The Program

What is the Ironbark Program?

The Ironbark Program includes exercise and education components, based on effective fall prevention programs, and can be run in a flexible way depending on the needs of the community. The program works well when run in 6 month blocks, but can also run as an ongoing program.

As a guideline, sessions may include:

  • 30 – 45 minutes of strengthening and balance exercises.
  • 30 – 45 minutes of a yarning circle incorporating topics related to falls and fall prevention, healthy lifestyle, and social and emotional wellbeing.

  • Home exercises.

  • Morning tea or lunch.


How can my community or organisation get involved?

The Ironbark Program can easily be run by Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHS) and other Aboriginal organisations, Local Health Districts (LHDs), and others.

To deliver The Ironbark Program, organisations could explore funding from health organisations such as NSW Health, Population Health Units in your local Health District, Primary Health Networks, or other avenues e.g. Community Grants Hub, and Grants Assist.

For further information on delivering the Ironbark Program:


What people say about Ironbark

“There was a young man who had a lot of health issues and problems with balance. After participating in the project, towards the end of the program his strength and balance got so good he didn’t need his walking stick.”

- Liz Bourke, Previous Ironbark site manager

I enjoyed it, you learn so much. You go out now and stand tall, you feel confident and you don’t feel like a little old lady. It’s not just good physically, it is good mentally. I go around to others that live in my retirement village and move hazards. I never sit down at home and I like doing my exercises.

Well, the program was actually more then what I thought it would be. It was very good. The information was great combined with the Yarning Circle. The people who come feel like a family now, it has helped with loneliness and death within our group. Each of us had each other it has enhanced our lives. We hope to keep coming so we can have our yarning and exercises.

There are not many programs that are culturally appropriate for us, you know, like especially in this area. This is the only program around here for us. Yeah, it is very good and if we didn’t have it we would not have anything.

The program created a sense of purpose and belonging for the Elders plus staff. The staff were a great reason of the program success as each of them brought a great deal of individual knowledge, strengths, dedication, innovation, and passion; while also collaboratively working as a team to help the Elders physically, emotionally, and socially. Tears flowed at the end of program gathering event, because of how vital the program became in the lives of many of local Elders

The Ironbark Program was so beneficial for our Elders across the Port Macquarie region. The program provided an opportunity to exercise though also connect with one another for a yarn and a laugh

It’s helped me socialise, it’s helped me be around other people. Since I retired, I have gone into my own shell. By doing this it’s made me get out more. We need these sort of things keep us going. We have some Koori people in town and I spoke to them yesterday about doing this.

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