Thursday 13, July / 10:00 am
Outdoors Victoria is thrilled to announce that Leila Gurruwiwi, a Yolngu woman of the Galpu Clan from Northeast Arnhem land, and a cultural awareness advocate will lead the keynote session on Thursday at our #OutdoorsVictoriaConference2023
Leila is the Education Officer for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education at Catholic Education Melbourne, where she helps Indigenous student excel in school and supports their families.
Leila has combined a successful media career, including 11 years as a reporter and newsreader on The Marngrook Footy Show, with community pursuits in her former roles mentoring young girls in the Wirrpanda Foundation’s Deadly Sista Girlz program and being an Indigenous Support Worker at the Pavillion School, a school for young people who have been disengaged or excluded from mainstream education.
Leila’s knowledge of the education space, her love for Country and her passion for sharing Indigenous knowledge and culture will definitely inspire you to strengthen cultural connections through your job and daily practices.
Dave Jacka OAM
Friday 14, July / 10:25 – 11:15 am
When Dave Jacka was nineteen, he broke his neck in a motorbike accident, leaving him with quadriplegia, and just 6% physical function. For the rest of his life, Dave would be in a wheelchair—paralysed from his armpits down, with limited arm function, no use of his fingers and unable to regulate his body temperature. For the former surfer, snow-skier and carpenter, this was utterly devastating.
During Dave’s remarkable journey, he relearnt how to feed himself, drive a car and retrain in engineering. He has worked as a project manager, represented Australia in wheelchair rugby at the 1996 Paralympics, and eventually fulfilled his boyhood dream of learning to fly.
Dave achieves each milestone by applying his remarkable mindset and philosophy. Instead of viewing obstacles as impenetrable barriers, Dave frames them as opportunities—opportunities to think laterally, devise solutions, and overcome frustration—by doing it differently.
For example, Dave adapted a recreational aircraft to suit his ability, which included an innovative way to control the engine speed – by sipping and puffing on a tube. In 2013, Dave became the first person with quadriplegia to fly solo around Australia in his adapted aircraft, a distance of almost 18,000 kms, equivalent to flying from Melbourne to London.
In 2014, Dave was a Victorian finalist for the Australian of the Year and was awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for his contribution to people with a disability through sport.
In 2016, Dave took on his toughest physical and mental challenge. In a sea kayak, he adapted to suit his ability and with his hands taped to the paddle, he paddled the 2226 km length of the Murray River over 89 gruelling days—thereby achieving another world first.
Dave published his first book in 2019, ‘Six Percent’, that retraces his story from an ICU ward to learning to fly. His second book, ‘On a Wing and a Chair’, the story of his epic solo flight around Australia, was published in 2022.
Dave is a Goal Coach: helping people to achieve their important goals, married, has a dog and a cat and always has his eye on his next major challenge.
Friday 14, July / 9:30 – 10:15 am
We are honored to present Brian, a leading Indigenous artist and academic, as our keynote speaker for Thursday.
Born in Redfern Sydney, Brian is Bundjalung, Kamilaroi and MuruWarri, and has been a practising artist for thirty years, exhibiting both nationally and internationally, specifically in the media of painting and drawing. His research and practice focus on refiguring creative practice and culture from an Indigenous ideological perspective based on a reciprocal relationship to “Country”.
Currently, Brian is a Professor and Director of the Wominjeka Djeembana Research Lab at Monash University. Brian was also the inaugural Associate Dean Indigenous at Monash University Art, Design and Architecture and is also an Honorary Professor of Eminence at Centurion University of Technology and Management in Odisha, India.