Case study

Awabakal approached Headjam to collaborate on rebranding their great organisation with the aim of repositioning themselves within the local community.

We worked with them to define the naming structure of their services and the organisation as a whole, moving them from the current "Awabakal Ltd" to "Awabakal Our People". This powerful statement was a major change and substantially re-positioned the organisation positively in the local community.

For the brand identity we worked directly with the Awabakal team who hand penned the circle that formed the basis of the logo. The design deliberately reflects the iconic Aboriginal flag for recognisability, and the colours chosen are associated with our region.

Read Hide the full case study


Awabakal was founded in 1976 as the local Aboriginal cooperative, championing Aboriginal rights throughout the region and the rest of the country. Awabakal are a group of incredible people who were brought together to fight social injustice and to provide empowerment to the Aboriginal communities of the Hunter, providing health and social services by, and for their community.

With a rich history, Headjam were engaged to collaborate with Awabakal on rebranding the organisation and re-positioning it within the local community to re-establish itself in the following areas:

Primary health care, disability and community services and specialised child care centres.

The name ‘Awabakal’ is the native word for the local area, which means that

there are a number of organisations within Newcastle and Lake Macquarie that use the name. This causes some challenges in the community as Awabakal can sometimes be mixed up with the land council or other local groups. This was a key element that we were conscious of when repositioning the organisation.

Headjam have collaborated with a number of indigenous organisations throughout the Hunter since our founding in 2002. We have produced several social marketing campaigns for local youth populations and championed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights across the country. Because of this knowledge and our experience within health promotion and brand development, we were asked to take on this project for the organisation’s important 40th anniversary.


To reposition the organisation as the leader within the local community, and to once again place it as the beacon of change against social injustice throughout the region.

Target Audience

The Awabakal people (those who live in and around the region), and the broader population.

Target Audience

The Awabakal people (those who live in and around the region), and the broader population.

Consumer Proposition

Our People.

Desired Consumer Response

‘I understand who Awabakal are and what they provide to our local community’.

Creative Solution

The first thing we did when researching the Awabakal brand, was analyse their existing organisational structure, how they defined what they did and where they had positioned themselves to date within the community. The following services were offered to the community:

• Medical Centre

• Dental, Disability & Community Services

• Children’s Services

Our recommendation for how we communicate everything that Awabakal do, was to add the word ‘Our’ in front of each of the service areas to denote ownership and reinforce their cooperative and community grass roots.

This is how we collectively renamed the services:

• Our Health (health services for all stages of your life)

• Our Children (to describe the services available around children’s services, day care etc..)

• Our Elders (to describe the stories and backgrounds of the Elders within the community)

• Our Community (to showcase key community events that are occurring)

• Our Past and Future (to archive and showcase the rich history of Awabakal)

• Our Help (a broad catch all for people to contact the organisation for any form of help they may need)

Once we had defined the naming structure, we applied a change of name to the organisation as a whole, moving them from the current Awabakal Ltd to Awabakal Our People. This powerful statement was a major change and substantially re-positioned the organisation positively in the local community.

When looking at how we could move the current brand identity into a new space and reposition into the local and national market, we looked at contemporary Aboriginal art and designs throughout the fashion and design world within Australia to appeal to the youth. We referenced the local landscape and colours that are associated with our region, and of course referenced the iconic Aboriginal flag throughout the designs, but in a new contemporary way. We chose a colour palette to reflect the youth of today being the leaders of tomorrow; bright reds, pastel oranges and deep rich purples.

For the logo type, we wanted to reference the geographical area being surrounded by water; lake and ocean. To do this we custom manipulated our chosen typeface BW Mitga Bold, to create beautiful rolling movement at the bottom of all the letters. Lowercase replaced the uppercase A at the beginning of Awabakal to be more open and inviting.

All of these recommendations were then applied to all of the brand collateral, signage, vehicle wraps, banners, tents, uniforms and have now lead on to the development of social marketing based campaigns within the community.

The website was created and simply followed suit with its navigation directly reflecting the ‘Our’ categories we created. A simple site design was created for function and ease of submitting questions to Awabakal. The home page talks to the visitor with ‘Welcome! How can we help?’. A series of common questions appear below such as ‘Do you have childcare?’. The users are invited to click and ask their own questions, to which the site’s intuitive search engine then finds the most appropriate information for the visitor.


The response from the community has been extremely positive. Awabakal as an organisation has grown substantially through its funding for various social marketing campaigns in Health and Education, and Headjam are proud to say we are currently partnering with Awabakal to develop an “I’m quitting” smoking campaign for the community as a whole.

In its first 12 months, the website received over 50,000 unique visitors and each day, the organisation receives around two enquiry forms from members of their community looking for help, or to be pointed in the right direction.

In 2017 we celebrated Awabakal’s 40th year in style at a dinner in Newcastle. An amazing retrospective of all the achievements were showcased and key community leaders, such as Labour’s Sharon Claydon and Tim Crackenthorp were present on the night to share with the celebrations of this hugely important organisation. Here’s to many more decades to come.

Hide the full case study
Headjam awabakal 1
Headjam awabakal 2
Headjam awabakal 4
Awabakal image 03
Awabakal image 04
Awabakal image 05
Awabakal image 06
Awabakal image 07