gala events got off to a fine start in Adelaide on 5 May at the National Wine Centre of Australia. Almost 240 attendees came together to support our South Australian and Western Australian cohort. Cousins, Harmony and Leila Bellotti from Perth’s Methodist Ladies College did an outstanding job as our MCs, and our guest speakers included alumnus Peter Lacey from Scotch College and current Year 7 Scotch College student Aylah Parker.

Our Sydney dinner held on 2 June at the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth put the spotlight on our wonderful NSW scholars and alumni. In front of an audience of 440 people, alumni Elyne Tighe and Sophie Oakeshott served as our MCs, while Year 12 Shore student Jye Peters and Kambala alumna Kayla Baker-Peris shared their Yalari experiences. One of the highlights of the night was a performance by Kambala students Hayley Green and Eliza Andrews who sang ‘For Good’ – a song about people coming together from different worlds and the impact those relationships have.


Once again, this year our Brisbane event on 8 September set a new high in terms of attendees, attracting more than 830 guests and 50 volunteers.

Yalari alumna Marley Holloway-Clarke was a shining star as our MC and our three alumni speakers – Kyol Blakeney, Trey Petterson and Jadalyn David De Busch –touched everyone in the room with their stories of how Yalari has changed their lives.

Our entertainment was provided by TSS students, Xavier Stanley and Eli Pyziakos, welcoming guests with a powerful didgeridoo performance; while our St Margaret’s girls shared a traditional dance from their home in the Torres Strait Islands.

A cocktail event was held in Melbourne on 16 November with 85 of our Victorian supporters. Alumnus Koby Sellings and board member Charlie Scudamore shared their personal experiences on the power of education.

In November, the Governor of Queensland, Her Excellency the Honourable Dr Jeannette Young AC PSM and Professor Graeme Nimmo RFD hosted an event in support of Yalari. It provided a great opportunity for Yalari supporters, volunteers, students, school staff and alumni to gather on the beautiful grounds of Government House as the school year came to a close.

A huge thank you to all our supporters and guests who attended Yalari’s events in 2023. We hope you will feel moved to share the amazing work Yalari is doing by inviting family, friends and colleagues to attend one of our events in 2024.


Friday, 10 May 2024


Friday, 16 August 2024

Thursday, 5 September 2024


Sponsorship is more than financial for Auto & General

In 2022, Yalari welcomed Auto & General as a major sponsor. You may know Auto & General through their multi award-winning brand Budget Direct and their partnerships with leading brands - Qantas, ING and Virgin Money — delivering insurance solutions for their customers. Their focus on making a positive difference to the communities in which they live and work, underpins A&Gs purpose ‘to safeguard a brighter future,’ which is what led them to Yalari’s door.

When Vanessa Taylor’s daughter started her high school years at Logan’s John Paul College, she forged a new friendship with a Yalari scholarship recipient. Over the next six years, the two friends became part of each other’s families, sharing many experiences, learning about each other’s cultures and family values.

“Learning more about Indigenous culture by having a Yalari student as part of our extended family gave us first-hand experience of the value and impact that the scholarship program has,” says Vanessa.

“It was invaluable to learn more about Indigenous customs and traditions that govern the roles of men and women, and that sense of extended family where cousins, aunts and uncles are regarded as brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers.”

As General Manager – Employee Experience, Communication & Community at Auto & General (A&G), Vanessa identified that Yalari would be a great fit alongside existing community partners supported by the insurance underwriter.

“A&G works with a number of not-for-profit community partners that our employees feel passionate about, across a diverse range of causes - from local organisations like the Kawana Surf Club and the PCYC Deception Bay through to issues-focussed charities such as OzHarvest, Act for Kids, The Sunlight Centre and World Wellness Group.

Supporting Yalari presented us with an opportunity to work within the youth and education space, as well as making a difference for Indigenous families from rural and remote areas.

For A&G, it always needs to be more than a financial investment. We’re looking for a long-term partnership where our corporate donation can be supplemented

by employee-driven fundraising, volunteering, in-kind support and workplace giving.”

A&G are sponsoring four scholarship students – two at St Margaret’s, one at Toowoomba Grammar School and another at Clayfield College.

“In addition to the four scholarships, our Group MD and CEO Asia Pacific, Ram Kangatharan related with how the Yalari team fly all over Australia to interview applicants and their families in their homes, so we’ve also contributed toward some of those travel costs.

In 2023, we were able to provide Yalari staff members with a vehicle so they can easily drive between the different Brisbane partner schools, and in 2024 we provided additional support for Yalari’s well-being program.

Our team members have volunteered as Yalari tutors and we’re considering ways we can support alumni through Yalari’s Pathways team.”

One of the ancillary benefits of corporate partnerships with major corporations like A&G is the opportunity to raise awareness about Yalari’s work and share learnings about First Nation’s culture.

“The first time I heard Waverley tell the story of Yalari was at the Brisbane Gala Dinner. Now as sponsors, members of the A&G team attend this event annually.

We’ve also attended strategic planning breakfasts in Brisbane and Melbourne and for NAIDOC Week 2023, Yalari Chair, Bruce Davidson brought alumna Jondayah Martin to our offices to share her story with our employees. In January this year, a couple of team members including myself went along to the 2024 Orientation Camp to meet and connect with students through activities.


Supporting our community is an important part of our culture at A&G. Yes, it’s about making a financial contribution but it’s also about getting involved through volunteering, in-kind support and advocacy. Our employees see how we are making a difference and feel proud to be part of the A&G team.


Yalari Foundation

The Yalari Foundation, which houses the Mary Boydell Endowment Fund, continues to grow through a combination of generous contributions and a solid investment strategy.

Throughout 2023, we entered into discussions with a number of top tier funds management and investment advisory firms. The final outcome is that we have engaged JB Were to manage the funds and provide us with professional strategic advice. JB Were manage more than $12 billion of investment funds on behalf of for-purpose organisations like Yalari.

The Mary Boydell Endowment Fund was established by and named in honour of Yalari’s much-loved former Chair, Mary Boydell, who served in the role from 2014 to 2018. Mary’s exceptional skills as an experienced board director elevated our governance and strategic outlook.

While we sadly lost Mary in January 2019, her husband Wally Boydell has continued the family connection by serving as patron of the Mary Boydell Endowment Fund.

The endowment fund was set up to secure Yalari’s future over the long term by providing a perpetual source of funding to support Yalari’s purposes. Mary and Wally were the first generous donors to the fund and we continue to build a community of supporters who are helping to grow the fund and leave a legacy that will change not just individuals lives, but whole families and communities for generations to come.

Dona�ons Earnings Balance 12/31/2016 102,250 695 102,945 12/31/2017 103,250 2,282 208,477 12/31/2018 7,135 5,316 220,927 12/31/2019 50,860 5,778 277,565 12/31/2020 272,370 7,174 557,109 12/31/2021 106,591 7,628 671,328 12/31/2022 427,235 16,819 1,115,382 12/31/2023 161,939 38,368 1,315,689 102,945 208,477 220,927 277,565 557,109 671,328 1,115,382 1,315,689 0 200,000 400,000 600,000 800,000 1,000,000 1,200,000 1,400,000 31/12/2016 31/12/2017 31/12/2018 31/12/2019 31/12/2020 31/12/2021 31/12/2022 31/12/2023 Donations Earnings Balance 36

Andrew & Kate build on a family legacy

If anyone can testify to Mary and Wally Boydell’s commitment to Yalari and the Yalari Foundation, it’s on-going contributor, Andrew Buchanan.

“My wife Kate is Wally’s cousin. We were great friends with Mary and Wally and travelled with them a lot. So that was how we first heard about Yalari.

I knew Mary as an incredibly capable, high-powered board member with a diverse portfolio of directorships, but Yalari became her passion – her heart. It was so much more than a Board role; it was an active partnership for her. She admired Waverley and Llew so much for all that they were achieving.

At the same time, Mary had the ability to step back and take that strategic perspective – to see where the organisation is, where it needs to go and how it can get there.

Kate and I initially came to Yalari as scholarship sponsors as a result of hearing Mary talk so highly about what the organisation was doing but when she became the driving force to establish a foundation that would secure Yalari’s future, it was a natural progression to switch our support to the Mary Boydell Endowment Fund.”

As previous General Manager of Local Radio at the ABC, Andrew has witnessed the challenges faced by Indigenous families living in remote and rural communities.

“For the five years I was looking after 51 stations in regional areas, I spent probably four days a week travelling all over Australia to places like Halls Creek, Fitzroy Crossing, Karratha, Mt Isa, Broken Hill.

It’s hard to understand the reality of life for Indigenous families in isolated communities like these unless you see it for yourself. Without an organisation like Yalari, their children would never get the opportunities that kids going to a big city school take for granted.

I was really taken too, by how Waverley and Llew and the Yalari team travel out to meet those children in their homes; to sit around the kitchen table and talk to parents about how they want a better life for their kids than they had. It’s about that generational change.

And that is what the Mary Boydell Endowment Fund represents for Yalari – making sure that Yalari is there for the next generation and the one after that and the one after that. It’s a long-term investment, not just for Indigenous children and their families but for Australia as a country where, one day, all people will have equal opportunity.

For Kate and me, it’s also about honouring Mary’s legacy and making sure her work continues. She always had such confidence that Yalari would succeed and grow, and the Foundation is the catalyst to make sure that happens.”


Philanthropic Our valued supporters

85 & 86 Riverview old boys & friends

Alan and Doris (deceased) Sinclair-Jackson

Archie and Mary Lou Douglas

Bagot Gjergja Foundation

In 2023, we were more ambitious than ever before: more students, more alumni and bigger events - all while remaining true to our core belief: that, at the heart of our efforts, lies the experience of each individual student.

We’ve worked hard to give our scholars the resources to thrive at their schools and we’ve put in place new programs to empower our alumni and foster a strong and passionate community.

But we didn’t – and we couldn’t – do it alone.

Our supporters, sponsors and donors have backed us every step of the way. They’ve shown a steadfast commitment to changing the lives of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. A total of 225 scholarships were funded by generous individuals, families, corporations, trusts, foundations and by the Australian Government. We’ve received generous donations to fund programs, student camps, pathways scholarships and academic and wellbeing support for our scholars. We’ve been hosted by our partners across the country for events. And, throughout the journey of 2023, our Yalari community has remained close and connected.

And for all of that, we are so grateful.

The impact of your support will be felt for years to come, as the next generation of leaders –those bright, young Indigenous children and young people you have backed today – take their place in their universities, their workplaces and their communities.

Claire Nontapan

Daniel Pittorino

Dr Roger Grigg

Estate of Mona M Birrell

Fenwick Family Foundation

Fiona East

Gailey Lazarus Foundation

Geoffrey Davies AO and Thea Davies

Grant and Linden Oliver

H & J Davies Foundation

Hamish and Mary McIntyre

Janette Laver

Jenny Hall

J&M Wright Foundation

John Reid AO and Lynn Rainbow-Reid AM

Johnson Group WA

Judith Musgrave Family Foundation

Luke Sullivan in gratitude to Patrick and Mary Sullivan

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

Saywell Foundation

Sinclair Charitable Trust

Stan and Maureen Duke Foundation

Steve and Di McCready

The Leroy & Joy Brauer Perpetual Charitable Trust

The Sue Chase Foundation

Thyne Reid Foundation

Tim Fairfax AC and Gina Fairfax AC

Toowoomba Grammar Class of ‘84

Uncle Rob Bryant’s First Nations Education Scholarship —

In memory of his mother the late Granny Rita Bryant/Whaddy

Vicki Hanman

Wally Boydell

Waterwheel Foundation

Williams Family



Proudly supported by the Australian Government 39


Thank you to our tutors


Thank you to our dinner volunteers

Thank you to our Alumni

Thank you to our Regional Councils

Thank you to our office volunteers

Thank you to our dinner committees

Volunteer contributions

Throughout 2023, we’ve been honoured to have so many volunteers help us in many different ways.

Yalari’s volunteers have offered their skills and expertise and have worked tirelessly to support us through governance, philanthropy, events, office support and assisting our students and alumni.

Our Gala Dinners in Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane were put together with the tremendous assistance of volunteers. Dinner Committees for each event worked behind the scenes, while many more volunteers offered their time on the night, setting up and packing down, selling raffle tickets and helping with the auctions.

Regional Councils made up of passionate Yalari supporters in Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales play a vital role in connecting new supporters and sponsors with Yalari. Our board provide their expertise, passion and commitment on a pro bono basis to help shape Yalari for the future.

Our students also felt the impact of our volunteers over 2023. Volunteer tutors across the country provided academic assistance to our students, while alumni returned to student camps and activities to lead, share their stories and inspire current students as they continue on their own Yalari journeys.

Our volunteers come from all over – they are staff from our corporate partners, they are alumni, they are individuals with a passion for making a difference – but they are all committed to Yalari’s purpose and vision of empowering Indigenous leaders to make a difference in their communities.

It takes a community – we are so proud that our community is willing to take the call and join us on our journey.

Financial Report Income $10,410,341 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. Government Grants 48% Sponsorships 25% Other Income 3% Investment Income 5% Donations 13% Event Income 6% Scholarships 51% 10% Business Services 7% Fundraising 2% 4% Pathways Events Fundraising Events 5% Pathways 5% Student Events 16% Student Support Expenses $9,287,662 INCOME EXPENSES 41

Mrs Rosemary Bishop

30 August 1933 – 19 May 2023

Everyone has ‘that teacher’. The one who saw your potential, who showed you what you could achieve, who believed in you so much it made you believe in yourself, who mentored you and inspired you and taught you to be brave.

There’s no doubt that Mrs Rosemary Bishop was ‘that teacher’ for Yalari founder Waverley Stanley AM. As his Grade 7 teacher at Murgon State Primary School, she saw so much promise in young Waverley that she arranged a scholarship for him to attend Toowoomba Grammar School – an opportunity that opened up a world of new experiences and changed the course of his life.

In May 2023, the Yalari family were heartbroken to learn of Mrs Bishop’s passing but, as the news filtered out to the wider community, we learnt that Mrs Bishop wasn’t just Waverley’s favourite teacher.

She was everyone’s favourite teacher.

“RIP Mrs Bishop. You were my Grade 7 teacher in Murgon and simply the best.”
“Mrs Bishop will always and forever be my favourite teacher from Year 5

to Year 7.”

“She was an incredible gift to our lives.”
“She believed.”

These were just some of the comments that poured into our social media pages.

From the other side of the world came the story of a pen-pal program Mrs Bishop started with a school in the tiny community of Chalybeate, Mississippi and one American student’s memory of crowding into the school office with her classmates to talk to Mrs Bishop on the phone.

We also found the story on several news sites of a “C-average student in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it town who didn’t much see the point of school” and had “no hope” for herself.

Mrs Bishop encouraged this young Indigenous girl to enter a story for the local Rotary club’s writing competition. It was full of grammar, punctuation and spelling mistakes but Mrs Bishop could see past all that to recognise an enormous talent for storytelling.

“It turned me around,” says Leah Purcell, now an acclaimed playwright, director, musician and actor.

Rosemary Grier, as she was when she started her teaching career at just 18 years of age, began with a class of 60 Year 2 students at Bundaberg East. Eighteen months later, she was transferred to a dot on the South Burnett map called Cloyna where she taught at the local school, danced at the Cloyna Hall, joined the CWA and met Ron Bishop.

She loved sport – she represented Queensland in the swimming pool, was interested in netball, hockey, tennis, cricket and football, and was one of the Bronco’s biggest fans.

She loved music – she joined and started theatre troupes and musical groups, even well into her later years when she launched the Village Voices choir at the Golden Shores Retirement Village in Hervey Bay.

But most of all, she loved her family – husband Ron, daughters Sandy, Sue, Wendy and son Brett, her grandchildren and great grandchildren.

And she loved her students.

Back in the 1950s, marriage to Ron meant her immediate retirement from teaching. But as a wife and mother living on a property in country Queensland in the early 1970s, Mrs Bishop returned to teaching to help out during lean times on the farm. That turned into a career spanning more than three decades, where she touched the lives of thousands of country kids.


As an educator, Mrs Bishop made it her mission to make every child feel important and to allow every student to learn at their appropriate level. There was no such thing as one size fits all.

In collaboration with Principal Brian McGuire, she implemented a new process approach to learning in a multi-age setting. The success of this method attracted the attention of educators from all over the state and led her to write books and training strategies that are still in use today.

Of course, for us, Mrs Bishop’s greatest legacy is Yalari. By opening that door for Waverley to go to Toowoomba Grammar School, she sparked a passion in him to give other Indigenous students the same opportunity.

The original goal was to educate 250 children. Eighteen years on, Yalari has presented scholarships to 726 Indigenous children from remote and regional areas, including 501 alumni now making their way in the world and 225 students currently in Grades 7 to 12 at 20 leading boarding schools Australia-wide. Our grand dream now is for Yalari to have an impact on five generations.

And every one of those children will know the story of Mrs Rosemary Bishop – that what she did for one child has changed their life and can change the life of a generation and will change the life of this country.

From our Yalari family, we send our love, condolences and deep deep gratitude to all of those whose lives were touched by Rosemary Bishop but most of all to her extraordinary family.


In 2023, 225 Indigenous students from remote and regional communities experienced the life-changing educational opportunities offered by Australia’s leading boarding schools. Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors and supporters, these young leaders now join our group of 501 alumni who are now making their way in the world.

By giving the gift of a quality education and all the doors that opens for young people, our supporters are empowering Yalari graduates to dream bigger dreams – not just for themselves but for their families, their friends, their communities and their country.

Every day, we hear from alumni who are now working to improve health, education, justice and social outcomes for our Indigenous communities. We see them taking on leadership roles in corporate, political and community enterprises, ensuring that Indigenous viewpoints, issues and cultural concerns become an integral part of everyday life in every sector of Australian society. And, as our alumni begin to raise their own families, we are especially proud to see how that gift of an education is now impacting the next generation.

Whether you are sponsoring a scholarship, offering pro bono services to our students, funding our camps, dinners and fundraising events, or volunteering your time in any capacity, know that you are making a profound difference not just in the life of a future Indigenous leader but in bringing Australia together as a united and equitable country.


Follow our social channels: Contact us For more information, please contact the philanthropy team on
07 5665
or info@yalari.org
Yalarimob Yalari Figures correct at time of printing — March 2024
Thank you

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