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A Long Way From No Go/Growing Up

Tjanara Goreng Goreng + Anita Heiss

kuril dhagun, State Library of Queensland


Biography / Culture/Social Equity / Home/Family/Childhood



#About the event


Tjanara Goreng Goreng

Tjanara Goreng Goreng

Tjanara is a Wakka Wakka/Wulli Wulli woman  from Central Queensland and carries the traditions of her clan through medicine practice, being a Songwoman and teaching Aboriginal Law & Spirituality to people throughout the world. Tjanara is a published poet, writer, performer of traditional song and dance and contemporary Murri artist.  For 30 years Tjanara has been working with groups and organisations in Australia and overseas in transformational leadership mentoring, cultural education and Indigenous knowledge systems, cultural systemic change and sacred leadership. Tjanara is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at University of Canberra and a PhD Researcher/lecturer at the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, Australian National University. She has been an academic at five Australian Universities, and a Director at two, including as Foundation Director at Charles Sturt University, NSW and Director of the Centre for Aboriginal Education at the University of Melbourne. Tjanara has extensive public service background in the Federal Government and NSW/QLD State Government as a Director and Senior Policy Advisor in Prime Minister & Cabinet, the Office of Indigenous Policy Co-ordination, Dept. of Foreign Affairs and Trade and a number of statutory authorities. 

Tjanara has travelled and worked extensively overseas, in Italy, Denmark, India, Europe and the USA and Canada, delivering Keynote speeches at International conferences, workshops at International Indigenous “Healing Our Spirits Worldwide” Conference and Indigenous International Education Conferences, the Soul Conference at St Catherine’s University, Minnesota and  at national Indigenous Psychology, Education, Community Development and Higher Education conferences.  She attended the 2013 UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples as the Chair of the Foundation for Indigenous Recovery & Development as a member of the Indigenous Peoples Organisation (IP)) convened by the Social Justice Commissioner Australian Human Rights Commission .

Tjanara is an inspiring co-creator of engagement between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples through using her own stories, art, writings, songs and dances passed to her from generations of knowledge and wisdom in her clans and the shared CIRCLEs she co-creates for holding healing and shared story/history. 

Tjanara wrote The Red Earth as a novel. It became a finalist in the David Unaipon Award, QLD Premiers’ Literary in 2010.  A Long Way from No Go, her memoir, is based on The Red Earth.  Tjanara is a published poet in Penquin’s Inside Black Australia An Anthology of Aboriginal Poetry Edited by Kevin Gilbert.  Tjanara has a PhD ‘Tjukurpa Pulka – The Road to Eldership from the Australian National University gained in 2018.  

Anita Heiss

Anita Heiss

Dr Anita Heiss is the award-winning author of non-fiction, historical fiction, commercial women's fiction, children's novels and poetry. She is a proud member of the Wiradjuri Nation, and a board member of University of Queensland Press and Circa Contemporary Circus. Anita is a Professor of Communications at the University of Queensland and an Ambassador for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation and the GO Foundation. Anita is currently adapting her novel Tiddas (S&S, 2014) for the stage. Her latest novel is Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray.


Stephen Mam

Stephen Mam

Stephen Mam was born and raised in Brisbane, Queensland. He is of Torres Strait Islander descent and is heavily influenced by his multicultural knowledge and experiences.

Throughout the years, Stephen has extended his knowledge of culture and multiculturalism through travel, having travelled extensively through Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Europe, United Arab Emirates and Egypt.

He explored these interests, studying Social Science, majoring in Development and minoring in Environment and Society at the University of Queensland.

He has been employed in a range of industries, including culture, community, health, information communications technology (ICT) and economics, among others.

From 2000 to 2003, Stephen worked as the Coordinator of Wagga Torres Strait Islanders Dance Company Pty. Ltd. and Brisbane Metro South CDEP. He also spent three years as an economic analyst for the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in Canberra.

Stephen is the Executive Director / Founder of SIBW.

Stephen is currently a member of the national Statement from the Heart Working Group, Deputy Chair of Taringa Headspace Consortium, Community Engagement Coordinator & a former Committee Member of Reconciliation Queensland, Member of the Queensland Chief Magistrate’s Cultural Advisory Group, Member of BlakDance Indigenous contemporary dance peak body, as well as member of several other community organisations and projects.


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