Astronomy at Uluru; the science behind boomerangs; and #footyneurons

Media releases, National Science Week

Indigenous science stories from National Science Week

Tuesday 16 August 2015

Talent, researchers, experts, and other interesting people available for interview and photo opportunities around the country.

  • Students explore Indigenous science, artefacts, bushfoods and demonstrations – Sydney, NSW
  • Neural Knitworks to stop sporting concussions – Sydney, NSW
  • The science of weaving and super seeds – Narrung, SA
  • Boomerangs, bush tucker, rockets and robots: traditional tool making meets contemporary science – Balga, WA
  • Aboriginal science at the museum – Albury, NSW
  • Howling wood to talk to distant neighbours – Wagga Wagga, NSW
  • Walk the walk of the ancient Aboriginal people – Eden, NSW
  • Astronomy in Uluru – Yulara, NT

… and there’s more on each below.

Find more National Science Week events online at  

Indigenous Science Experience @ Redfern – Sydney, NSW

I1The Indigenous Science Experience @ Redfern is a celebration of Indigenous and Western science. Highlights will include yarns with Aboriginal Elders on bush foods and medicines, making Aboriginal tools and jewellery, and taking part in hands-on science activities led by Indigenous youth.

Schools days: Wed 17 – Fri 19 Aug Event details

Family day: Sun 21 Aug Event details

Enquiries: Joanne Jamie,, 02 9850 8283 or 0439 170 683

Neural Knitworks to stop sporting concussions – Redfern, NSW

The Neural Knitworks and #footyneurons team will show participants how to handcraft textile neurons in favourite team colours while nattering about brain health and the neuroscience behind concussion injuries in sport.

To raise awarenes of the dangers of concussions in sport, there will be a display of neurons in NRL colours and other sporting codes.

The activity will be held as part of the Indigenous Science Experience Family Fun Day at the Redfern Community Centre on 21 August.

Sun 21 Aug Event details

Enquiries: Pat Pillai, or 0408 213 844

The science of weaving and super seeds – Narrung, SA

Learn about the science behind Ngarrindjeri weaving, find out why seeds are so great for you, and learn how to grow new types of weaver plants by understanding how they’ve evolved to reproduce.

These workshops showcase Ngarrindjeri culture embedded into Year 10 science lessons. Sessions are suited to both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people and aim to raise awareness of Aboriginal cultures and traditional ecological knowledge.

Fri 19 Aug Event details

Teachers and students session: Sat 20 Aug Event details

Enquiries: Carolyn Schultz, or 0404 909 881

Boomerangs, bush tucker, rockets, and robots – Balga, WA

Traditional Nyoongar tool making, boomerang throwing, bush tucker and bush medicine, basket weaving, finger printing, amazing polymorph, microscopes, rockets and robots, and more at the Wadjak Northside Community Science Exchange.

This workshop will celebrate and showcase Aboriginal sciences through a range of hands-on activities, and link them to contemporary sciences.

The Wadjak Northside Community Group aims to increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members studying and working in science-related areas by creating an inter-generational interface between science, society, and culture.

Sat 20 Aug Event details

Enquiries: Caroline Bishop, or 08 6304 2518

Aboriginal science at the museum – Albury, NSW

I2How does a boomerang come back? What’s the oldest glue in the world? And how to Aboriginal people use their knowledge of the environment to hunt and find food?

Find out these things and more at the Albury Museum and Library. Spend the day exploring the museum’s archaeological dig, learning about ancient stone tools, and finding out what ochre and emu callers are used for.

This inspiring Australia initiative is supported by the Australian Government as part of National Science Week.

Sat 20 Aug Event details

Sun 21 Aug Event details

Enquiries: Larry Brandy, or 0423 365 424

Howling wood to talk to distant neighbours – Wagga Wagga, NSW

The bullroarer, also known as a rhombus or turndun, is a flat piece of wood that produces a howling or whirring sound when whirled through the air.

Join Wiradjuri Elder Michael Lyons to learn more about this clever device that was used to communicate across vast distances by many cultures across the globe.

Thurs 18 Aug: at 4.30pm (event details) and 5.30pm (event details)

Enquiries: Museum of the Riverina, or 02 6926 9655

Walk the walk of the ancient Aboriginal people – Eden, NSW

Head out for a stroll on the Bundian Way, an ancient trail used by Aboriginal people for food gathering, ceremony and trade, to learn about local Aboriginal culture.

Aboriginal people walked vast distances to gather at Bilgalera (Fisheries Beach) for whaling and associated ceremony in spring, and to Targangal for Bogong moths and ceremony in summer. Aboriginal women cultivated native yam plants along the Bundian Way on the Monaro and the starchy tubers are believed to have sustained the Aboriginal populations through the cooler winter months.

The Bundian Way Story Trail extends for approximately 2km from the southern end of Cocora Beach to Quarantine Bay, features spectacular coastal views over Twofold Bay and beyond, including some of the iconic landform features of the Bundian Way itself. It features an amazing diversity in plant life which provided Aboriginal people with a range of important bush foods, medicines, fibre and other resources.

Thurs 18 Aug Event details

Enquiries: Angelika Erpic, or 02 6496 3540

Astronomy at Uluru – Yulara, NT

I3The Uluru Astronomy Weekend, from 26-28 August, will showcase the vast outback night sky, where visibility is at its best.

Join ABC Radio National’s Science Show host Robyn Williams, along with some of the world’s leading experts, for astro-activities under the spectacular outback night sky.

On Saturday morning, Prof Ray Norris will explore the Aboriginal astronomical stories and traditions, and show how they were used for practical purposes such as navigation.

The weekend will also include discussions about the structure of the cosmos, a Stellar Starlit Dinner, an Astro Trivia Lunch, a free viewing of The Martian, plus Astro Photography and Dark Matter activities.

View the full program.

Sat 27 Aug Event details

Enquiries: Travel Representative, or 1300 134 044

About National Science Week

First held in 1997, National Science Week has become one of Australia’s largest festivals. Last year saw a staggering 1.3 million people participate in over 1,500 events and activities.

In 2016, National Science Week events will be held right throughout Australia—from astronomy at Uluru to a science film night in the Antarctic—with everything from science festivals, music and comedy shows, expert panel discussions, interactive hands-on displays, open days and online activities.

The festival is proudly supported by the Australian Government; partners CSIRO, the Australian Science Teachers Association and the ABC; and sponsors Cosmos, Discovery Science, New Scientist and Popular Science.

National Science Week 2016 will run from 13 – 21 August. Event details can be found at

National Science Week general media enquiries:

Tanya Ha – or call 0404 083 863