Karalundi Aboriginal Education Community

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Karalundi Aboriginal Education Community
Meekatharra, Western Australia, Australia
Coordinates 26°07′38″S 118°40′45″E / 26.12722°S 118.67917°E / -26.12722; 118.67917Coordinates: 26°07′38″S 118°40′45″E / 26.12722°S 118.67917°E / -26.12722; 118.67917
Type Co-educational, Boarding school
Motto Walking and Learning Together
Denomination Seventh-day Adventist
Established 1954
Chairperson Trevor Wingo
Principal Darrell Bottin
Employees 31
Key people Raymond Gwatidzo
Enrolment 72
Colour(s) Maroon and Gold
Slogan Educate, Equip and Inspire

Karalundi Aboriginal Education Community (Inc.) is a K-12 co-educational boarding school for Aboriginal students situated 55 km north of Meekatharra, Western Australia, on the Great Northern Highway.


Karalundi was established in 1954 as an Aboriginal boarding school run by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Western Australia.[1] It was begun after its founder Pastor Dudley Vaughan was challenged to begin such a work by Avy Curley OAM.[2] The property was 55 kilometres north of Meekatharra. The school served the Murchison, Upper Gascoyne, Pilbara and Western Desert regions. Classes began in September 1954, with a focus on literacy, numeracy and practical skills.[2]

During its early years of operation, Karalundi was rated by the Western Australian Department of Education as a "most efficient establishment" and commended for the “relatively high standard of attainment” by students. Karalundi was closed in September 1974 in a government move to phase out church involvement in indigenous affairs. The property was sold into private hands and operated as a farm-stay enterprise for 12 years.[2]

In the early 1980s, many past students came to recognise that under the state system, their children’s education was inferior to their own. These parents lobbied the state government for Karalundi to reopen as an independent parent-controlled Christian Aboriginal boarding school, where children would be educated away from the problems associated with alcohol abuse and gain an education focusing on practical life skills, as well as literacy and numeracy. The advocacy group was supported by the Seventh-day Adventist Church and, in August 1986, Karalundi was reopened as such.[2]

The school has been the location of published studies of a peer support program[3] and a health promotion program in 1998.[4]

Karalundi has recently extended its secondary program to include Years 11 and 12 and is recognised as one of the leading schools in Aboriginal education in Western Australia.[2][5][6]

Student life[edit]

All students at the school are boarders. Students are housed in dormitories. Students are resident only during the school term and return to their communities for holiday periods.[7]

Due to the boarding nature of Karalundi, all staff are encouraged to participate in the overall program of the school, both within and outside school hours. This entails being involved with the students in the social and spiritual life of Karalundi.


Karalundi is an independent parent controlled school, incorporated in 1986. An Executive Committee of 15 members (elected at an Annual General Meeting) is responsible for the governance and long term planning of Karalundi. Day-to-day management is delegated to the Chief Executive Officer, Principal and Finance Controller who make up the Administrative Committee and are responsible for hiring of staff and faculty and implementing the strategic plan. The parents who operate the school are largely former Karalundi students. They are Seventh-day Adventists, and require that Karalundi be operated with the ethos of the Seventh-day Adventist faith. All staff are required to exhibit exemplary Christian standards before the students, and uphold the Christian ethos.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Site Bought For Mission To Natives.". The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879-1954) (Perth, WA: National Library of Australia). 20 March 1954. p. 11. Retrieved 8 June 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e An Extraordinary Woman. Signs of the Times. Retrieved 8 June 2011
  3. ^ Gray, Dennis & Walker, Jill & Sputore, Brooke & National Centre for Research into the Prevention of Drug Abuse (Australia) & Curtin University of Technology et al. (1997), Karalundi peer support and skills training program evaluation, Curtin University of Technology, Bentley, W.A
  4. ^ Evaluation of an Aboriginal health promotion program: a case study from Karalundi, (April 1998), Health Promotion Journal of Australia: Official Journal of Australian Association of Health Promotion Professionals, v.8, no.1, p.24-8 (ISSN: 1036-1073)
  5. ^ Duckham, I.G., (2006), "We've got a Whole New Life Ahead of Us Now": The first twenty years of Karalundi Aboriginal Education Centre 1986-2006 Karalundi Aboriginal Education Centre, Meekatharra, Western Australia ISBN 0-9803140-0-3
  6. ^ Stephen Piez, (2006), What are You Doing for Us?: The Untold Story of Karalundi 1954-2004, Karalundi Aboriginal Education Centre ISBN 978-0-646-46846-4
  7. ^ a b Karalundi Aboriginal Education Centre Profile. Aboriginal Independent Community School. Retrieved 2009-07-24

External links[edit]