Anna Dwyer

Researcher and Associate Lecturer

Advanced Diploma of Australian Languages and Linguistic Studies
Bachelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education

Tel: +61 8 9192 0641

  • Biography

    Anna Dwyer is a Karajarri Aboriginal Woman from Karajarri Country, 190kms south of Broome in the West Kimberley, Western Australia. Her primary language is Karajarri. Throughout her life, Anna has resided in Bidyadanga, Broome, and Derby, Western Australia.

    Anna’s primary and secondary education was completed at St Mary’s Primary School in Broome, Broome District High School, and Pundulmurra College in Port Hedland. Anna’s professional background is as a Linguist. In 2005, she completed an Advanced Diploma of Australian Languages and Linguistics Studies at the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education (BITTE) at Batchelor in the Northern Territory. In 2013, Anna completed a nationally accredited unit of competency entitled ‘AHCILM404 - A Record and Document Community History’ at Nirrumbuk Aboriginal Corporation in Broome.

    Anna commenced her professional career as a Trainee Coordinator for Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Cultural Centre (KALACC) in 1982. During this period, she also worked to establish the Goolarabooloo Aboriginal Arts and Craft enterprise in Broome. Subsequently, she left Broome to commence working with the Kimberley Land Council (KLC) in Derby. Between 1992 and 2004, Anna performed a range of roles to the CEO and Directors, Book-keeper and Native Title Project Officer. From 2005 to 2008, Anna worked as Project Officer for the Kimberley Older Indigenous People’s Health Project in Derby. Since June 2009, Anna has been an ‘early career’ Researcher in the Nulungu Research Institute at the Broome Campus of the University of Notre Dame Australia. As a researcher, Anna’s interest is working closely with her people living in Bidyadanga Aboriginal Community and doing further research for the Karajarri Country.

    In conjunction with members of the Karajarri Traditional Lands Association, Anna was invited to participate in a study tour of British Columbia, Canada for two weeks in August 2014. A mix of experienced senior cultural leaders and younger aspirational members participated in the study tour. The study tour visited five First Nation communities to gain insight into strengthening the social and human capital within Aboriginal land and water management programs; integrating schooling endeavours with cultural activities; building effective community governance structures; further develop leadership support and networks; maintain and enhance customary law; and share Karajarri culture, dance and song as an integral component of emerging cultural and working relationships.

    The study tour lead to Anna creating a written and photographic presentation of the tour and presenting a seminar as part of the Nulungu Talking Heads Seminar Series in October 2014. The study tour promoted the Nulungu Research Institute and the University of Notre Dame Australia, and fostered relationships with potential research collaborators in British Columbia and generated two research ideas for further development.

  • Teaching areas

    Anna developed and delivered guest lectures to Diploma of Nursing students on cultural sensitivity when caring for Aboriginal patients and has lectured to students enrolled in Aboriginal Studies subjects on Relationships to Land and Caring for Country Programs. Anna has also delivered modules in Cultural Competency Training to students, staff and other professionals to ensure they employ cultural sensitivity when working with Aboriginal people. The insights from Anna’s research and personal experience as a Karajarri woman have provided a depth of knowledge that informs and challenges the students’ thinking and learning. As a Cultural Advisor for the Karajarri Traditional Lands Association, Anna is involved in cultural awareness camps that are conducted on country and supports students who are working with or would like to work with Aboriginal people in the right way.

  • Research expertise and supervision

    • Caring for Country
    • Climate Change and Adaptation on Karajarri Country
    • LaGrange Water and Agriculture Opportunities
    • Social impact of electricity supply models in Bidyadanga and how they relate to community and Individual Health and Wellbeing
    • The experiences of Aboriginal people who were relocated to Broome in the 1960s and 1970s
  • Community engagement

    Anna Dwyer has extensive experience engaging with Aboriginal communities across the Kimberley on a range of issues pertaining to native title, health, community development, language preservation, Law and culture. Working across a number of roles at the Kimberley Land Council for fourteen years, Anna was engaged in organising and facilitating community meetings. In her work for Kimberley Aged Care, Anna completed significant community consultation processes to inform effective service delivery and assessment of community need. As a researcher at the Nulungu Research Institute Anna has engaged in regional and national projects engaging directly with community members and representative organisations on issues of Caring for Country, Health and Wellbeing, Language Maintenance and Education. As a Traditional Owner, Anna has represented her people at regional, national and international forums, on issues of Law and culture, health and Climate Change. Anna is a Cultural Advisor for the Karajarri Traditional Lands Association and uses her expertise and her skills as a researcher to support her community.
  • In the media

    • Broome residents rally ahead of Paris talks. (2015, 1 December). Broome Advertiser. Retrieved from
    • In December 2015, Anna participated in a local rally to send a message to world leaders about climate change as part of a global campaign. Anna gave a thirty minute speech to one hundred and fifty Broome community members who took part in the rally about Climate Change Adaptation on Karajarri Country and the Pukarrikarra (dreamtime) Places.
  • Journal articles and proceedings

    • Dwyer, A. (2016: Pending), 'Climate Change and Adaptation on Karajarri Country, Bidyadanga Community and ‘Pukarrikarra’ places'.
    • Tran, Tran & Strelein, Lisa & Weir, Jessica & Stacey, Claire & Dwyer, Anna et al. (2013). Native title and climate change: changes to country and culture, changes to climate: strengthening institutions for Indigenous resilience and adaptation. [Southport, Qld] National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility Canberra Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Stories Strait Islander Studies
    • Dwyer, A. 2012, ‘Pukarrikarta-jangka muwarr – Stories about caring for Karajarri country’, The Australian Community Psychologist: The Official Journal of the Australian Psychological Society and College of Community Psychologists, vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 11-23.
    • LoGiudice, D., Strivens, E., Smith, K., Stevenson, M., Atkinson, D., Dwyer, A., Lautenschlager, N., Almeida, O.A. and Flicker, L. 2011, The KICA Screen: The psychometric properties of a shortened version of the KICA (Kimberley Indigenous Cognitive Assessment), Australian Journal on Aging, vol. 30, no. 4, pp. 215-219.
    • Dr Ross Ingram Memorial Prize 2012, the brain painting: “the snake eating away the life of your memory” Smith K, Flicker L, Dwyer A, et al. Factors associated with dementia in Aboriginal Australians. Aust N Z J Psychiatry 2010; 44: 888-893.
  • Conference papers

    Dwyer, Anna 2012 ‘People worrying for their Country’: Karajarri Country and Climate Change. Unpublished paper presenter at the Encountering the Anthropocene: The role of the Environmental Humanities and and Social Sciences Conference, Sydney Environment Institute, The University of Sydney, February 2014.