UTS business graduates open first Indigenous rooftop farm
Yerrabingin, a start-up founded by UTS Bachelor of Business Administration (Indigenous) graduates Clarence Slockee and Christian Hampson, has opened Australia’s first Indigenous Rooftop farm, in conjunction with real estate developer Mirvac.
NSW Governor David Hurley and his wife Linda Hurley attended the event, with ABC TV Gardening Australia host Costa Georgiadis officially opening the site.
Based at South Eveleigh, the farm will grow native food species, utilising innovative engineering, permaculture practice and Indigenous cultural knowledge. The project aims to teach people about Indigenous culture and environmental knowledge through events and workshops, with the produce sold to local chefs.
“We’re hoping this will become the prototype for future projects across the country,” said Slockee, a Mindjingbal-Bundjalug man who has a background in Environmental Education and is a regular presenter on Gardening Australia.
Produce from the farm will include saltbush, native mint, finger limes, warrigal greens, wild rosella and native elderberries. The farm aims to be a complete eco-system, with native bees for pollination and native indigo as a nitrogen-fixer.
“For rooftops, I think often native plants are ideal as they can be very hardy in places that are very sunny and dry,” Slockee said.
“And it’s wonderful that it’s happening in South Eveleigh around this industrial heritage where so many Aboriginal people worked and is so well known as a place where workers found a collective voice.
“It’s good to see the landscape will now also incorporate elements of the oldest living culture and the oldest tried-and-true methodologies around caring for the environment,” he said.
Yerrabingin Co-founder Christian Hampson, a Woiwurrung and Maneroo man with an extensive background in cultural heritage management, said: “We are also designing and constructing a cultural landscape garden as part of the South Eveleigh precinct as well as managing the landscape across the site.”
“Our business model is driven by solution design and we are currently contributing an Indigenous design narrative to a number of projects with major commercial partners,” he said.
Slockee and Hampson were part of the first cohort of UTS Bachelor of Business Administration (Indigenous) students, and developed Yerrabingin, which means “we walk together”, in 2018.
The UTS BBA (Indigenous) program, unique in Australia, is specifically designed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander professionals wishing to gain a business degree qualification.
The executive-style program, which covers core functions of management and business administration, is taught in residential mode, where students attend classes for three six-day blocks per semester at UTS Business School’s campus in the heart of Sydney.
Robynne Quiggin, Professor of Practice and Director of Indigenous Strategy at UTS Business School, congratulated Slockee and Hampson for their “inspiring and ambitious project.”
“The BBA builds on existing knowledge and experience of Indigenous professionals, and provides our students with the confidence to make a big impact, either in their existing workplace or in launching innovative projects like this.”
Commencing in February, each intake into Bachelor of Business Administration (Indigenous) brings together students from as far afield as the Far North Queensland, Perth and the NSW South Coast.
For more information about the program visit