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Background

Justin Crawley and his family have had an association with the Wadeye Community since 2003 when he first went to work at OLSH Thamurrur Catholic School as a PE Teacher. The impetus of the move was to allow their young family to experience indigenous culture and learn more about the first inhabitants of our nation.

They spent 18 months in the Community before returning to Victoria. However, that short period of time had a lasting affect on the Crawley family.  After spending holidays in Community and a few short working stints at the school, they returned to Wadeye full-time again in 2007. This time, Justin returned as Head of Campus for the new secondary school.

Witnessing the changing nature of the Community over a number of years and having the opportunity to reflect on what they had been taught changed the focus of the Crawley family from basic absorption to reaction and action. After spending a number of years with the people of the Wadeye Community, Justin and his family believed they finally had enough information to be able to help out where they could.

Discussions with local elders and community leaders led to the founding of the Thathangathay Foundation. Based on a theory of the School Cultural Leader, Tobias Nganbe, that the decline of the Aboriginal social structure is largely affected by the disempowerment and displacement of men since the introduction of the welfare system, Thathangathay Foundation's has structured its organisation to educate and empower young men to become role models for their Community.

A Committee of Management was set up to represent all of the tribal groups within the Wadeye Community, with most of the members in the 20 to 40 age group as chosen by the elders.

In July 2007 the first four participants moved to Bright in North East Victoria with the Crawley family. The young men became involved with the Bright Football Club and engaged in various work experience opportunities. Essendon Football Club also supported the boys with various opportunities.

Since then the program has expanded to up to eight young men ranging from 16 to 21 years old. One of the participants is in his second year of schooling at Bright P-12 College and another is to commence in Semester 2 2010.