About us

Nulungu Research Institute is based at the Broome (Yawuru Buru) Campus of The University of Notre Dame Australia in the Kimberley region. It focuses on culturally-appropriate research, outreach and training across the region. Nulungu is widely recognised as a research institute that meets the local, regional and national research requirements of Indigenous people and their communities. Since its inception in 2008, Nulungu has been highly regarded as a centre of Indigenous research excellence. It has built its reputation on a successful record of high quality work on complex issues.

The underlying approach of Nulungu’s research program is ‘right country, right people, right way’, which positions Indigenous people and communities at the centre of our research endeavours and ensures that the value of community-based Indigenous knowledge is recognised and applied to meet the objectives of our clients. We call this The Nulungu Way.

Nulungu has worked on many complex projects in remote and regional Western Australia and at a national level. Nulungu is highly experienced at leading the research process, identifying key factors to be addressed, establishing critical ways to meet client aspirations and priorities, managing multi-disciplinary research teams, providing qualified advice, managing the often divergent views of stakeholders, and developing strategies to manage and address the position of key stakeholders. These aspects are always undertaken with the client objectives being paramount to the conduct of research.

Members of the Nulungu team offer expertise and skills in the following fields:

  • Indigenous engagement and consultation through the valuing of community-based Indigenous knowledge;
  • social and cultural research and planning, particularly in Indigenous governance, capacity building and community infrastructure needs;
  • Native title and Indigenous cultural heritage;
  • Caring for Country (cultural and natural resource management) with an emphasis on Indigenous sustainable development, cultural security and enterprise innovation;
  • urban development with an emphasis on local and state government service delivery models and land tenure, land access, and land use arrangements;
  • education and training including primary, secondary, and tertiary sector provision including vocational education and training (VET) and higher education; and
  • health and wellbeing, particularly in community health, social and emotional wellbeing, and health service delivery models.

The Nulungu research team is a multi-disciplinary group of people who are primarily drawn from Broome and the Kimberley region, and can also draw on the expertise and skills of associates located in other parts of Western Australia and throughout Australia where necessary and appropriate.

The back story

The term Nulungu incorporates the idea of gaining new knowledge while resting and yarning, preparatory to setting out on a shared journey. It is also the name given to a waterhole on Roebuck Plains, near Broome.

Notre Dame's Broome Campus is  located on the site of the former Nulungu Girls College that was founded in 1974 by the Sisters of St John of God and the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions.

The Christian Brothers’ College for boys in years 6-10 was established three years earlier, on an adjacent parcel of Broome Diocesan land. Both colleges catered for day students from Broome as well as providing boarding facilities for Aboriginal students from remote Kimberley communities.

The two schools combined in 1980 to form Nulungu College. The school was initially administered by two co-principals and boasted 23 buildings, a chapel and a sports oval. Nulungu College provided students with an opportunity to share and celebrate the diversity of their cultural heritage and learn from one another.

More changes occurred in 1995, when Nulungu and St Mary’s Primary School amalgamated under the banner of St Mary’s College. The eastern side of the campus, including many former Nulungu College classrooms and the boarding facility, was taken over by the University of Notre Dame in an arrangement with the Bishop of Broome.

The Nulungu Research Institute acknowledges the important work of the early educators and the significant cultural connection to the Aboriginal people who bestowed the name.