27 May 2020 - Namatjira Haven is now accepting referrals for men local to our area.

Out of area referrals are also being accepted but there may be delays in assessing these to determine risks associated with the pandemic. All applicants, local and non-local, will be required to go through detox at Riverlands detox facility in Lismore, NSW prior to admission. Namatjira Haven staff will then transport them from Riverlands to Namatjira Haven. They may also be required to isolate on site for a further period.

Gulgihwen means "change" in the traditional local language.

Our Program is designed for Aboriginal men aged 18 years + and is intended to provide education and support towards addressing the issues of substance misuse and related harms such as criminality, and to improve health and well-being.

With the support of experienced Staff we offer a compassionate and culturally focused professional program of change, centered on self responsibility to achieve your goals in healing.

How long is the Program?

There is no set program length. The average stay is 3 months for Justice referrals, 6-8 weeks for under 21 year olds and there are options for 4-9 month residency for men addressing complex substance misuse and related issues.

How do I Apply?

Firstly, we recommend that you have a look at our brochure which you can download to see if you think our program would suit you.

Then we suggest you read the eligibility guidelines to see if you would be eligible. There are some health, well-being and legal situations which we cannot cater for - if you are unsure after reading the information, please ring and ask for the Intake Officer to discuss your situation before applying. You can read the eligibility guidelines below or download an application pack for more detail.

There are two ways an application can be made:

OnlineIf you are applying yourself click here to go to the online form.

Paper formIf you are referring someone else download and print the application pack, fill out the form and scan in PDF format and email it to apply@namatjirahaven.com or fax it to (02) 6628 0520. Note: if scanning and emailing please scan in PDF Format. Image format files such as jpeg, tiff, bitmap, etc will not be accepted.

If you are struggling with an urgent mental health issue please ring Lifeline on 13 11 14. If you need immediate support with a D&A issue please call the ADIS 24 hour support line on 1800 250 015.

Download the Gulgihwen Program Info Brochure
Download the Gulgihwen Program Application Pack

Note: The brochure and application pack are PDF Documents. You will need a PDF reader such as Adobe Reader installed on your computer or tablet to open and read them.


To be accepted as suitable for admission you must:

  • Be an Aboriginal male (there are very limited beds for non-Aboriginal men);
  • Be aged 18 years or over;
  • Have a current drug and alcohol problem or dependency;
  • Have no requirement to attend court during your residency;
  • Have a desire and willingness to make change.

You will not be accepted if you:

  • Have Supreme Court Bail applications;
  • Have a Sentence Appeal before the courts;
  • Are in custody on remand or on appeal;
  • Have current or recent Sexual offence charges or are on a Register of Sex Offenders (Historical sexual offence charges/convictions more than 10 years ago are assessed on a case by case basis);
  • Have current or recent charges for major crimes of violence (Historical charges/convictions of major violence more than 10 years ago are assessed on a case by case basis);
  • Are subject to an ADVO/AVO where there are strict no contact orders in place or a serious assault has occurred where the protected person is living in the local area (Lismore or Ballina LGAs). ADVOs/AVOs relating to protected persons living outside the local area are assessed on a case by case basis;
  • Are under the care of Public Guardian or a Trustee, or have high needs physically (self-care and mobility) or intellectually;
  • Are on an Opiate Treatment Program e.g prescribed Methadone or Buprenorphine;
  • Are on anti-psychotic medications or opiate medications (medications that are anti-psychotic but only for temporary reasons are assessed on a case by case basis);
  • Do not consent to us collecting, using and sharing your personal information where needed so we can assess your application and evaluate our service

Referrals where applicants have legal matters must be voluntary (including referrals via MERIT, Circle Sentencing, Legal Aid, Aboriginal Legal Services, Private Solicitors and Probation and Parole) and applicants must show a motivation to change.

Applications for persons mandated into treatment will not be accepted unless diverted through the MERIT or TSA Programs. Any person referred who has current matters before the courts, or who is under the conditions of any Court orders, or where requested by the Intake Officer, will be required to provide the current facts, criminal history, bail or bond or AVO/ADVO orders. We do not do assessments for court to be bailed to Rehab unless referred through the MERIT Program.

We are predominately a self and health referral service and have minimal capacity to accept applications for men with current legal issues unless referred through the MERIT Program or Circle Sentencing.

If you are unsure about your eligibility, please call (02) 6628 1098 and ask for the Intake Officer before you submit an application.

When you have submitted an application, it is your responsibility to follow it up within 2 working days. Please call (02) 6628 1098 and ask for the Intake Officer.