Medical students get in touch with their spiritual sides

A select group of medical students will check out Cape Byron this week (picture courtesy of

Some from the University of Wollongong and the University of Western Sydney will get an insight into the spiritual significance of the area when they participate in an Indigenous Cultural Awareness program at Arakwal National Park.

The walk is aimed at helping the 40 senior medical students to better understand the cultural significance, history and heritage of Arakwal Country. The program is conducted by the National Parks & Wildlife Service in association with representatives of the Bundjalung of Byron Bay (Arakwal) people.


It will culminate with a BBQ for the students, arranged by the University Centre for Rural Health (UCRH), which is coordinating the students’ 12-month clinical placements in the Northern Rivers.

UCRH Director of Education Dr Michael Douglas said, “We place high value on the students gaining a perspective of the Indigenous community and cultural dimension of the region. The rich stories shared by the Bundjalung Elders, and the sense of respect this fosters, is invaluable for their professional and personal lives.”

The UCRH is a collaboration between University of Sydney, University of Wollongong, University of Western Sydney, Southern Cross University and Northern NSW Local Health District. A key aim is to improve health workforce in the region by enabling students to experience the excellent clinical skills and diversity of services available here.

UCRH Director Prof. Lesley Barclay said, “These students, and others who will come throughout the year, choose the Northern Rivers because of the reputation of local health facilities and of the many skilled clinicians who generously share their knowledge and time for the benefit of the next generation of doctors.