Walawaani is a Dhurga word meaning “safe journey”. It’s also the name of Mission Australia’s new youth residential rehabilitation facility in Batemans Bay on the South Coast of NSW.
On Friday February 24, 2023, Foundation staff, donors, and the Martin family attended Mission Australia’s official opening of Walawaani. Based on the Triple Care Farm model, the program aims to help young people, aged 16 to 24, manage their recovery from alcohol and drug addiction.
The new facility is based on 17 acres of bushland and is a space where youth in crisis can be nurtured through rehabilitation and given the best chance to break the cycle of addiction. Over the course of 12 weeks, young people receive medical care and psychosocial skills, counselling and case management as well as living skills and vocation and educational training.
The opening ceremony featured a powerful Welcome to Country from Roderick Slockee of Walbunja and Minjungbal heritage, a local man who shared the story of his people, and of the surrounding Country and Land that we were gathered on to celebrate. He also shared how important it is having services like this available to young people in the Batemans Bay region, so that they can receive help closer to home.
Walaawani was then officially opened by the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd) Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia and Her Excellency Mrs Hurley. The event was hosted by Mission Australia CEO Sharon Callister, Chairman Ian Hammond and Executive of Community Services Ben Carblis. As part of the proceedings an official plaque was unveiled to commemorate the opening of the new facility.
During the ceremony, Mission Australia CEO Sharon Callister said,
“When a young person experiencing illicit drug or alcohol abuse is motivated to seek change, appropriate rehabilitation facilities like Walawaani must be available. There is a growing demand for such services, and we hope these service models can be expanded to other locations, including in rural, remote, and regional areas. This wonderful new facility will provide the young people with the support they need, when and where they need it.”
Walawaani welcomed its first residents in early February and there were three young people onsite, starting their rehabilitation journey at the time of the opening. With a 10-bed capacity, more young people will be making their way to the new facility in the coming days.
Sir David Martin Foundation supports the Triple Care Farm Walawaani campus by funding a full-time qualified Aftercare worker, as part of our national Youth Network. This means that each person who completes the program has a dedicated youth worker supporting their reconnection with family or community networks, healthcare, education, and importantly, employment opportunities, as they transition back into the community.
This crucial period of support underpins a brighter future for each young person, free from the pitfalls of addiction and offering safety, hope and opportunity.