Deadly science, canoe engineering, bush pharma, and more

Media releases, National Science Week

Great INDIGENOUS stories up for grabs now around Australia.

  • Meet Indigenous STEM leaders from maths to medicine—Canberra
  • Learn from 60,000 years of Aboriginal astronomy and Indigenous knowledge—Sydney
  • Water, desalination and sugary drinks—Arnhem Land
  • Bull kelp, bush foods and resin chemistry at TMAG—Tasmania
  • Make a canoe and hear about local Aboriginal engineering and navigation—Tasmania

These are just a few of the Indigenous science events and activities happening across Australia during National Science Week (August 15 to 23).

If you’re after more great ideas for highly visual stories, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at, and on Twitter at @SciWKMedia.

Individual event details and media contacts

STEM Canberra Forum: Future Indigenous leaders of tomorrow being inspired by Indigenous elders of today—Canberra, ACT

This deadly online forum devoted to broadening understanding of studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics is a must for Indigenous students aged between 16 ad 24.

Hear from:

  • Julie Tongs OAM, CEO Winnunga Nimmityjah (Strong Health) Aboriginal Health and Community Services, National Centre for Excellence in Youth Mental Health, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare;
  • Professor Michael Platow, Associate Director (Science Education), ANU Research School of Psychology;
  • Dr Stewart Sutherland, Chair Indigenous Health Framework, ANU Medical School, ANU Indigenous Health Stream;
  • Professor Lovett, Mayi Kuwayu: The National Study of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Wellbeing;
  • Misha Schubert CEO of Science &Technology Australia
  • Professor Chris Matthews, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mathematics Alliance Chair.
  • Professor Hugh R Taylor AC,  Melbourne Laureate Professor Harold Mitchell of Indigenous Eye Health, University of Melbourne;
  • Dr Tanja Hirvonen, Clinical Psychologist/Australian Indigenous Psychology Association steering committee;
  • Karl Briscoe, Chief Executive Officer of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker Association;
  • Winnifred Knight, medical student ANU and
  • Corey Tutt, Deadly Science founder.

The event is organised in collaboration with peak ACT and national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations.

Friday 21 August. Event details

Event type: Online

Indigenous Science Experience—Sydney, NSW

What can Aboriginal astronomy tell us about the night sky? How is native flora used as bush medicine? What can we learn about sustainable living from more than 60 000 years of Indigenous culture?

Find out the answers to these and other questions during the Indigenous Science Experience.

The event consists of five online presentations showcasing science presented by Indigenous secondary students, Elders, community members and science outreach providers, including astrophysicist and Wiradjuri woman Kirsten Banks, global Indigenous engineering expert Dave Harrington, and Yaegl community members.

  • Artefact and Bush Tucker Experience: Monday 17 August
  • Bush Medicines to Pharmaceuticals: Tuesday 18 August
  • Indigenous History and Artefacts: Wednesday 19 August
  • Indigenous Astronomy in Australia: Thursday 20 August
  • Global Indigenous Engineering: Friday 21 August.

Since 2012, the Indigenous Science Experience at the Redfern Community Centre has been highlighting the value of traditional and contemporary Indigenous knowledge in STEM and the relevance of science to everyday lives. The new online format continues this tradition.

Saturday 15 – Sunday 23 August. Event details

Water is Life— NT

The Ramingining school in Arnhem Land, NT, will host a “pop-up laboratory” so children and other locals can assess the health impacts of drinking water and sugary drinks.

Organisers – scientists, health professionals and Indigenous trainees from the Menzies HealthLAB – will also provide the school with a desalination kit.

The Menzies School of Health Research HealthLAB is an innovative, interactive, educational experience that allows participants to measure their own biomedical risk factors for chronic diseases.

Thursday 20 August Event details

The Science of the Black Box—Hobart, TAS

Explore traditional Tasmanian Aboriginal artifacts and the modern science behind their remarkable qualities.

The Science of the Black Box is a dynamic online learning program inviting young people to explore everything from the medicinal properties of bull kelp to the chemistry of resins and the secrets of bush-foods.

Delivered by Aboriginal Learning Facilitator Teangi Brown in association with science educators at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, this one-hour online forum will provide an opportunity for students and the general public to immerse themselves in the science that sits alongside many traditional First Nation’s practices in lutrawita/Tasmania.

Thursday 20 August. Event details

Event type: Online

Tasmania’s First Scientists: Investigations into Tasmanian Aboriginal canoe-making—Hobart, TAS

Look deeper into the rich cultural knowledge and science behind Tasmanian Aboriginal canoe-making with a focus on naval architecture and cultural use of plants. Make your own canoe with found materials and be a part of an online exhibition hosted by Plimsoll Gallery.

This web-based resource includes an investigation into the resilience of Indigenous culture in surviving the impact of British invasion.

Online resources include:

Young learners can then make their own canoe with found materials gathered from local bushland, combined with contemporary objects. Photographs of their creations will become part of an online exhibition.  

Saturday 15 – Sunday 23 August Event details

Event type: Online

About National Science Week

National Science Week is one of Australia’s largest festivals. Last year 1.5 million people participated in more than 2050 events around the country, in metropolitan, regional and remote locations.

In 2020, the festival is almost entirely virtual, online, DIY and well-spaced. This means most events, large and small, is open to anyone, no matter where they live.

National Science Week 2020 will run from 15 to 23 August. Media kit at, public event listings at