Associate Professor Sandra Wooltorton

Senior Research Fellow, Nulungu Research Institute
PhD, MEd, BEd, BA Honours (Cultural Geography), Dip. Teaching

Phone: 91920614 or 0448 958 242

  • Biography

    Sandra Wooltorton is Associate Professor (Education) and since March 2018 has been a Senior Research Fellow with the Nulungu Research Institute (Nulungu) at the University of Notre Dame Australia’s Broome Campus. She is a trans-disciplinary researcher who first joined Nulungu in January 2015, as Director. Sandra leads a number of research projects including Kimberley Transitions: Collaborating to Care for Our Common Home: She has worked as a primary school teacher and Aboriginal education officer, and was a teacher educator at Edith Cowan University (Bunbury) from 1999 until 2013. In 2014 she taught at Muludja Remote Community School in the Fitzroy Valley, WA. She has won a number of teaching awards. Also see: and

  • Teaching areas

    Over the years Sandra has taught at primary, secondary and tertiary levels, in Australian city and remote schools, colleges and universities. In universities she has taught across a wide range of fields, from Aboriginal studies and sustainability to social science education and classroom management. She has won a number of teaching awards, including an Australian Learning and Teaching Council citation: "For making consistent progress over 10 years in the refining of a teaching/learning approach conducive to transformative learning for sustainability" (2009).

    PhD Supervision

    • ‘‘Ngala Kaditijiny Our Culture’ Dispute Practices of contemporary Noongar women
    • Laudato Si’ in Broome:
      • A Community Development Study
      • Ecological Conversion at a School
    • The role of school psychologists in enabling and promoting school staff wellbeing in rural and remote schools in the Kimberley region of Western Australia
    • The Wellbeing of Land, Living Waters, and Indigenous Australian People
    • Articulating and Enacting Hope on Climate
    • Wetlands Environmental Education
  • Research expertise

    • Community development
    • Transformative learning
    • Ecological Philosophy
    • Regenerative education and applications in practice
    • Environmental Education
    • Language, Discourse and Narratives - Deficit to Potential
    • Facilitating Transitions – Learning Together
    • Transforming Tertiary Education Systems
  • Books

    • ​​Wooltorton, S., Humphries, C., Winmar, H., Collard, G. (1992). Noongar our way: a Noongar language course. East Perth, WA: Noongar Language and Culture Centre.

    Edited Books

    • Wooltorton, S. & Marinova, D. (Eds.) (2006). Sharing wisdom for our future, environmental education in action: Proceedings of the National Conference of the Australian Association for Environmental Education. Sydney: AAEE. ISBN: 978-0-9578335-1-7.
  • Book chapters

    • Aniere, C., Wooltorton, S., & Boyd, D. (In-Press). The ‘Kids on Country’ programme in Australia: Indigenous cultures, history and sustainability In N. McCleod (Ed.), Global Education. London: Sage.
    • Logan, B., Dimer, M., Aniere, C., & Wooltorton, S. (In-Press). ‘Kids on Country’: Learning to Hear the Land and People. In N. McCleod (Ed.), Global Education. London: Sage.
    • Wooltorton, S., Collard, L., Horwitz, P. (2019). Layers of meanings in our landscapes: hiding in full view. In Ellis, M. Critical Global Semiotics: Understanding Sustainable Transformational Citizenship. London, Routledge.
    • Wooltorton, S. (2019). Cultural solutions: a North West Australian reflection on Sustainable Development Goal 3. In T. Savelyeva, S. Lee, & H. Banack (Eds.), SDG 3 - Good health and wellbeing: re-calibrating the SDG agenda. Concise Guides to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (Vol. 3, pp. 29-56). ISBN: 9781789737127. UK: Emerald.
    • White, P., Wooltorton, S., & Palmer, M. (2018). Chapter 11, Confronting, Collaborating and Crafting: An Enlivening Methodology for Academic Ecojustice Activism. In Black, Alison. & Garvis, Suzanne. Women activating agency in academia: metaphors, manifestos and memoir. Pp. 111-122. London and New York; Routledge. ISBN 9781138551138 (hardback); ISBN 9781315147451 (ebook)
    • Wooltorton, Sandra (2012). Sustainability: ambiguity and aspiration in teacher education. In Down, B. and Smyth, J. "Critical voices in teacher education: teaching for social justice in conservative times". Springer.
    • Wooltorton, Sandra (2007). A classroom teacher’s reflection on learning sustainability, in Zandvliet, D. & Fisher, D. "Sustainable communities and sustainable environments". New York: Sense.
    • Wooltorton, S. (2006). "Quality Criteria for ESD-Schools: Guidelines to Enhance the Quality of Education for Sustainable Development [Book Review]" Australian journal of environmental education Vol. 22 Iss. 1, p. 126 – 127.
    • Wooltorton, Sandra (2006). A participatory approach to learning sustainability, in Leal Filho, W. (Ed.) "Innovation, education and communication for sustainable development". ISSN: 1434-3819. New York: Peter Lang.
    • Wooltorton, S. (2003). Education for Sustainability: A Background Paper Prepared for the State Sustainability Strategy. In: “Western Australia, Hope for the future: the Western Australian State Sustainability Strategy”. Perth, WA: Department of Premier and Cabinet. (In Additional CD Rom)
    • Wooltorton, Sandra (1997). Creating 21st century education policy, in Book: Booth, Michael and Hogan, Trevor: Ambivalence and hope: Social theory and policy making in a globalising, post-modern Australia. Murdoch, Australia: Institute of Science and Technology Policy, Murdoch University. ISBN: 0-86905-553-4.
    • Wooltorton, Sandra and Quartermaine, Linda (1996). Aboriginal studies for Western Australian Pre-Service Teachers, in Book: Teaching the teachers: Indigenous Australian studies. Sydney, Australia: Faculty of Professional Studies, UNSW. ISBN: 0-7334-0433-2.
    • Calgaret, T., Whitehurst, R., & Wooltorton, S. (1988). Nyungar language project. In B. Harvey & S. McGinty (Eds.), Learning my way: special edition of Wikaru 16 (Vol. 16, pp. 39-48). ISBN: 0 7298 0068 7. Mount Lawley: Institute of Applied Aboriginal Studies & Department of Aboriginal and Intercultural Studies.
  • Journal articles and proceedings

    • Wooltorton, S., Guenther, J., Dwyer, A., & Wilks, J. (In-Press). Aboriginal nation: A strong Kimberley tertiary education narrative The Australian journal of Indigenous education.
    • Poelina, A., Wooltorton, S., Harben, S., Collard, L., Horwitz, P., Palmer, D. (2020). Feeling and hearing Country. In PAN: Philosophy, Activism, Nature(15) 6-15.
    • Wilks, J., Dwyer, A., Wooltorton, S., & Guenther, J. (2020). “We Got a Different Way of Learning”: A message to the sector from Aboriginal students living and studying in remote communities. Australian Universities' Review, 62(2), 25-37. Retrieved from
    • Guenther J, Dwyer A, Wooltorton S, Wilks J (2021). Aboriginal student engagement and success in Kimberley tertiary education. The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education 1–9. 10.1017/jie.2021.2.
    • Wooltorton, S. Poelina, A., Collard, L, Horwitz, P, Harben, S. Palmer, D. (2020). Becoming family with place. Resurgence & Ecologist. 322. Sept/Oct. ISSN: 0034-5970:
    • Marshall, M., Wooltorton, S., Golson, K., Dwyer, A., Kennedy, G., Albert, U., . . . Sullivan, P. (2020). Notes d'actualite: Réactions à la pandémie de la COVID-19 dans les communautés aborigènes de la région des Kimberley en Australie-Occidentale. Organisations & Territoires, 29(2), 163-170. doi:10.1522/revueot.v29n2.1168
    • Wooltorton, S., Collard, L., Horwitz, P., Poelina, A., & Palmer, D. (2020). Sharing Place-Based Indigenous Methodology and Learnings Environmental Education Research. Retrieved from
    • Wooltorton, S., Palmer, M., White, P., & Collard, L. (2020). Learning Cycles: Enriching Ways of Knowing Place. Australian journal of environmental education, 1-18 FirstView. ISSN: 0814-0626 (Print), 2049-775X (Online). doi:10.1017/aee.2020.15
    • Collard, L., Palmer, D., Harben, S., Wooltorton, S., Horwitz, P. (2020). Liveable Cities: Ways to Make Your Place in Town or City ‘Family’. Film presented to the Liveable Cities 2020 ConferenceWebinar Series 9th, 16th and 23rd June: Film located at:
    • Wooltorton, S. Poelina, A., Collard, L, Horwitz, P, Harben, S. Palmer, D, Palmer, M. (2019) Living into Indigenous landscapes: learning for regenerative futures OzEE News December
    • Wooltorton, S., Collard, L., & Horwitz, P. (2019) Layers of Meanings in our Landscapes: Aliwa! Ni! In OzEE News, 146/March.​
    • Wooltorton, S., Toussaint, S., Poelina, A., Jennings, A., Muecke, S., Kenneally, K., Remond, J., Schipf, A. & Stredwick, S. (2019). Kimberley Transitions, Collaborating to Care for Our Common Home: Beginnings … Nulungu Research Paper 2. Broome: Nulungu Research Institute.
    • Wooltorton, S. Horwitz, P., & Collard, L. (2019). Groundwater interdependence, wetlands and Noongar Boodjar: living water relationships of the Gnangara groundwater system. In PAN: Philosophy, Activism, Nature (14). 5-23.
    • Palmer, M., White, P., & Wooltorton, S. (2018) Embodying our future through collaboration: The change is in the doing, The Journal of Environmental Education, 49:4, 309-317, DOI: 10.1080/00958964.2017.1364214
    • Wooltorton, Sandra; Collard, Len and Horwitz, Pierre. (2017). The land still speaks: Ni, Katitj!  PAN: Philosophy Activism Nature, No. 13: 57-67. ISSN: 1443-6124.
    • Guenther, John; Bat, Melodie; Boughton, Bob; Dwyer, Anna; Marshall, Melissa; Skewes, Janet; Stephens, Anne; Williamson, Frances; Wooltorton, Sandra. (2017). Enhancing training advantage for remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Learners. Research Report
    • Guenther, John; Bat, Melodie; Boughton, Bob; Dwyer, Anna; Marshall, Melissa; Skewes, Janet; Stephens, Anne; Williamson, Frances; Wooltorton, Sandra. (2017). Case studies of training advantage for remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LearnersSupport document
    • Guenther, John; Bat, Melodie; Boughton, Bob; Dwyer, Anna; Marshall, Melissa; Skewes, Janet; Stephens, Anne; Williamson, Frances; Wooltorton, Sandra. (2016). Enhancing training advantage for remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Learners. In Transforming Education Research. Australian Association for Research in Education Refereed Conference Proceedings. Melbourne.
    • Wooltorton, S., Horwitz, P., Redmond, J., Wilkinson, A., & Bahn, S. (2015). Sustainability and action research in universities: towards knowledge for organisational transformation, in International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education. 16/4, pp. 424 – 439.
    • Wooltorton, S., Collard, L., & Horwitz, P. (2015). Stories want to be told: Elaap Karlaboodjar. PAN: Philosophy, Activism, Nature. No. 11.
    • Wooltorton, S., Palmer, M., Steele, F. (2011). A process for transition to sustainability: Implementation. In The Australian Journal of Environmental Education 27(1): 160-174.
    • Wooltorton, Sandra, Palmer, Marilyn, Goodwin, Kerry, Paine, David. (2010). A process for Transition to Sustainability: Beginning. Vol 28, No. 2, pp. 20 – 27. In The Social Educator.
    • Wooltorton, S., Collard, L., Horwitz, P. (2013). Kura, Yeyi, Burdawan: A Story of the Leschenault Catchment. Catholic Education Office, Bunbury.
    • Wooltorton, S., Horwitz, P. (2013). The Narrogin Region – A Storied Landscape. Catholic Education Office, Bunbury.
    • Wooltorton, S., Collard, L., Horwitz, P. (2013). A sense of home: a cultural geography of the Leschenault Estuary DistrictReport.
    • Wooltorton, S. (2009). Education for sustainable cities: The great Australian dilemma. In Maginn P., Jones R., & Haslam-Mackenzie F. City Growth, Sustainability, Vitality and Vulnerability: State of Australian Cities National Conference. Perth: Australian Sustainable Cities Research Network.
    • Wooltorton, Sandra (2006). Ecological literacy: An Australian perspective, in The social educator, Vol 24 No. 2. August.
    • Wooltorton, S. (2004). Local sustainability at school: A political reorientation, in Journal: Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability, December Volume 9 Number 6. (Q1)
    • Down, B. and Wooltorton, S. (2004). Beginning teaching in rural-remote schools: Implications for critical teacher development, in Journal: Change – Transformations in education: A Journal of Theory, Research, Policy and Practice 2004, May Volume 7 Number 1.
  • Professional affiliations

    • Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Science, Edith Cowan University (2021-ongoing)
    • Associate Editor, Australian Journal of Environmental Education (2021-ongoing)
    • Associate Editor, Nulungu Publications (2021-ongoing)
    • Co-Editor, Special Issue: Voicing Rivers, in River Research and Applications (2021)
    • Member, Edith Cowan University’s Centre for People, Place, Planet (2021-ongoing)
    • Member, International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN): Commission on Ecosystem Management. 2017 - 2021. (Subgroup: Cultural Practices and Ecosystem Management).
    • Member, Sustainability, Environment and the Arts in Education (SEAE) Research Cluster (USC):
    • Member, Environs Kimberley (2014-ongoing).
    • Member of the Australian Association for Environmental Education (AAEE). (1998 – ongoing)
    • Member of the Institute of Australian Geographers (IAG) (2010 – ongoing)
    • Member, Editorial Board of the Australian Journal of Environmental Education (2010 - ongoing)
  • Community engagement

    Sandra supports a number of local and Kimberley-based social, environmental and community development organisations. For instance, see:

  • Awards

    • VC’s Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning (2009)
    • ALTC Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning (2009)