The ‘Bush Tukka Café’: Evaluation of an Indigenous education initiative

Research output: Book/ReportOther report


The Bush Tukka Café has been established at a high school in a regional NSW city for approximately seven years (2009-2015), and during that time has become a significant part of the school’s culture and identity, and an important component of its Indigenous education program. The Bush Tukka Café business enterprise has been recognised within the Indigenous community, and within the Department of Education, as a significant project for Indigenous students and it has become an established school program.

The Bush Tukka Café was established by a non-Indigenous staff member within the Hospitality Faculty (the Coordinator), in consultation with Indigenous community members and Indigenous students at the school. From 2009 to 2015 there have been significant developments in the organisation and activities of the Bush Tukka Café, and the Coordinator has been a consistent guide and mentor throughout the transitions and challenges over that time. The Bush Tukka Café is located within a planned commercial space that includes a professional café fit-out – incorporating café furniture, professional design and décor, commercial quality coffee-making machines, professionally designed uniforms, dedicated catering equipment and a computerised cash register system.

The Bush Tukka Café normally operates on only one school afternoon a week, on a sports day, to allow Indigenous and non-Indigenous students to access the hospitality facilities without interfering with other subject studies, and to enable the Coordinator to be present throughout the afternoon also.

The aims of the project
To date, the Bush Tukka Café initiative had not been formally or comprehensively evaluated. The overall aim of this research project was to provide opportunities for the participants and coordinators of the Bush Tukka Café to evaluate the contribution of this business enterprise towards Indigenous students’ educational outcomes and towards the school’s Indigenous education goals. As well, there was a methodological aim concerning the role of participatory action research (London, Zimmerman, & Erbstein, 2003; Walker, Turner, Todd, Clanton, & Murphy, 2009) in the evaluation of Indigenous education initiatives. Specifically, the aims of the project were threefold:
1. To evaluate the ‘Bush Tukka Café’ Indigenous education program;
2. To identify strategies that staff and Indigenous students at the school and in other schools might employ to further enhance the Bush Tukka Café program within the school and the local community; and
3. To evaluate the innovative methodology of youth-led participatory action research in the evaluation of Indigenous education programs.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAlbury, NSW
PublisherCharles Sturt University
Number of pages39
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jan 2016

Grant Number

  • A541-156-30334


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