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“Boys to Men: Learning to Live Their Dream”

Tirkandi Inaburra Cultural and Development Centre is an Aboriginal community run centre offering Aboriginal boys aged 12-15 a culturally-based residential program aimed at reducing future contact with the criminal justice system by strengthening the boys’ cultural identity, self-esteem and resilience.

The centre houses 14 boys at a time and the boys stay at the Centre on a voluntary basis for a single school term. Whilst at the Centre the boys engage in educational, sport, recreational, life, living skills and cultural activities which have all been designed to incrementally develop each participant’s skills and abilities. Schooling is provided on site by the NSW Department of Education. The Centre is located on a 780 hectares rural property between the townships of Coleambally and Darlington Point in the Riverina district of south-west NSW.

The name “Tirkandi Inaburra” means “to learn to dream” in the Wiradjuri language. Tirkandi Inaburra delivers a culturally based residential program aimed at strengthening cultural identity and resilience and empowering its young participants to reach their full potential in life.

Boys who live in communities located between the Lachlan and the Murray and between Balranald and the western side of the Blue Mountains are eligible to apply to come to the Centre.

The NSW government provides funding for the centre.









In 1990, recognising that Aboriginal young people made up over 40% of the juveniles in detention in NSW, Aboriginal people from the Riverina region identified the need for a culturally based residential centre for Aboriginal boys to provide an “alternative to incarceration” for their youth.

Over the following fifteen years members of the Aboriginal community worked towards the realisation of their dream.

They established the Tirkandi Inaburra organisation, attracted funding for the development of a detailed project proposal and in 2000 secured a 780 hectare property near Coleambally. In March 2003 the NSW government announced that they would fund the Tirkandi Inaburra Centre as part of their commitment to the establishment of community-controlled regionally-based residential “outstations” for Aboriginal young people at risk of contact with the criminal justice system.

Following further research, planning and discussions with Aboriginal communities and other partners, the construction of the $4.6 million Tirkandi Inaburra Cultural and Development Centre began in January 2005. It was completed in late 2005 and opened on the 24 November 2005 by the NSW Attorney General, Bob Debus. The first 16 boys arrived at the Centre in January 2006.

Since 2006, Tirkandi Inaburra has had approximately 60 boys enter the program each year.

Early indicators suggest 72% of participants who have entered Tirkandi Inaburra have had no contact with the Department of Juvenile Justice.

If any community members who reside within the catchment are interested in becoming a member of Tirkandi Inaburra, please see ‘How to Apply’.