Indigenous Australians and Health eBook

The Wombat in the Room

Ronald Hampton, Maree Toombs

Indigenous Australians and Health eBook

The Wombat in the Room

Ronald Hampton, Maree Toombs






13 Sep 2013




$73.95 AUD

$84.99 NZD

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Can you see the wombat in the room?

Indigenous Australians and Health assists the reader, through simple and practical strategies, to appreciate and understand the importance of ‘Getting it right’, when working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in urban and remote areas.

The text's key themes outline the fundamental and underlying components that continue to influence good health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It further seeks to provide an understanding of Indigenous Australian perspectives of their own health, and examines the historical connections between health and the impacts of colonisation, both past and present in Australia.

By promoting awareness of culturally-based issues, which can impact on access and response to clinical health services, this book works to close the gap between the wider Australian community and Indigenous Australians in health outcomes and life expectancy.


  • Fact boxes that will help you spot the wombat and dispel any preconceived notions.
  • Rich with case examples, placement experiences and personal stories that show real experiences from the field.
  • Gives insights into how health practitioners can influence healthier outcomes.
  • Lots of questions to encourage students to reflect on their learning.


Foreword: Sally Goold


Chapter 1: Culture, identity and Indigenous Australian peoples
Ron Hampton, Maree Toombs
Culture, identity and indigenous people
Contemporary issues for indigenous people
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and the Australian identity
Perceptions of Indigenous Australians identity
Aboriginal Australian cultures and history
Indigenous communities today

Chapter 2: Racism, colonisation/colonialism and impacts on Indigenous people
Ron Hampton, Maree Toombs
Colonialism and colonisation
The Australian experience

Chapter 3: Contemporary Indigenous Australians
Ron Hampton
Contemporary Indigenous Australia
Aboriginal political activism
Federation and ‘shared’ history
A cry for recognition
Aboriginal Australia in the 1960s and beyond
A period of change Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC)
The Redfern Aboriginal Legal Service (ALS)
Aboriginal Medical Services (AMS)
Tent Embassy
Torres Strait Islanders


Chapter 4: Indigenous Australian concepts of health and well-being
Ron Hampton, Maree Toombs, Michelle Crawford
Social, emotional, spiritual health—a cultural and holistic approach

Chapter 5: Indigenous access to health and health services
Ron Hampton, Maree Toombs, Michelle Crawford
Access to primary health care
Access to health services in rural and remote communities
Indigenous health services and practitioners
Barriers for access to GP services and specialist care
Impacts of social capital and social exclusion

Chapter 6: Ethics and Indigenous health care: cultural competencies, protocols and integrity
Andrew Crowden
Overview of ethical dimensions and health care

Chapter 7: Communication for working with Indigenous Australians
Ron Hampton
Communication–an essential tool
Consultation and communication
Working within Indigenous communities


Chapter 8: Case examples of primary health care
Geoffrey Spurling, Noel Hayman, Michelle Crawford, Alicia Henman
Metropolitan—the Inala experience
Regional–Rural—the AMS experience
Treating members of an Aboriginal family

Chapter 9: Physical health among Indigenous Australians
Ron Hampton
Traditional medicine and healing
Cultural beliefs around health

Chapter 10: Nutrition and diet in Indigenous communities
Alyce Wilson, Judith Myers, Marissa Arnot, Edna Sambo, Megan Ferguson, Julie Brimblecombe, Jennifer Browne, Sharon Thorpe, Steven Stevets
Nutrition and diet
Building on the evidence

Chapter 11: Mental health among Indigenous Australians
Ernest Hunter, Neeraj Gill, Maree Toombs
Mental health practice in Indigenous contexts
Mental disorders in Indigenous populations
Cultural sensitivity and holistic framework in mental health services
Mental illness and the Indigenous voice

Chapter 12: Impacts of substance abuse, violence and self-harm in Indigenous communities
Maree Toombs, Ron Hampton, Raelene Ward
Intergenerational trauma
Substance abuse
Alcohol abuse
Illicit drugs, solvents and prescription medicine
The NT Intervention—a different reality

Chapter 13: Disability in Indigenous Australians
Peter Baker

Chapter 14: Allied health and Indigenous Australians
Ailsa Munns, Janine Wyatt, Darren Garvey, Anne-Marie Thomas, Faye McMillan
Indigenous Allied Health Association
Aboriginal peer-led home visiting—remote communities
Oral health in Indigenous communities
Indigenous Australians and psychology—a personal perspective
Ocular health in Indigenous communities: Fred Hollows through our eyes
Pharmacy and Closing the Gap in Indigenous communities

Chapter 15: Final word
Ron Hampton, Maree Toombs


Ronald Hampton is a Clinical Educator in Indigenous health. He is recognised as an Elder in the Toowoomba community, and is a past chairperson of Carbal Medical Centre, Toowoomba. Ron’s ongoing commitments include positions as a community member of Queensland’s Mental Health Review Tribunal; board member of LifeLine Darling Downs & South West Queensland; cultural educator with Central and Southern Queensland Training Consortium (a GP registrar training organisation) and working with the recently formed Medicare Local for the Darling Downs & South West Queensland region.

Maree Toombs is the Director of Indigenous Health at The University of Queensland. A Kamilaroi/Kooma woman from Goodooga in north western New South Wales, Dr Toombs was the first Aboriginal person to be awarded a PhD from the University of Southern Queensland. Dr Toombs has been awarded an NHMRC Early Career Research Scholarship for 2013 which will advance research in co-morbidity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with mental illness and chronic physical illness. Dr Toombs is also a member of the expert advisory committee for Indigenous Health to the Medical Deans of Australia and New Zealand, and is the current Chairperson of Carbal Aboriginal Medical Centre in Toowoomba

Peter Baker
Neeraj Gill
Noel Hayman
Geoff Spurling
Darren Garvey
Ailsa Munns
Sharon Thorpe
Alyce Wilson
Raelene Ward
Marissa Arnot
Edna Sambo
Jennifer Browne
Michelle Crawford
Andrew Crowden
Julie Brimblecombe
Megan Ferguson
Alicia Henman
Ernest Hunter
Judith Myers
Ann-Marie Thomas

Sample Pages

Click the links below to access the introduction and a sample chapter from Indigenous Australians and Health

IntroductionChapter 1: Culture, identity and Indigenous Australian peoples