ARNA Conference 2014


The 2014 Conference in Darwin has come to a close with an unexpected large number of delegates attending.  Of those who were present a high percentage were new attendees;  very promising for ARNA and its future.  In all, this year’s conference was insightful and educational from a rehabilitation perspective as well as enlightening with respect to the culture of the Northern Territory.

On arriving the weather was warm and sunny; the people friendly and inviting; the location just right for the relaxed atmosphere Darwin is renowned for.  The conference was held at the DoubleTree by Hilton right on the banks of the harbour amidst tropical palms – a perfect setting for the ARNA 24th Annual Conference on the Culture of Rehabilitation.

To start the conference off we held a Pre-registration / Welcome evening on the Wednesday for people to meet, network and settle in.  More than half attended and were given the opportunity to meet the Keynote Speaker – Melissa Noonan from Limbs 4 Life.  The next morning the proceedings commenced with a Welcome to Country by Bilawara Lee from the Larrikia Nation followed by a Welcome from our President Terry Wells.. 

The first day was destined to engage with such speakers as Dr Robyn Aitken (A/Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer NT), Melissa Noonan (Limbs 4 Life), Dr Lucy Madebwe (Advance Trainee Registrar in Rehabilitation Medicine) and the Indigenous Dancers One Mob Different Country – a Darwin Correctional Centre program allowing low-security Indigenous prisoners to perform traditional Aboriginal dances.  Interspersed within the program were a number of Abstract Presentations relating to various forms of Rehabilitation. 

These proceedings were followed by necessary ARNA business – the annual AGM whereby the new Committee was elected and the New Constitution adopted.  Now representing ARNA on the National Committee are:

President                      Terry Wells
Vice President              Sara Alger
Treasurer                      Lyn McBain
Vice Treasurer              David Parsons
Secretary                      Beverley Liebelt
Committee Member      Trisha Dodds
Committee Member      Gillian Garrett
Committee Member      Sandra Lever
Committee Member      Kay Stevens
Committee Member      Deidre Widdall

This was followed by an entertaining evening out for dinner at the Hanuman Restaurant – the flagship of the Hanuman Family restaurants offering a blend of Thai, Indian, Nonya styles of menu.

The final day of the conference we were offered more insight into the life of an amputee by Melissa Noonan from Limbs 4 Life as well as a wider understanding of the Machado Joseph Disease (MJD) relevant to the Indigenous population by Mark Kilpatrick from the MJD Foundation.  We were also fortunate to be entertained by the Grey Panthers – a unique NT dance troupe with participants predominantly over the age of 60.  Again the program was lucky to have a wide range of Abstract Presentations on Rehabilitation.

All in all, the final outcome achieved the Conference Aim:

Through the sharing of information, research, experience and the exchanging of ideas, the aim of this conference is to contribute to the growth of Rehabilitation Nursing in the Australasian region.  We hope that professional relationships are formed across all fields and sectors of Rehabilitation Nursing and that new knowledge will continue to develop the practice of Rehabilitation Nursing.

We are pleased to announce the ARNA 25th Annual Conference will be held in BRISBANE.  Please keep an eye on this website for further information on the exact location and when submissions for Abstracts and Registrations will be open.

We look forward to seeing all who attended this year’s conference and the rest of the ARNA members in Brisbane in 2015.


Conference Speakers

Mark Kilpatrick
MJD Foundation
(Machado Joseph Disease)
Phone: 1300 584 122 
Melissa Noonan
Limbs 4 Life
Phone: 1300 78 2231 
Lucy Madebwe
Details to come 

Photo Gallery

Attention all who attended this year’s conference in Darwin. 

If you have any photos you wish to have uploaded on the ARNA website in a photo gallery please send them to  We look forward to seeing all your perspectives of the event. 
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