SE Queensland’s only First Nations educational cultural immersion program Ngutana-Lui - the pride of Brisbane Catholic Education


​​​​Ngutana-Lui cultural immersion program.

Ngutana-Lui means “to teach” and that’s exactly what the Brisbane Catholic Education (BCE) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Centre is doing this National Reconciliation Week (27 May to 3 June), with the centre educating over 3000 adults and students in the month of May about the world’s oldest living culture.  

Since the cultural studies centre was first established in 1989, Ngutana-Lui has seen almost 250,000+ Catholic, State and Independent school students learn about First Nations culture, with the aim to promote reconciliation through the development of cultural understanding and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.    

BCE’s Senior Manager of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Dr Mayrah Dreise said Ngutana-Lui is unique in that it is the only cultural immersion program offered in South East Queensland that has a distinct education focus – and even extends to include kindergarten students.  

“The philosophy of Ngutana-Lui is based on a holistic view of creation and spirituality,” Dr Dreise said. 

“This is the heart of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and is central to the programs provided.  

“It is so important for our students that First Nations culture in Australia is both passed down to Indigenous and non-Indigenous children, as it builds respect and understanding, learning about the history and cultures of this nation. 

“Tailored to each age group, the program offers age appropriate First Nations education, from comprehensive presentations for TAFE and University students, storytelling, dance, art, artifacts, and didgeridoo performances for kindergarten students to enjoy.  

“And it just doesn’t teach First Nations cultures – but extends into creating an understanding of cultural practices, and awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander practices, history, and social justice issues.”   


Dr Dreise added Ngutana-Lui has for its 33-year history been more than just a place for students and staff to grow their understanding of First Nations histories and culture.  

“Ngutana-Lui’s is also a valued community hub for the Inala area, bringing people together which is incredibly important, as well as bringing together our BCE First Nations employees to work on various community projects and cultural initiatives,” Dr Dreise said. 

“We’re proud of the opportunities we offer our Catholic students, our staff, as well as the wider community to help increase awareness, knowledge, understanding and respect for cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.   

“At BCE we recognise the importance of students learning about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, histories, and Peoples as it benefits all our students, and helps create culturally safe schools that foster and encourage reconciliation.”  

Fast facts:

- Ngutana-Lui was a finalist in the Education Category at the 2020 Queensland Reconciliation Awards 

- In 2019 16,000 BCE students and more than 15,000 non-Catholic adults and students went through the Ngutana-Lui cultural immersion program. 


The Ngutana-Lui cultural immersion program is available to the wider community to book, to enquire click here. 

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