School of Indigenous Studies

Dennis Bonney


Dennis Bonney

It’s not an easy decision to study Medicine for most people. For me there were a couple of hurdles to make the decision.

Firstly, I came from a school where lots of my mates were not thinking of going to university. I had to choose a path for myself that was different to people that were close to me. Secondly, I really bombed out of year 12. Luckily for me, the School of Indigenous Studies (SIS) at the University of Western Australia sorted me out, they helped to open my eyes about the options I had. So I got serious about studying, completed their Aboriginal Orientation Course, then spent another year studying Science units so I could get into Medicine. That's the great thing about university, you just have to get your foot in the door and then you can do pretty much anything you want to do if you put your mind to it.

Learning about how the human body works, how to keep it healthy and how to fix it when it’s unwell was constantly amazing. However there was lots of hard work and long hours involved, and thankfully the staff and students at the SIS and the Centre for Aboriginal Medical and Dental Health were there whenever I needed them. There were also lots of good times hanging out and getting to know other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from around the country, some I still keep in close contact with almost ten years after finishing my studies.

Since becoming a doctor I’ve worked in Fremantle, Cairns, Alice Springs, Darwin, Newcastle and now Christchurch, New Zealand. I’ve worked in most fields including Emergency, Intensive Care, Psychiatry, Obstetrics, Rural General Practice, Surgery and Adult Medicine. Currently I’m doing specialist training to be a Paediatrician.

I’d recommend any Indigenous person to contact the staff at the SIS and CAMDH if you’re interested to find out what university has to offer you.