First Nations Students


Ormond College acknowledges the Traditional Owners of this land, the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin Nation. The Wurundjeri People are the people of the wurun, the river white gum, who have been custodians of this land for thousands of years. We pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders – past, present, and emerging.

A welcoming and supportive community

We welcome Indigenous students studying at the University of Melbourne and the Victorian College of the Arts. Our College is a diverse, vibrant community where you will find life-long friendships, determine your success and pursue your passion.

Ormond is home to more than 500 undergraduate and graduate students, with options to live on campus as residents or live off campus as non-residents while enjoying all College programs and activities.

First Nations students are supported by a dedicated team of professional staff and play a leadership role in fostering a welcoming and inclusive culture through the Students’ Club Indigenous Subcommittee.

We strongly encourage and welcome applications from Indigenous students planning to study any course, at any level, in any faculty.

Talk to us

There are lots of ways to find out if Ormond is the College for you!

Indigenous life at Ormond

First Nations Support Staff

The College employs the Freemantle Fellow, Amba-Rose Atkinson, who resides at the College and provides support and advice to First Nations students. Also within the Vice Master’s portfolio is Caleb Adams who provides strategic advice on projects and mentoring for First Nations students. In addition to our two First Nations staff, we are fortunate to be supported by two senior residential fellows who both provide guidance and support to the College on First Nations matters.


First Nations celebrations and events

There are a wide range of cultural events throughout the year from musical festivals, visiting community leaders and guest speakers, NAIDOC and Reconciliation Week celebrations, publications and writing prizes, and other events and activities to promote reconciliation.

Recent speakers have included activist Noel Pearson, Victorian LGBTIQ+ Commissioner and Ormond alumnus Todd Fernando, educator, active mentor and alumna Alana Ryan, and Tent Embassy co-founder Uncle Ghillar Michael Anderson.


Indigenous Subcommittee

The Indigenous Subcommittee is a key portfolio of the Ormond College Students’ Club and is led by an Indigenous Vice Head and Non-Indigenous Vice Head, which is a new allyship role. The Indigenous Sub-Committee plays an important role in furthering our reconciliation commitments through events designed to generate conversation and move towards greater cultural competency at the College.

Recent initiatives of the Indigenous Sub-Committee include the First Nations Voices Project, Blak x Baking, and You Can’t Ask That Forum.


Our commitment to reconciliation

In 2013, we launched our first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) to the community. The current Reconciliation Action Plan (Innovate 2018-2020) includes strategies to ensure that the Ormond College Indigenous Program (OCIP) is sustainable and consistent with the values and educational goals of Ormond College. The RAP is available to download below.

Moving in to Ormond

Undergraduate First Nations students move in to College prior to the start of Semester to attend the University of Melbourne’s Dhumbali Camp organised by Murrup Barak, as well as Ormond’s own Orientation Week (O Week). Both events take place prior to the official start of the academic year. They are a vital part of your introduction to College and university life and an opportunity to become familiar with Ormond and Melbourne.

OWeek is generally around the third week of February for Semester 1 intake or 3rd week of July for Semester 2 intake, and Dhumbali Camp is usually a week prior to these dates.

Financial Assistance

Full scholarships are available for First Nations students

Ormond College and the University of Melbourne both have generous scholarship programs available to First Nations students. Student’s attending the College may be eligible for ABSTUDY Residential Cost Option which would cover full fees to the College. The College offers scholarships over and above this to cover additional costs while at university. 

For further information, contact our Admissions Team on or 61 3 9344 1107.


ABSTUDY Residential Costs Option

Indigenous students living at Ormond College may be eligible for ABSTUDY Residential Costs Option (RCO), managed by Centrelink.

ABSTUDY RCO will cover all accommodation and meal costs in full for eligible Indigenous students, as well as provide a reduced fortnightly payment – whether undergraduate or graduate.

There are College related expenses that are not covered by ABSTUDY (for example, social events organised by the Ormond College Students Club) and students can apply for an additional scholarship from the College to cover general living expenses.

ABSTUDY RCO is an award under the ABSTUDY scheme which requires a separate application form than the one completed for ABSTUDY Living Allowance. To apply for ABSTUDY RCO you will need a Tax File Number, Centrelink Number and Proof of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent, amongst other documents. We recommend compiling these documents and beginning your ABSTUDY RCO claim well before 30 November 2023 (see next subheading for more information on this deadline). Contact Centrelink at 1800 132 317 to start this process.


University of Melbourne’s Indigenous Accommodation Grant

The University of Melbourne can assist Indigenous students who are not eligible for ABSTUDY RCO to pay for their College fees. Indigenous students are welcome to submit an Indigenous Accommodation Grant – there are 10 grants available for 2024. This scholarship provides a contribution of $10,000 if you live at Ormond College for a full year. The scholarship will be paid directly to Ormond College, but other accommodation providers and colleges are also part of this arrangement.

In order to apply for the Indigenous Accommodation Grant, you will need proof that you have recently applied for ABSTUDY RCO and that your application was deemed unsuccessful by Centrelink. We encourage you to apply for ABSTUDY RCO well before the Indigenous Accommodation Grant deadline (dates to be advised). You will be able to submit proof after the Grant deadline in case there are delays with Centrelink, but you must ensure you submit your application form by that date as no extensions will be granted by the University.


Ormond College Financial Assistance

Furthermore, Indigenous students who are not eligible for ABSTUDY RCO may be eligible to receive Financial Assistance support from Ormond College by taking into account the student’s possible contribution towards accommodation fees. Applicants will be assessed on financial need by filling out the relevant Financial Assistance Application Form on the links below:

Students who are eligible for the ABSTUDY RCO can apply for a scholarship from Ormond to cover general living expenses while at College.



Reconciliation Action Plan 2018 - 2020


Reconciliation Action Plan 2016 - 2018

Need help?

For further information, contact our Admissions Team on or 61 3 9344 1107.

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