Halls Gap Cultural Experience

Cultural immersion experience

Budja Budja Halls Gap 29/05/2023

The pregnant lady, just outside Ararat, is a landmark that is part of the creation story about the Giant Emu Tchingal and Purra the Kangaroo.

On Monday 29th May, Going Rural Health again sponsored a cultural immersion experience – primarily for health students on placement in the Ballarat & Grampians region. Students were from 5 different disciplines (medicine, paramedicine, nursing, social work, and physiotherapy) and from 3 different universities. Staff attending were from Budja Budja Medical Centre, as well as and one staff member – who also transported students – from East Grampians Health Service.

The day was run in collaboration with Budja Budja Medical Centre & Co-operative (above) in Halls Gap. Attendees were first transported from Ballarat and Ararat to Budja Budja, for a tour of the facilities and an opportunity to talk to staff. They were able to see the soon to be completed Health & Wellbeing Centre (below), which once up and running will also host placement students from nursing and allied health.

The group then moved to the training venue for their Cultural Awareness training. The training was co-facilitated by the amazing Jo Harrison Clarke (Yanng Ngalung Maligundidj Cultural Training, Orange Door Wimmera) and Lissy Johns (Prevention and Population Health – Wimmera, Wimmera Partnership Program, Grampians Health). Jo discussed Aboriginal history from the earliest stories to the present, which gave students a better understanding of the trauma that follows their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients and patients.

Jo also discussed the impact of the impending Voice referendum on local communities, and had participants consider how it may affect her people if the vote doesn’t pass.

Unfortunately the weather and the low cloud prevented a trip up to Boroka Lookout, but most of the group paused on the way home to view The Pregnant Lady, a landmark just outside of Ararat that is part of a local creation story Jo told us about Tchingal the Giant Emu and Purra the Kangaroo.

All in all it was a long but great day, with many benefits for those who attended. The Going Rural Health team are proud of their partnership with Budja Budja and are happy to continue to sponsor this event.


Trish Thorpe

Associate Lecturer, Rural Placement Co-ordinator

Medical Scientist/Clinical Biochemist & Teacher

Going Rural Health Ballarat