To document, analyse and evaluate the Rites of Passage Ball as a means of understanding urban Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community practices of space-making, directed towards locating, affirming and celebrating young men and woman. 


  • Describe an existing urban Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ritual that celebrates the ‘coming of age’ of young Indigenous men and women (Rites of Passage Ball). 
  • Investigate the impact of ritual upon young Indigenous men’s social and emotional wellbeing and their role(s) within their family and community. 
  • Examine the expectations of urban Indigenous young men, exploring the varying ways in which they enact and challenge racialised, cultural and gender expectations. 

Project team  

Project Leader: Dr Chelsea Bond, Senior Lecturer, University of Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Unit,   

Project partner: Inala Wangarra   

Administering organisation: The University of Queensland   

Project timeline: 1 March 2018—31 March 2019 . 


This participatory action research project primarily used film, in-depth interviews and photovoice to gather qualitative data from young men participating in the 2018 Rite of Passage program, their partners, families, and stakeholders.

The research project utilised a Participatory Action Research framework and the Most Significant Change technique for participants to explore the significance the program had upon their lives. 

Project findings 

The project findings indicate that Rites of Passage and Rituals like the Inala Wangarra should be celebrated as it shows the value and legitimacy of young Indigenous men in an urban Indigenous community; a community constructed as economically poor, yet culturally rich.  


  • The Community Practitioner’s Guide developed as a part of the project will be used on the Queensland Council of Social Services’ Our Community Door to access key information to assist in all aspects of the operation of their service.  


  • The reports and Guide developed from this research shows the significance and role of the Ritual plays in the life of the participants.  


  • There is an opportunity for community members to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander achievement while at the same time producing knowledge and redirecting the dominant discourse about Indigenous health leadership.  


  • The partner organisation Inala Wangarra will be able to develop their training and engagement practices with external organisations and agencies through the Community Practitioner’s Guide which can be used as a teaching tool for strengths based practice.  

  • This research activity provided an opportunity for research leads to demonstrate and further develop their research leadership skills.  

  • The research also provided Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community organisation staff proximity and greater insight into the research process and the range of forms that academic work can take.  

Rites of Passage – documentary teaser
Original Inala Boys Vodcast
Strengths based video
The Ball video

Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the traditional owners of the land across Australia and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices and names of deceased persons.