“We Need to Run Our Own Communities”

Creating the Wuyagiba Bush Uni in Remote Southeast Arnhem Land, Northern Australia





Indigenous higher education, on-Country, two-way, remote Aboriginal communities, Aboriginal-led, Endogenous community development


Australian Indigenous student participation rates in higher education are consistently lower than non-Indigenous students, especially in remote contexts. This has manifested in the usurpation of remote Aboriginal community control by ‘more qualified’ external staff. Here we present a reflexive assessment of the development, delivery, outcomes and challenges of the Wuyagiba Bush Uni that was designed to address the paucity of university education in remote Aboriginal communities of Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. From 2018 to 2022, 66 Indigenous students graduated with Wuyagiba Micro-credentials (accredited by Macquarie University), and 28 students proceeded to enrol in Bachelor level degrees at Macquarie University in Sydney, with the first graduate in 2023. Furthermore, the Wuyagiba model has created a successful remote Indigenous business that employs about 50 local Indigenous people annually and is working towards empowering endogenous community development in remote Arnhem Land. Nevertheless, many challenges remain including sustainable funding, remote service delivery, university and bureaucratic structural barriers, and lateral violence in remote communities. Several enabling factors of success are identified, such as the cross-cultural curriculum, strong Indigenous control and leadership, wrap-around support, and longstanding relationships between University staff and community leaders. Such reflections can be used by other remote Aboriginal communities who wish to replicate this model or create their own on-Country higher education programs to empower locally trained leaders of the future.  

Author Biographies

Andréa Jaggi, Macquarie University

Associate Lecturer, Macquarie University

Kevin Guyurruyurru Rogers, Wuyagiba Bush Uni

Chairman, Wuyagiba Bush Hub Aboriginal Corporation

Cultural Professor, Wuyagiba Bush Uni

Helen Gabibi Rogers, Wuyagiba Bush Uni

Cultural Professor, Wuyagiba Bush Uni

Annette Yulumburruja Daniels, Wuyagiba Bush Uni

Cultural Teacher, Wuyagiba Bush Uni

Emilie Ens, Macquarie University

Associate Professor, Macquarie University.

Wuyagiba Bush Uni, Macquarie University Lead and Administrator

Sue Pinckham, Macquarie University

Cultural Advisor, Macquarie University (now retired)




How to Cite

Jaggi, A., Rogers, K. G. ., Rogers, H. G. ., Daniels, A. Y., Ens, E., & Pinckham, S. (2024). “We Need to Run Our Own Communities”: Creating the Wuyagiba Bush Uni in Remote Southeast Arnhem Land, Northern Australia. Australian and International Journal of Rural Education, 34(1), 122–144. https://doi.org/10.47381/aijre.v34i1.706