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1. Editorial 2. Our Students  Tamara Kenny  Instigating Change: Social Justice and the Law 3. Our Future  AIEF visit Nura Gili UNSW  Savannah Bolt 4. Our Research  Ngara Birring– Thinking of the Stars Indigenous Astronomy at Nura Gili  Aboriginal Intellectual Achievement: Ethno mathematics and the Anthropocene 5. Our Staff  Kat Henaway 6.

Our Writing:  UNSWriting in partnership with Nura Gili presents Ellen Van Neerven  Exquisite Power of Words

7. Our Communities  Coloured Digger ANZAC March and Commemorative Service  Indigenous Games Trivia Fundraiser 8. About Us  About UNSW  About Nura Gili  About Balnaves Place –Home of Nura Gili


As always, in this month’s issue our stories reflect the abdundance of tenacity, resillience and joy as students and staff pursue their dreams across many different endeavours. Daily I’m inspired by our students and my colleagues who show such care for each other and together foster determination to succeed not only for themselves but for their families and communities. In recent weeks the generosity of a number of distinguished UNSW Indigenous and non-Indigenous Alumni taking the time to personally connect with our Nura Gili students studying here at UNSW have included the Australian Ambassador to Denmark, Norway and Iceland, Damien Miller and NSW Judge Dina Yehia -see page 6 . Another example of the impacts our Alumni and students are making can be seen in this recent article about the incredible contributions of Indigenous Surgeon Dr Kelvin Kong:

Continuing with the crucial importance of health Joe Tighe, PhD Candidate at the Black Dog Institute, UNSW School of Psychiatry recently shared with us the ground breaking and innovative app ibobbly which draws on stories from Aboriginal performers and uses psychological therapies proven to reduce suicidal thoughts, read more here:

I trust you too will enjoy our stories in this month’s issue. Rebecca Harcourt, Editor

Photo: Nura Gili’s Teela Reid and Rebecca Harcourt.


We are very proud to celebrate Tamara Kenny who has been awarded the John Koowarta Scholarship from the Law Council of Australia for 2015. This is an incredible honour and achievement for the deserving young law student and such recognition is a true reflection of her hard work, passion and potential. The Law Council hosted Tamara Kenny at a cocktail function at the Sofitel Sydney, where she spoke beautifully as the keynote speaker. This was followed by a three-course dinner at Uccello which allowed her the opportunity to network with members of the Law Council who had flown in from around the country. We congratulate Tamara for this significant accomplishment and below is an excerpt from her excellent speech given on the night. G Miller Academic Support Officer, Nura Gili Indigenous Programs Unit

Above: Tamara Kenny with G Miller

I am a proud Yuin woman from Bodalla on the far south coast of New South Wales. I am in my third year of a combined Arts and Law degree studying at the University of New South Wales. My passion in the area of law is social justice and human rights. I was inspired to study law to commit myself to helping other people overcome disadvantage, especially those in Indigenous communities. I hope to use the knowledge and skills I learn at university, to give back to my home community, a community I have seen affected by social justice issues. I hope that by completing my studies, I can be a role model to both my family, my community and other young Indigenous and non-Indigenous students who are aspiring to further their education and who may not be from a privileged background. I am the eldest of five children and the first in my family to go to university. I come from a background that has struggled financially and moving from a small town on the far south coast to Sydney to attend university was an enormous challenge. It was exciting and rewarding but also scary and expensive. I soon learnt what a budget was and whilst I have gotten through my studies so far without too many hiccups, there was always an extra pressure hanging over my head. Having this financial assistance will greatly alleviate one of those pressures and I know that it will help me greatly with my studies. With the help of this scholarship I will be able to enjoy the university experience more and be able to focus on my studies which will hopefully lead to better results. I have grown so much since being at university and have had so many great experiences. I am Nura Gili Ambassador and an ASPIRE Ambassador , both of these roles require engaging with Indigenous students and students from low-socio-economic backgrounds with the aim of increasing their educational aspirations and helping them access university education. I have also volunteered for a community development program called Walama Muru where a group of university students spent one week in a rural Indigenous community, last year in Gilgandra seepage 22 to complete projects based on the community’s needs. I have met such inspiring people and learnt so much about the world and myself whist at university. This scholarship will allow me to achieve more personal growth that I will be able to take with me into the professional working world.


Left: Tamara with year 11 and 12 Indigenous high school students AIEF visit in April .

I am extremely appreciative of the Law Council of Australia for selecting me as a recipient of the John Koowarta Reconciliation Law Scholarship. I feel both privileged and honoured to receive your support in my tertiary education endeavours. It is such an amazing sentiment for me personally to know that there are these networks of support out there assisting Indigenous students in their educational pursuits. I am incredibly grateful to the Law Council of Australia for helping other Indigenous students like myself to pursue their goals and aspirations that is helping them into brighter futures. Your investment in the future of Indigenous Australia is a great asset to Indigenous communities, the legal profession and Australia, where I know many Indigenous Law graduates have and will continue to make valuable contributions. After completion of my studies I hope to work in Indigenous communities in helping to address the many social justice issues that plague our communities. I know that I will go home to my own community and help generate change. This scholarship, in supporting me in my journey into the future, will help to make sure this happens. Words cannot express how grateful I am for being a recipient of this scholarship and from the bottom of my heart I would like to thank each and everyone one of you for your support in me and my peer’s educational and professional adventures. Thank you.

Tamara Kenny


Above: Journalist Jeff

Mullen Above: Judge Dina Yehia

Above: Nura Gili UNSW Law student, singer songwriter Bridget Cama

On Thursday 23 April 2015 I was fortunate to attend, alongside special guests, Nura Gili UNSW Law students and staff, a UNSW Law Society Social Justice Evening where UNSW Law Society Vice President (Social Justice) Teela Reid invited Judge Dina Yehia to be the keynote speaker. In her compelling and thought provoking speech Judge Dina Yehia traversed her learnings from her early career as a solicitor with the Western Aboriginal Legal Services to her now, twenty four years of representing Aboriginal Clients as a solicitor and eleven months as a District Court Judge. Recounting her early days as a recent graduate Judge Dina Yehia shared: “in December 1989 I was interviewed by nineteen Aboriginal Elders who represented the various towns serviced by the Western Aboriginal Legal Service. It was an intimidating process, but an experience that I will never forget in that I realised immediately if I was lucky enough to get the job it was going to be profoundly important experience.” Her early career involved “appearing in local and district courts in Dubbo, Nyngan, Gilgandra, Bourke, Brewarrina, Wilcannia, Broken Hill and many other towns. Often we represented up to 40 or 50 people on a list day.”She emphasised how her experiences have taught her “recognition and acknowledgement of the unique circumstances of disadvantage and deprivation often characterising the lives of Aboriginal people accused is vital to a proper understanding of the intergenerational impact of colonisation, dispossession and displacement, that even now continues to impact in very significant ways on some Aboriginal communities.”


Judge Dina Yehia was frank and honest in her account sharing her experiences and the ramifications of her profession: “Failing to acknowledge this can be aptly described as the terra nullius of the criminal justice system. This is what we argued, in part, in William Bugmy High Court Appeal. The court did not agree with all of our arguments and it may well fall to one of you to put the argument again before the High Court in years to come. Can I suggest that if you are at all interested, you must familiarise yourself with the Canadian Supreme Court decisions in this area. They are really quite inspirational. Some of you may well be questioning what impact, what difference you can make as a lawyer working in the field. I have to concede that in the role of the criminal advocate, there is very little that you can do to change systemic disadvantage and deprivation. You will not be able to do anything about unemployment, illiteracy, poverty, mental illness or life expectancy. But don’t be disheartened by that. What I’ve come to realise is that as an advocate, you can have a significant impact, make a real difference in individual cases and in the lives of individual clients. You see, you will be the voice of those individuals who come into contact with the criminal justice system. You are the one who will take the point, make the argument, represent their interests and ensure, as far as you can, that the miscarriage of justice to not occur.” Judge Dina Yehia then shared a pertinent story about a case in the United States to illuminate this. Listening to Judge Dina Yehia, what struck me most was how much deep respect she brings to her profession through a deep engagement, learning with and working alongside so many Aboriginal people over many years. The genuine warmth and rapport she built during the evening, underpinned by her innate eloquence, intellectual knowledge and professional expertise created a tremendous platform for robust discussions and enquires for students and staff alike. Following Judge Dina Yehia, we heard an impassioned speech from Jeff McMullen, a journalist who has been at the frontline of Indigenous issues listening to communities and advocating for human rights, health and education with recent involvement facilitating community forums on the proposed closures of Aboriginal communities in WA. Jeff is well known through his extensive long-running positions as ABC Foreign Correspondent and reporter for Four Corners and Sixty Minutes. Thank you to Teela and her team with their leadership bringing voice to Indigenous peoples' engagement with the criminal and public law. Teela is a credit to her family, community, Nura Gili and the law profession. This is recognised by many, including Judge Dina Yehia who opened her speech with: “I want to thanks Teela for inviting me to speak at this function and to acknowledge her talent, energy and initiative.” Rebecca Harcourt

If you could like to learn more about UNSW LAW Society please see



On 28 April Nura Gili Ambassadors, honours students Rianna Tatana, Theatre and Rhyan Clapham, Indigenous Studies, provided a special campus tour with AIEF students from nine schools: The Scots College, St Gregory’s College Campbelltown, The Armidale School, Kincoppal-Rose Bay, St Catherine’s, Waverley, St Vincent’s College, Potts Point, Knox Grammar School, Pymble Ladies’ College and Ipswich Grammar School in Queensland. Carlos Blanco Tertiary Support Executive at AIEF expressed their gratitude and shared how “all of the students had an absolutely awesome day and the feedback has been really positive, both Riana and Rhyan did a great job.”


My Name is Savannah Jade Celcina Bolt and I am 7 years old. Can you share with us three things about yourself you are most proud of? 1. l am proud of my voice because l am a good singer. 2. l am proud because l receive rewards at school for reading. 3. l am proud that l am a Koori.

Can you share with us three things about your family you are most proud of? 1. l am proud that my family loves me. 2. l am proud of my little brother Tariq. 3. l am proud that l have a big family. Above : Savannah working on her interview responses at Nura Gili

Last year, you were one of our guides when students studying one of your father Dr Reuben Bolt ‘s courses: ATSI3003 Cultural Heritage Management went on a field trip to Wreck Bay to learn about Culture on Country. See left

Can you share with us three great things about where you live? 1. I live in Nowra on the South Coast and it is great because I can visit my Aunties and Uncles, at Wreck Bay, on the weekends. 2. In summer, when it is really hot, I get to go swimming with my cousins. 3. We get to eat oysters off the rocks at Wreck Bay with Aunty Peggy.


You have travelled to many exciting places around the world including when you and your family go to visit your grandmother and family in the Bahamas. Can you share three of your favourite things about your last trip to the Bahamas? My three favourite things about travelling to the Bahamas are it is hot everyday so we can go to the beach, I get to see my Grammy and other family who live there and we visited Disneyland on the way.

Where do you go to school? I go to Illaroo Road Public School and I am in year 2M. My teachers name is Ms Irwin. What are your three favourite subjects at school? 1. I am really good with maths because it is fun. 2. I love drawing in my sketch book because you can have free time. 3. I love singing in the choir

When you are not at school, what are your three favourite things to do? 1. Playing with Pop’s iPad. 2. Playing with Tariq. 3. Riding my bike

Both your Mum, Nakia Bolt and Dad, Dr.Reuben Bolt work at Nura Gili and you and your younger brother Tariq often spend time with us. What are your 3 favourite things about coming to Nura Gili? 1. Helping others that need help. 2. l get to do jobs around the office. 3. Talking to people When you are older what would you most like to do? Work at UNSW and be a singer!

Interview with Rebecca Harcourt


Ngara Birring– Thinking of the Stars Indigenous Astronomy at Nura Gili, UNSW Our group has been quite active this year. After introducing two new Honours students and a new PhD candidate to Nura Gili, we’ve had a few people join our group on a volunteer basis, some of whom plan to enroll in PhD programs this year. We continue to publish research, give public talks, write popular articles, and work closely with Aboriginal and Islander communities to study astronomical knowledge, develop educational packages, and promote the wonders of Indigenous Astronomy to the public. Our course, ATSI 3006: The Astronomy of Indigenous Australians is also underway, with 10 enrolled students. We are st considering offering a 1 year, online only version of the course, so stay tuned. Right: Bob Fuller, Charles Barclay, and Trevor Leaman at West Head in Kuringai Chase National park. Photo by Duane Hamacher.

We have had a number of guests come to Nura Gili to work with the Indigenous Astronomy Group. This includes Charles Barclay from Oxford, Geoff Wyatt and Toner Stevenson from Sydney Observatory, Marcus Hughes from the Museum of Applied Arts and Science, and Michael Passi from Mer Island, Torres Strait. Research & Scholarship Group members dedicate most of their time to research and scholarship in Indigenous astronomy. This helps us to better understand Aboriginal and Islander astronomical traditions, and also helps to reconstruct and record traditions that have been damaged and fragmented by the effects of colonisation. PhD candidate Trevor Leaman and his advisor, Dr Duane Hamacher, are about to submit a paper analysing the relationship between animal behaviour and the positions of their associated stars in the Aboriginal traditions of Ooldea, South Australia. It will be a follow up to paper they published last year analyzing the Hunter (Orion) and Seven Sister’s (Pleiades) Dreaming story from the Ooldea region. Dr Hamacher just published a paper in the Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage about seasonal stars in the Kaurna Aboriginal traditions of the Adelaide region, South Australia. He developed methodologies to identify seasonal stars in Kaurna traditions from scant records published in the 1840s by German missionaries. This will help the Kaurna reconstruct some of their complex astronomical knowledge that was fragmented after colonisation in the late 1830s. Carla Guedes is a PhD candidate from Portugal who is assisting Dr Hamacher on his ARC research in the Torres Strait. They are finishing a paper on meteor and comet traditions in the Torres Strait, connecting them with song, dance, and place.


Left: Sunrise over Seven Sisters Ridge during the equinox, middle, and summer solstice Photo by Trevor Leaman

Profile: Trevor Leaman, PhD candidate Born in Devon, England in 1964, Trevor’s family moved to Brisbane in 1973. He completed degrees in biology and ecology at the Queensland University of Technology then moved to Tasmania, where he earned diplomas in civil and mechanical engineering at TAFE, followed by a Master’s degree in astronomy at Swinburne University. Trevor gained valuable experience working as an astronomy educator at Uluru and Launceston Planetarium before coming to Macquarie University in 2012 as a summer scholar. His summer project was to study astronomy and rock art in the Sydney region under the supervision of Ray Norris and Duane Hamacher. After completing his Masters degree, which included a published paper analysing astronomical traditions from the Ooldea region of South Australia,. Trevor won an Australian Postgraduate Award and began a PhD program in ethnography at UNSW working with Dr Hamacher and Professor Stephen Muecke. For his thesis, Trevor is working closely with Wiradjuri communities to study their astronomy. The Central Tablelands Local Land Services is funding the project, this has afforded Trevor to travel to communities across New South Wales, including cultural sites such as Seven Sisters Ridge. He has been given Ethics clearance and will begin interviewing Wiradjuri Elders and knowledge custodians over the next year. Any Wiradjuri elders and knowledge-custodians interested in participating in the study should contact Larry Towney, Senior Aboriginal Land Services Officer and Trevor The outcomes will include education packages for schools and a database of Astronomical knowledge managed by Wiradjuri Elders. Recent Publications  Fire in the sky: The southern lights in Indigenous oral traditions by Duane Hamacher (The Conversation, 2 April 2015).  Identifying seasonal stars in Kaurna astronomical traditions by Duane Hamacher (Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp. 39-52). Social Media  YouTube  Facebook  Twitter


Earlier this semester, Sam Altman presented a guest lecture entitled Aboriginal Intellectual Achievement: Ethnomathematics and the Anthropocene for students studying ATSI 2015: Indigenous Science course here at Nura Gili.

Songlines & Language Groups

Here Sam shares with us some insights from his lecture: 

An appreciation of the scope and depth of Aboriginal Intellectual achievement, especially in and with environmental realities. We considered briefly Worldviews, Value Systems, Country, Ways of Learning, Hunter-Gather Lifestyle, Social Organisation, Languages, Science, Land & Resource Management, Bush Medicines, Navigation, Astronomy and Art. Misunderstandings and major authoritative devaluation and denigration of Indigenous peoples’ worldviews, value systems and practices. These were then used as rationalisations for the violent replacement by exploitive and extractive systems of production associated with colonialism and capitalism. How misunderstandings of Aboriginal counting systems were used as signifiers and rationalisations for this denigration.Their languages were falsely described as only having words for one, two,…many and this was presented falsely as people who could not engage in proper mathematical thinking On a planetary scale the multifarious anthropocentric environmental crises that have now propelled us all into the new Age of Humanity - the Anthropocene, can be seen as an outcome of the value systems associated with colonialism and capitalism. How reassessment and respectful adoption of Indigenous value systems is in fact crucial to building a hybridised, with suitable western and other ecological knowledges, adaptation to living well in the Anthropocene. Indigenous knowledges can thus be seen as potentially a great GIFT to the world as it enters this uncertain, unsafe and systemically interconnected future.

Australia covered in intellectual and spiritual connection


One starting point was to understand how and why Aboriginal counting systems, as with almost all non-western mathematical thinking, were so strongly devalued by 19 th and 20 century British and Australian intellectuals. Not only was it disparaged, it was seen as at best subservient with its only value as what it might contribute to Western mathematical understanding. This attitude of western or white superiority was evident across the whole gamut of human endeavours. Western Mathematics both in its pure and applied forms had come to be seen not just as universal and dealing with eternal truths i.e. being absolutely free of cultural input, but also as emblematic of the highest intellectual achievements of the human race.


This was especially true of pure mathematics abstracted as it is from the physical world and depending only on the rules of mathematics itself. It was seen as the “Queen of the sciences� since all scientific and modern technological developments were underpinned with pure mathematical theoretical developments and techniques. A classic example is the pure mathematical work by Hilbert and Turing among others led to the development of computing. th

Mid-20 century philosophers especially Wittgenstein, Polanyi and Lakatos regarded the activities and practices of mathematicians as central to the character and constitution of mathematical knowledge. That is, this knowledge, as with all knowledges, is actively constructed not discovered. As such it is always dependent on culturally specific circumstances that are to some extent tacit and never fully explicit and objectively defined. So as with all products of human languages and systems, mathematics does not in fact refer to eternal truths and should be better conceived as culture-based discourses about quantity, relationships, structure, space and change. All human societies and cultures engage in these sorts of discourses and no culture’s specific version is intellectually, logically, aesthetically or morally superior to any other. One way of expressing this is to say that all Mathematics is Ethnomathematics. Understanding and reflecting on how and why this wholesale denigration, sometimes called Terra Nullius of the Mind, took place and why it is continuing, can help strip away the racist stereotypes and attitudes involved as well as identifying the features of power structures in our world that need to be dismantled to begin to live well in the Anthropocene.

Well Being in the Anthropocene Some Key Values

This table makes explicit the strong parallels between value systems deemed crucial for life in the Anthropocene based on environmental, Social Justice and Indigenous values.

(Based on Potts, R. (2013) What will it mean to be human? Imagining our lives in the Anthropocene.)

Many researchers recognise these parallels. The question is: How can human society, community, policy and practices truly embody these values?

Sam Altman

Useful References Bandara, L. (2011) Explainer: the point of pure mathematics The Conversation, 2 August 2011, (accessed 6/4/11) Greer, B. et al (2009) Culturally Responsive Mathematics Education Routledge, 20 May 2009 Harris, J. (1987). Australian Aboriginal and Islander mathematics. Australian Aboriginal Studies, No. 2, pp. 29-37. Klein, N. (2014) This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate. Simon & Schuster. Pascoe, B. (2014). Dark Emu: Black Seeds: Agriculture or Accident? Magabala Books, Broome, Western Australia


Can you share about your childhood home? I was born and raised in Cairns, Far North Queensland and raised by my Torres Strait Islander grandparents from when I was six weeks old. My Athe, grandfather, Asera Saveka was half Meriam Mer and half Rotuman and my Aka, grandmother, was from Mabiaug Island in the Straits and her grandfather was a Scotsman from Aberdeen. Mine vater ist ein Berliner my father is from Berlin and his mother was a Russian Jew. I know very little about my father’s family and I’m looking forward to travelling to Berlin to learn more. Growing up in a tropical paradise was wonderful. We swam in freshwater creeks as it was hot and humid, all year round. Every kid knew how to swim, dive and swing from trees too high. The annual storms and cyclones during the wet season were fun and we often played outside in the torrential rain. One of the downpipes from our roof had a big old rusted hole in it, so when the rain was heavy, water gushed out of the hole creating a waterfall effect. Someone had put a little white sand at the bottom of the pipe and I would pretend that it was my very own tropical waterfall and stand there for what seemed like hours in my own downpipe waterfall. I moved to live in Adelaide at eighteen with my fiancé and one of the first questions I asked was: Where are your freshwater creeks?. At that time, I assumed every town in the world had a dozen freshwater creeks to swim in. Above back: Aka Ethel & Athe Asera Saveka; Above Front (L-R): Kat (middle right) with her sisters Lisa, Lara, Georgina

Who are your role models and why? My Athe and Aka are my role models. They were very hard working people and deeply wedded to their culture. My Athe ran his own pearl diving business for more than fifty years and the story goes that he walked into the bank, barefoot and in boat pants and signed an “X” for his first mortgage. He was a man of very few words and very patient with his grandchildren and I adored him. My Aka was a wonderful mum, very loving and calm. As my Athe was on the sea for nine months of every year, my Aka busied herself with the Mother’s Union in the Anglican Parish of St. Margarets in Cairns; she also worked with others to establish the Kozan Co-Operative Society Ltd which is an Indigenous organisation that provides welfare accommodation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Cairns. As a child, I remember friends, relatives and my Athe’s employees would often turn up at our house and give us food. One time, a young guy drove up and popped the boot of his car. It was full of live mud crabs and I almost jumped out of my skin! There was always an abundance of food and relatives often shipped boxes of fruit and freshly caught seafood to our door. My grandparents were good people and I feel very privileged to have been raised by them. Right: Kat’s beloved Aka Ethel & Athe Asera Saveka

Can you share some insights about your experiences as a mature age undergraduate student and your time on the SSE Accelerator Fellowship program? I was 39 when I enrolled in the Bachelor of Community Management at Macquarie University. My step-brother, Bevan Cassady had lectured there for many years and although I was looking at a vast range of degree courses, I settled on a block intensive degree because it enabled me to keep my full time job while studying. I realized pretty quickly why they call it “block intensive”! It was extremely exhausting working full-time and studying full-time for three years, so yes, a very intensive period in my life. I had to bank all my holidays, time in lieu and RDOs and that was just enough to get to campus. I couldn’t take a holiday for three years. On my first day at university, we were visited by a post graduate student who was a working mum. She said “I usually set my alarm for 3am to study as it’s the quietest time of the day”. She was right! After working all day, the last thing I wanted to do was come home and turn on another computer, so I created a routine of going to bed around 10pm, setting my alarm for 3 or 4am and studying in the wee hours of the morning. I found my mind was refreshed and there were no distractions because everyone else was asleep in the house. The other routine I developed was to spend Sunday afternoons at the university library. Again after working all week, I needed a


“mind break” on Saturdays to enable me to study again on Sundays. I also linked in with my tutors early on in my degree and although I didn’t have the time to physically visit my tutor, we arranged to Skype every Monday evening. Tutoring was integral to my success at university. After my degree, I completed a one year Incubator Program to become a fellow of the School of Social Entrepreneurs. Through this fellowship program I was mentored by a software developer. I learnt much about social entrepreneurialism and visited many successful social enterprises in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. You’ve lived and worked both here and overseas - can you share a little about your journey and motivation to go overseas and how these experiences have informed who you are now, your journey and your future aspirations? By the time I was in my late twenties I felt that if I didn’t get out, I’d be stuck in Australia forever. Perhaps my European ancestors were singing me, who knows, so I packed my suitcase and arrived at Heathrow Airport in 1999. I only knew two people in London: I felt very liberated and excited about exploring Europe and making new friends. Unfortunately, my working visa didn’t arrive so quickly and after a few weeks of unemployment, I put on my best suit, marched up to All Bar One in Hampstead and said to the bartender “Um, to be quite honest, I can’t pull a pint and I’m not very good at opening wine bottles, but if you teach me how to do this, I’ll work for you for free for one month!” His eyes widened and he looked genuinely gobsmacked! “Err, just stay right there” he said! As luck would have it, the bar manager was from Newcastle NSW and the assistant manager was from Sydney. They liked my chutzpah, employed me on the spot and paid me from day one! I ended up working in their bars in Hampstead, Soho and Covent Garden. This experience taught me about the value of volunteering to work for free, European food and beverages and ultimately European cultures. When my visa finally arrived, I went off to work in Accounting and Legal firms in London, usually around The Strand and Fleet Street. I saved my money and took a bus tour around Europe which was loads of fun. After twelve months in London, I moved to live and work in Edinburgh, Scotland. A year later, I was accepted into Westminster University to study Bodywork but as I was considered a foreign student, I couldn’t afford the exorbitant fees, so I sadly declined the offer. One of my cousins happened to be living in Andalucía in Southern Spain at that time so I spent Feliz Navidad Christmas and a muy loco Año Nuevo New Year in Los Palacios, half an hour south of Seville. One of the locals made a massive paella for me and everywhere I went, they couldn’t believe I wasn’t Spanish. I learnt to say Lo siento , No entiendo, No hables español, often! I spent a few glorious weeks backpacking around southern Spain with my Scottish friends and on another trip; I drove down the west coast and across the border to Figueres in Spain to see the Salvadore Dali Museum which was an unbelievable experience. Rome and Barcelona were two of my favorite cities to visit and my most memorable holidays were along the Amalfi Coast and Cinque Terra in Italy, both impromptu due to Italian Pilot Strikes. I still remember my first white Christmas in Prague, Czech Republic, when the shhhhh of snow falling on the city made my eyes bulge; I’ll never forget that moment. Eventually, I wised up to planning my holidays around Cultural Festivals and visited Koningsdag, Queens Birthday Celebrations in the Netherlands; Ferier De Abril Easter Festva. in Seville; Songkran Water Festival in Thailand; Gnawa African Trance Festival in Morocco; Notting Hill Carnival London; Edinburgh Festival; Brighton Festival and Womad World Music Festival, U.K. Typically, ardent travelers read much literature about the countries they visit including their histories, culture, sub-cultures and particularly security issues. I only experienced two scary incidents over eight years. Once, I was locked in a tea shop by a little old man in the Marrakesh souks so I threatened to call the Tourist Police and was promptly released. Another time, I was abducted off a bus in Southern Thailand, held hostage for a few hours and then put back on another bus. Their objective- to force foreigners to purchase food from the family takeaway store! Thankfully, I was never harmed in my travels, except for one time when I was hit by a car in Granada, Spain. Those crazy Spaniards, they drive on the wrong side of the road! The experience of being transient, travelling through and living in other countries was a great adventure for me and it also presented some of the toughest challenges in my life. Ultimately, all of those experiences moved me well outside of my comfort zone and I feel like I’ve been stretched and this strengthened me in ways I would never have been had. I visited 21 countries and lived and worked in three. It’s not for everyone, but for those brave enough to explore the world, it’s an enriching experience.


As we experienced last year at our UNSW Indigenous Awards Night and with Through our eyes: A Sydney Story of Contemporary Black Dance (19721979) you are an experienced curator and event manager who strives, with great leadership and execution, to create engaging and memorable events for all. Can you share some tips from the trade? When I returned from the UK in 2008, I did a course in Event Management at UTS. My first attempt at organising an event was the Barangaroo Protest Rally in 2010. Two City Councilors were representing locals who were protesting against the over-development of the site. I was seconded across to pull the rally together for the Friends of Barangaroo and I had two weeks to do it. We ended up attracting excellent media coverage on SBS news and in the Sydney Morning Herald. It was a great success and after that I helped to organise a range of launches, small events, library and exhibitions. I then took a voluntary position with UN Women and organised their Sydney fundraising events throughout 2013. Last year I had the privilege of working with Carole Johnson who established NAISDA and Bangarra and together we produced an exhibition that told the history of Contemporary Black Dance in Australia. I also had the privilege of organising the UNSW Indigenous Awards Night celebration at Doltone House which was fabulous fun. Three tips I’ve learned through this journey are: 1) Control less 2) Delegate more 3) Choose skilled helpers You're also passionate about rights of women – can you share a little about your different roles and involvement? I first learned about UN Women when I was at university and researching policy development. In July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly created UN Women, the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. Since their inception, they’ve affected social change and law reform through education and advocacy globally. In October of the same year, I decided to finally put an end to the eight year domestic violent relationship I was in. I went through the process of getting an ADVO from the local court and immediately started Victims of Crime psychotherapy treatment as I was diagnosed with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. At one point, I was seeing two psychotherapists while working and studying full-time. Overworking was a type of coping mechanism for me and albeit imperfect, it eventually helped me to move forward and heal from the past. Interestingly, my ex-partner was in fact a very highly educated man with two degrees and his father was Professor of Ethnic Conflict Resolution at one of America’s Leading Peace Institutes. Hence, I’ve become very vocal about ending violence against women in Peacebuilding families and communities. It deeply saddens me that men and women in this generation accept and condone the beating and terrorizing of women and girls in the home. So, I always try to educate and advocate wherever possible for the rights of women and girls. During my recovery years, I lobbied for over six months for my employer at the time, to endorse a Workplace Domestic Violence Policy. This groundbreaking policy, developed by Ludo McFerran from the School of Social Sciences at UNSW was designed, in part, to protect employment and provide support for women escaping domestic violence. After 12 months, and some determined lobbying by Councilor Irene Doutney, we managed to convince the City of Sydney to endorse the Domestic Violence Workplace Policy in 2011. Two months later, my HR manager said to me in passing “Five other employees have already accessed the DV Workplace Policy’s entitlements” I was very proud of that achievement and I’ve since appeared in newspapers advocating for the DV Workplace Policy and I’ve been on television advocating for White Ribbon Australia. I then, in 2012, went onto join the UN Women Australia Committee and in 2013 became the Volunteer Events Team Leader for UN Women Sydney Chapter. It was very inspirational work and I met a many great women. We still have a long, long way to go before women and girls are treated with equal rights in this country, however it’s very encouraging to see the many incremental steps taken by advocates, politicians and organisations that amount to law reform and ultimately safer communities. Having said all of that, I personally believe that a fundamental flaw in the UN approach towards women and girls, is the absence of an organisation that reports on the status of men and boys, i.e. a UN Men. I hope that in my lifetime, we’ll see a world where men and boys are better supported by UN and government agencies.


Around a year ago you begin working with us at Nura Gili what are some of your highlights so far? One of the best aspects of my job is helping young people to succeed. Most of the students I meet are an incredible inspiration to me as many are passionate about social changes they can make in their communities. It’s especially great to see so many empowered young women in higher education. A few highlights in the past year include the UNSW Indigenous Awards Night at Doltone House, a gorgeous venue in the city; participating in the UNSW Indigenous Winter School excursions with the kids and running the UNSW Indigenous Science and Engineering Program. Oh and I’ve become obsessed with the Robcup Soccer robots at UNSW Engineering and even got to cuddle one. For current and future Nura Gili UNSW students what would your top tips be?   

Apply to one of our programs, Winter School, ISEP, Pre-Programs, Open Day, Yr 12 Day When you’re at UNSW connect with your tutors early and go regularly. Be quick to ask for help whenever you need it from support staff, friends, family etc.

Travel Abroad People: it’s the most educational experience you’ll have outside of school and university. Interview with Rebecca Harcourt

Above Kat Henaway with UNSW Robocup Soccer Robot 2015 Left 2014 Indigenous Science and Engineering students in a Zero Gravity Space Lab at The Powerhouse Museum


Above: Ellen Van Neerven in conversation with Australian literature specialist Elizabeth McMahon, Editor of Southerly Above: Jenavive Westbury Nura Gili’s Student Ambassador & UNSW SRC Indigenous Student Representative opens event 20 April 2015 Io Myers Studio, UNSW

To listen to the podcast of this interview click here:


Heat and Light Writing with precision Sensory and elegant Ellen evokes somatic responses as she invites the reader Into her characters’ worlds Dialogue Recognisable gritty earthy urban country dwellings Painted with love Juxtaposed with prophetic sci-fi concoctions In her workshop we explore embodiment of place belonging nature material goods objects testimonies friends parents families Triggers to evoke tap into deeply resonates within our beings We find our voices Explore and share Indulge our senses to trigger our narratives Let our voices traverse Enter new territories Or play within our familiar landscape forms or styles With dialogue memoir verse fiction We awaken our senses

Above: Ellen Van Neerven with a number from the group,UNSW students and staff, who participated in Ellen’s writing workshop hosted at Nura Gili Boardroom on Monday 20 April 2015.

Time elapses Drawing on an edginess Triggers to ignite new ways and forms Unearthed delights emerge Tracking deeply Penetrate an underlying belly of growth Nourishing journeys Examining blurred lines between fact and fiction Exposing semantics whilst conveying nuances Our workshopping Uncaps and ignites Across forms sensibilities


The power of words Our collective narratives Voices with simplicity and depth Unpacked for some Through adopting the new Writing in second third languages Unveil voices with simplicity Poetic strength Framed beautifully Captivating wider universal truths Tangible details Mother’s cooking Dishes we can smell Fragrances that can transport us across time cultures countries place Shared expressions Create new shades and meanings Similes Equations with words Unravelling as we connect through our disconnect Social commentary through metaphor and the everyday Locating us Inviting us in as readers

Above: Ellen Van Neervan and Rebecca Harcourt

We can smell touch see imagine We grip on We’re thrown Into a tornado of extraction Others calmly gently bring us in Like fish on a reel Slowly bringing us in Deeper inside their intimate world Sharing evoking Taking us on a journey The exquisite power of words voice time and place Past present future wrapt together in a gift Gifts that speak of inner truths With words to resonate Rebecca Harcourt


“Great to see so many people come and support the Indigenous Diggers and an opportunity for us, the Indigenous Community, to come together. The Ceremony was unlike any other and seeing members of the Indigenous Community thanking men and women, in uniform for their service, was an amazing sight.” CDTAB Moxey of TS Sydney Josh Moxey is an able seaman and a Nura Gili student, currently in his first year studying a dual degree in Commerce and Aviation

Nura Gili students at Redfern Aboriginal ANZAC Day Commemoration 2015 Left to Right Hamish Albany, Medicine; Josh Moxey, Commerce Aviation; Shaun Wright, Commerce. Left to Right Nura Gili’s Jonathan Captain Webb; Jeremy Heathcote; Colin Watego Warrant Officer 1st Class; Professor Lisa Jackson Pulver AM ,Wing Commander in the RAAF Specialist Reserve

The Redfern Aboriginal ANZAC Day Commemoration is held each year by Redfern’s Aboriginal community to honour Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander servicemen and servicewomen and those who served in non-military support roles. We not only recognise the original ANZACs who served at Gallipoli and the Western Front, but commemorate more than a century of service by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander servicemen and women. Respect is also paid every year to the women and other family members, especially to the grandmothers, mothers, aunties and sistas, who kept our families and communities together while loved ones were away and after they returned. When we honour our servicemen and servicewomen we also acknowledge the spirit of genuine equality that lives in the armed forces. This spirit can guide our nation in this time of great change - if we heed the message. The event wouldn’t have been a success without the hard work of the organising committee led by Mark Spinks and Jeremy Heathcote and the financial support of the City of Sydney Council. We look forward to the 2016 event where we will mark the 10th year anniversary of the Coloured Diggers March. Jeremy Heathcote, Deputy Chairman Babana Aboriginal Men’s Group.


To book your ticket click here: 23

UNSW Australia has three campuses located in Kensington (main campus), Paddington (Art and Design) and Canberra (Australian Defence Force Academy). The main campus is located in Bedegal country and situated near an 8000 year old campsite. This campsite was a place where the Indigenous people of that country would gather and meet to teach their culture, knowledge and stories to their next generation of leaders. In 1949, UNSW was established providing the opportunity to pave a long history of teaching and research excellence and to gain the reputation for graduating the brightest and most highly qualified students in the country. With nine prestigious and award winning faculties, over 300 undergraduate, postgraduate and research programs being taught and more than 50,000 students, from 120 countries, the campsite traditions of gathering, meeting, teaching and sharing are being carried from the past in to the present.

Prior to 2004 Nura Gili was known as the Aboriginal Education Program (AEP) and the Aboriginal Research and Resource Centre. The AEP was established to provide Indigenous Australians studying at UNSW with the support needed to fully succeed in their studies. With the increasing number of Indigenous Australian students enrolling at UNSW and the need for improved academic and student support services, the AEP and Aboriginal Research and Resource Centre merged and became Nura Gili Indigenous Programs Unit. As a leader in Indigenous education, our purpose is to enrich Australia culturally and professionally. Nura Gili strives to enhance the capacity of Indigenous communities and individuals to engage in all aspects of Australian society - ensuring Indigenous knowledge, culture and histories are embedded in all aspects of the UNSW community. We provide a range of support services, Indigenous Studies programs and aspirational and pathway programs allowing us to be recognised nationally and internationally as a leader in academic and research excellence.

It’s important for us to provide a space that’s inspiring and creative, a space that will give you the best possible start to your higher education. In 2012, with the support of the Balnaves Foundation, we were able to build a state-of-the-art, central, innovative teaching and learning facility located in the heart of UNSW. At Balnaves Place, you will have 24 hour access to modern facilities with the most up to date technology, free printing facilities and private rooms for group and individual study in a calm and relaxing environment. Our centre has been designed for you.


Nura Gili News: If you would like to contribute ideas, news, letters and / or articles please contact the editor: Email: Telephone: 0478492075 If you would like to contribute to Indigenous scholarships for students at UNSW and/or Nura Gili Indigenous Programs Unit please feel free to make initial contact with the Director of Nura Gili Professor Martin Nakata B.Ed Hons PhD Telephone :+61 (2) 93853120 Email: - Prof Nakata's Webpage

If you would like further information on Nura Gili’s programs, courses and facilities you are welcome to come and visit and/or contact us: Nura Gili Indigenous Programs Unit Balnaves Place, Lower GrounDFloor Electrical Engineering Building UNSW Australia NSW 2052 Email: General Enquiries;+61 2 9385 3805

Balnaves Place – Home of Nura Gili was made possible thanks to a generous donation from The Balnaves Foundation, a private philanthropic organisation established in 2006 by Neil Balnaves AO to provide support to charitable enterprises across Australia.

UNSW CRICOS Provider Code: 00098G | ABN: 57 195 873 179


Nura Gili News Edition 20 May 2015  

As always, in this month’s issue our stories reflect the abdundance of tenacity, resillience and joy as students and staff pursue their dre...

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