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The assets of
Forensics in the
Timor-Leste life-sustaining
Whale nurseries, coral reefs, macro world
underwater caves, offshore surf
Bioscience North Australia is
and undeveloped coastlines point
a leading edge research facility
to marine-based eco-tourism.
in molecular ecology.

Storm chasers
The ancient sound of the Yidaki An experiment four years in Citizenship
(didgeridoo) unites Indigenous the planning will ultimately Symposium
and non-Indigenous Australians affect the lives of millions of
Debating issues about
at a festival of culture and debate people living in monsoonal
cultural identity, creativity
on education and training. environments in southern
and community in the new
and South East Asia.
technological age.

News Profiled
4-9 News highlights on research,
10 Jonathan Carapetis, one of Australia’s
people, partnerships, funding boosts,
top ten young scientific minds, tackles
and flying professors.
Indigenous health issues in the Top End.

14 Gary Robinson, a scholarly anthropologist,

runs a research school and delivers social
Opinion programs for Tiwi children at risk.
21 Timor-Leste commentator Dennis
17 Jiaping Wu, tracking the NT’s regional
Shoesmith on Australia’s bullying
development and social and economic
role in controlling security of the
region’s weakest state.

Limited Edition Q+A

23 Northern Editions feature print Minga 25 Karen Gibb on genome analysis,
by Timothy Cook from Melville Island. green ants, and molecular biology.

First Person Charles, My Hero

28 Dominic McCormack reveals why he works 37 Robyn Williams on the relevance
with and loves the Aboriginal people of and vibrancy of Darwin’s work.
the Thamarrurr Region — location of the
remote Aboriginal township of Wadeye.

CDU Press
46 An insider’s account of the East Timor liberation struggle; a novel set in Darwin; a selection of papers
from the 2003 Charles Darwin Symposia on the state of the north, and a volume that shows the breadth
of exciting cross-cultural research in Australia.
 credits Origins

Origins is produced by Charles Darwin

University’s Corporate Communications.
Managing Editor
Cas Bennetto Contributors
Editorial Consultant
Helen Howard Zilko A former Age newspaper journalist, andrew bock
Project Management has freelanced for national arts, sports and travel
Jennifer Cahill magazines for 15 years as both a writer and photog-
Meaghan Bryant rapher. He continues to freelance for the Age and
Sydney Morning Herald. As a surfer and photojournalist,
Writers Andrew takes a special interest in the coast. He also
Don Aitkin, Ron Banks, Andrew Bock, Penny designs and publishes The Ocean Calendar, a graphic
Baxter, Cas Bennetto, Jennifer Cahill, Amy tide and light guide. For Origins, Andrew has written
Dyt, Emma Fowler-Thomason, John Hartley, about Timor-Leste’s marine and eco-tourism plans.
Helen Howard Zilko, Will Martin, Nicolas
Rothwell, Dennis Shoesmith, Nigel Turvey,
Robyn Williams. john hartley, Federation Fellow, is Research Director
of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries
Photographer and Innovation at Queensland University of Technol-
Barry Ledwidge ogy and adjunct professor of the Australian National
Contributing Photographers University. He is the author of 15 books, translated
Meaghan Bryant, Nick Hobgood, into a dozen languages, including Creative Industries
Ray Jalil, Simon Furlong, Mark Rogers, (ed., Blackwell 2005), A Short History of Cultural Studies
Andrea Keningston. (Sage 2003), The Indigenous Public Sphere (W. A. McKee,
Oxford 2000), Uses of Television (Routledge 1999)
and Popular Reality (Arnold 1996). He is editor of
the International Journal of Cultural Studies (Sage).
Printer Turn to page 39 for John’s argument that creative
Finsbury Green Printing, Melbourne citizens need creative education.

Corporate Communications is grateful to the following ron banks was a journalist for the West Australian
people for their contributions and assistance in
newspaper in Perth for 28 years, covering a variety of
compiling this edition.
Don Aitkin, Eddie Berg, Jonathan Carapetis, rounds from local government to education and social
Joan Coutts, Linda Cuttriss, Michael Douglas, welfare. He was the arts editor for 15 years, reviewing
Alison Dowell, Edgar Dunis, Christine Edward, theatre and music as well as writing extensively on
Rohan Fisher, Stephen Garnett, Karen Gibb, the arts throughout Australia. He now works in Darwin
John Guenther, Tony Harding, John Hartley,
Martin Jarvis, Carole Kayrooz, David Lynch,
as a freelance journalist. For this edition of Origins,
Dominic McCormack, Peter May, Will Martin, Ron has penned features on Martin Jarvis and his
Richard Noske, Peter Perrin, Gary Robinson, maturing of the Darwin Symphony Orchestra, and
Dennis Shoesmith, Gemma Starkey, Ian Thynne, the University’s flagship molecular science facility,
Nigel Turvey, Adrian Walter, Merrilyn Wasson,
Bioscience North Australia.
Chad Willats, Robyn Williams, Jiaping Wu.
Opinion and views expressed in this edition A lecturer in communications at CDU, will martin
do not necessarily reflect those of Charles
also edits Research and Policy, a monthly newsletter
Darwin University. Reproduction of any
material appearing in this edition requires of the School for Social and Policy Research. He has
written permission from Jennifer Cahill a strong interest in Greek philosophy and modernist literature, and his PhD thesis, The recurrence of rhythm:
Published October 2006 configurations of the voice in Homer, Plato and Joyce, was
This edition is also available at recently conferred at the University of New South Wales. In his downtime, Will plays jazz piano and
CRICOS Provider 00300K
saxophone, and sings with the University’s Chamber
Choir. For this edition of Origins, Will has composed
Design and Printing Notes
Text face Caecilia a profile on Dr Jiaping Wu, and commented on
Display face Maple Black Italic the groundbreaking work of the Ngaripiliga’ajirri
program on the Tiwi Islands.

Origins is printed with vegetable based ink, no isopropyl

alcohol and ninety five per cent of all waste products
used in the process are recycled. 
cover Jelly in Timorese waters
In a carbon neutral printing process, using the world’s best inside front cover cleaner shrimp(Periclimenes Holthusi)
practice ISO 14001 environmental management systems, photographs Nick Hobgood
this edition of Origins has been printed on Expression
Satin paper comprised of sustainable forest fibre. Finsbury
measures and offsets its C02 footprint by planting trees.
Origins vice-chancellor

Economic, geographic
and creative collaboration
In view of current and politically vibrant issues, an Partnerships in all their forms are
overriding theme emerged for this edition of Origins — important to CDU. In this edition we
our relationship with Timor-Leste, and the inevitability focus on Bioscience North Australia,
of a shared future between Darwin and Dili. an outcome of the Northern Territory
Government and Charles Darwin
This month, six research teams from Charles Darwin
University partnership agreement and
University will employ advanced mapping techniques
a frontier facility, unique in Australia
to locate the best sites for national parks and marine
for its breadth of research in molecular
parks, tourism infrastructure and small-scale fishing
ecology. Its research is already having
industries in Timor-Leste. One of the teams will study
a real-world impact on food security
water catchment and marine pollution. All the research
and agricultural issues in the region.
will focus on two burning issues for the Timor-Leste
government — food security and unemployment — Talented individuals and their achieve-
that underpinned the recent civil unrest. ments are profiled. Professor Jonathan
Carapetis, recently named as one of
The University is involved in a number of ventures and plans
Australia’s top ten young scientific
for the region, including our recent initiative to establish
minds, has taken the helm at CDU’s
an academic relationship between Darwin–Dili–Kupang to
Menzies School of Health Research.
manage the environment more effectively, and our leader-
Anthropologist Dr Gary Robinson
ship of a land management project in eastern Indonesia.
oversees two unusual projects for
All of these projects are linked to CDU’s academic program.
children at risk in the Tiwi Islands,
Since the July edition of Origins, the University has been and manages to co-direct the School
involved in two significant symposia: our symposium of for Social and Policy Research.
the bush, ‘Garma’, and the Creative Citizenship symposium
Dr Jaiping Wu, a research fellow
in Alice Springs.
whose interest in regional development
Our involvement with the Yothu Yindi Foundation and and global integration brought him
the Garma Festival of Traditional Culture in north-east to Darwin, tackles potential policy
Arnhem Land is critical to our long-term engagement changes in the NT’s social and
with Indigenous groups. Many staff and postgraduate economic transformation.
students, particularly from the School for Social and Policy
And finally, we profile one of Darwin’s
Research, played a key role in the Garma Forum which
pioneer residents, Edgar Dunis, who is
included workshops, presentations, panel discussions
taking a creative approach to sponsor-
and learning exchanges on Indigenous education and
ing two CDU scholarships that reflect
training over three days.
his lifelong passion for the arts.
Charles Darwin University has a successful history of
These are just some of the ground-
engaging with its community through the creative arts
breaking stories we have canvassed
and the broader context of creativity. Professor John Hartley,
for this edition of Origins. I hope you
from Queensland University of Technology, was a keynote
enjoy reading about the University,
speaker at the Creative Citizenship symposium last month.
and its remarkable people, projects,
In this edition he argues that creative citizens need creative
research and academic achievement.
education. Another keynote speaker, Britain’s Eddie Berg,
is interviewed for Origins about one of his most imaginative
schemes — the creation of a webcasting channel among the
elderly residents of Liverpool’s once-decaying tower blocks,
a group traditionally excluded from the priorities of arts
policy and funding.

Professor Helen Garnett psm

 News Origins

Landmark agreement
with Power and Water
A six-year, multi-million dollar agreement with the
Power and Water Corporation signed earlier this year
with Charles Darwin University will upskill Territorians.

The University will provide Power comprehensive, streamlined approach Like many other NT employers,
and Water with a complete package to training, ensuring our staff have the Power and Water is experiencing
of training services for its operational right skills to do the job.’ skills shortages throughout the
and professional staff, and will manage Territory in its traditional trade areas.
CDU’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Helen
apprentice recruitment and training. ‘We are working with the University
Garnett, said the agreement confirmed
The training package will be delivered to overcome these shortages through
the University’s focus on working with
in association with two Territory an increased intake of apprentices,’
industry, and demonstrates its leader-
businesses — Connell Wagner and Kim Wood said. ‘In 2006 our apprentice
ship capacities in the Territory’s future.
Group Training NT. intake increased to 16 from last
‘The University is a dual sector institu-
year’s record of 13. The trades these
Power and Water’s managing director, tion, which means we can assist large
16 apprentices are undertaking
Kim Wood, said the training deal organisations across the board, from
include lineswork, system electrics,
shows Power and Water’s commit- basic hands-on training of apprentices
instrumentation, communications,
ment to staff and career development. in the workplace to postgraduate
mechanics and plumbing.’
‘Securing this agreement, valued technical and management study
at around $18 million over six years, for their senior staff.’ O
will provide Power and Water with a

above Vice Chancellor, Professor Helen Garnett and Power and Water’s Kim Wood celebrate the six-year $18m training agreement.

Praise for

The University’s Chinese Gardens Les Mack, coordinator of Perth’s

formed an exotic backdrop in August Aboriginal Independent Community
to farewell Dr Brian Gray, co-creator Schools support unit, spoke of Brian’s Indigenous teacher
and academic leader of the National contribution to improving literacy applauded
Accelerated Literacy Program — standards in Western Australia.
featured in the June edition of Origins. And Ken Davies, deputy chief executive At a ceremony in Nhulunbuy, Joan
at the Department of Employment, Collins has been celebrated for her
Associate Professor Tess Lea underlined
Education and Training (DEET), said support of Indigenous education.
Brian’s courage in allowing others to
NALP had made measurable improve- Djapirri Mununggirritj, Yolgnu
continue his life’s work, pointing to his
ments to standards of literacy in artist and Yirrkala Dhanbul Council
vision as an ‘historical moment’ in the
the Territory. But Associate Professor spokesperson, acknowledged the CDU
development of long term strategies
Gary Robinson emphasised that Brian lecturer as a significant ‘teacher’.
to improve literacy standards among
would be leaving behind a robust and
the most disadvantaged students. Chris The women-only event held in May,
sustainable project to a capable team.
Shirley, principal of Shalom Christian which was organised by Indigenous
College, spoke of the difference NALP Brian Gray, who now plans to write women with the support of Recon-
has made in regional Queensland. a book on the theory behind acceler- ciliation Australia, recognised the
Russ Jackson, curriculum manager ated literacy, will be engaged as a leadership of women in the education
with Anangu Education Services in consultant with CDU and DEET of their children as role models and
South Australia, said he was converted to ensure the program meets the as teachers.
to the program’s merits after witness- challenges of its implementation
ing a child emerge from self-imposed in 100 NT schools by 2008.
exile in a closed classroom cupboard to above Djapirri Mununggirritj and Joan Collins
engage in dialogue about a book.
Origins NEWS 

Flying professors a first Imagine this. A remote Flying Professor Service™

Like its aeromedical namesake, a new based teaching and assessment Universities are increasingly squeezed
Flying Professor Service, just registered throughout the Northern Territory, of funds, and Ian Thynne says they
as a trademark by Charles Darwin the concept has a broader reach. are equally challenged to maintain
University, will facilitate access and academic quality and cost-effective
Architect of the Flying Professor Service
opportunities to people in regional options in broadening course offerings.
trademark, Professor Ian Thynne,
and remote areas — but with a ‘The idea is essentially that CDU can
adds that the service will extend
distinctly educational flavour. have a small inner core or hub of staff
the University’s course offerings in
in particular areas, yet still be able to
In the style of a ‘university without an Australia-wide and international
offer a full range of units by drawing
walls’, which already delivers programs sphere. ‘CDU will join forces with,
on an outer circle of staff from
in more than 110 locations throughout or at least draw from and contribute
elsewhere — and all potentially on
the Northern Territory, CDU will also to the capacity of other universities.’
a reciprocal basis.’
use the trademark to brand its off-
He says some CDU courses such as
shore programs. ‘Co-delivery of degree He says the trademark concept also
the Master of Public Governance,
programs with universities in China, embodies a figurative sense of ‘flying’
which offers students the option of
South East Asia and the Pacific are via different modes of transport and
taking electives from courses in other
on the drawing board,’ says executive communication. ‘Webcasting and other
Australian and international universi-
director of business development, online delivery modes are significant
ties, are already locked into the degree
Dr Claire Baxter. ‘We expect announce- to the idea.’ As reported in the June
programs of other institutions. ‘As this
ment of a new off-shore nursing degree edition of Origins, CDU’s external law
and other courses evolve over time,
program later in the year, which will program is Australia’s first ‘paperless’
the service could be used to fly in
be the first of many.’ law degree, delivered entirely via the
talent to teach particular units that
Internet through webcasts, podcasts
Although the Flying Professor Service’s we are not able to offer, just as we
and chat rooms.
‘fly in’ and ‘fly out’ element involves could fly out our own expertise to offer
workplace, home-place and campus- units in other university programs.’ O

What sets us apart makes us unique

issues, and it showcases our first-class In addition to the 2:18 minute overview,
facilities,’ says Vice Chancellor, Professor there are eight separate stories includ-
Helen Garnett. ing the CDU symposia series, a remote
printmaking workshop on Tiwi Islands,
‘We hope that those who watch it will
a snapshot of the training agreement
expand their view of the University,’
with Power and Water, and the jour-
says producer/director Cas Bennetto.
neys of two successful graduates.
‘We hope to show people what we do
at CDU, and what sets us apart from View the DVD online at
other universities. It successfully visiting/corp-dvd.html. To order a
A DVD about Charles Darwin University demonstrates the University’s com- copy of University without walls,
shows the extent of the University’s mitment to Indigenous participation, contact Corporate Communications
interaction with its community. industry partnerships, socially robust on 08 8946 7798.
‘In less than three minutes the DVD research, the visual arts, the training
provides a snapshot of everything needs of people across the Territory,
about us that’s unique, including our and the higher education facilities
willingness to work on the tough offered by the University.’ left Erik Penangk, an Anmatyerr Elder
 News Origins

The pioneering
trio of Darwin–
Strengthening ties Dili–Kupang
with eastern Indonesia Professor Carole Kayrooz repre-
sented Charles Darwin University
In a further boost to land management — the Indonesian provincial planning
at a meeting in Kupang, eastern
capacity for sustainable development board, with support from the AusAID
Indonesia, designed to establish a
in eastern Indonesia, Charles Darwin Public Sector Linkages Program.
Darwin–Dili–Kupang trilateral rela-
University hosted a study tour in June
The six-day intensive program covered tionship in education, tourism and
for the region’s senior land manag-
the use of satellite imagery for land the economy. The Democratic Repub-
ers. The action-packed program with
resource mapping and monitoring, lic of Timor-Leste’s Secretary-General
CSIRO, the Cooperative Research Centre
and Geographic Information System of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation,
for Tropical Savannas Management,
software for map making and spatial Nelson Santos, attended the pioneer-
NT Government and CDU focused on
analysis. In November, stage two of the ing talkfest, together with the East
sustainable land use. ‘Our Indonesian
workshop will occur onsite at offices Timorese Consul, Caetano Guterres.
visitors often remarked on the similari-
in Sumba, Flores and West Timor, with Local Kupang officials included
ties between eastern Indonesia and
further intensive training focusing on the Department of Foreign Affairs
northern Australia’s environment, and
the development of catchment scale Secretary General — and Darwin’s
its challenges,’ said Rohan Fisher, one
GIS applications for integrated rural Mayor, Peter Adamson, also flew to
of the tour’s organisers.
development. Kupang for the historic event.
In July, the School of Science and
ER Mapper, the global provider of ‘It’s a flagship project at the town
Primary Industries’ Rohan Fisher led a
geospatial imagery technologies, level, developing an economic
follow-up workshop in Kupang, where
has partnered with CDU on its Link- relationship between the three cities
participants from Sumba, Flores, West
ages program by offering discounted to manage the social and economic
Timor and Satya Wacana University in
licenses on their satellite imagery environment more effectively,’
Salatiga explored the use of satellite
software — a collective saving of Carole said. ‘We’re collaborating
imagery and GIS analysis for mapping
A$90,000 to eastern Indonesian to develop a field-based unit in
land development suitability. Rohan
government agencies. environmental management,
conducted the training for BAPPEDA
O which can be undertaken in our
award-winning Masters of Tropical
Management.’ She adds that eastern
East Timorese women awarded scholarships Indonesia and Timor-Leste offer
different environmental challenges,
Earlier in the year in Dili, Helen The catalyst for the scholarships and the opportunity for staff and
Haritos and Penny Wurm from the — offered to Jorgita Ferriera from Los students to cross-fertilise and
Australian Federation of University Palos and Irene Pereira Santos from move between the three locations
Women’s NT branch presented Bobonaro — was School of Science will deepen their knowledge and
inaugural scholarships to two and Primary Industries academic, practice. ‘We can learn a tremendous
women studying in the Faculty Tania Paul, who coordinated an amount from each other’s expertise
of Agriculture at Universidade ACIAR-funded project to rebuild and long-standing experience in
Nacional Timor Lorosae. the Faculty of Agriculture after managing natural environments and
independence. The scholarship addressing the economic needs of
‘The federation supports and
selection panel included Tania local communities in their regions.’
promotes education for women,
and six women colleagues from
and we recently extended our The first trilateral meeting resulted
the revitalised faculty.
scholarship program to include in plans for an annual conference
women studying at East Timor’s For further information on the held on a rotating basis in each city,
national university,’ Penny said. federation, or to donate to its and a Darwin City Council-hosted
‘We plan to expand the program scholarship program, conference at Charles Darwin
by recruiting regular donors, under visit University was mooted for 2007.
the auspices of the Dr Valerie Asche
Fund for AFUW-NT Scholarships.’
Origins NEWS 

Life in the fast lane

Automotive technology moves so fast Frost Motor Group also negotiated with A similar sense of philanthropy has
that it is no wonder the training system Ford to deliver a Fairmont Ghia to the been shown by the Honeycombe
struggles to remain in touch with Alice Springs campus for training, a Automotive Group, a firm that started
the changes. Trade apprentices and donation organised through the as a grocery shop in Queensland in
trainees at Charles Darwin University Centralian Ford dealership. 1913. Earlier this year Honeycombe
are able to keep up to speed with presented two new sparkling Hyundai
Tony Connole from Centralian Motors
the new breed of high-tech vehicles Accents to CDU’s radio station Territory
sees the donation as a ‘win-win’ for his
following the acquisition this year of a FM 104.1, a donation that celebrated
customers and the broader community.
prototype model of the latest Ford LTD. Hyundai’s 20th anniversary in Australia.
‘Our support for the training of local
The Frost Motor Group in Darwin apprentices goes back 20 years in Alice The Darwin dealership’s Adrian
persuaded Ford to donate the LTD, Springs, providing the latest models to Redman said that the company had
pride of the company’s fleet, for use in CDU for training purposes translates been so impressed with the response
the automotive trade courses. The car into satisfied clients who will benefit to marketing its cars on Territory FM
will be used in all facets of training from highly qualified mechanics, that it now regarded it as the premier
ranging from steering, suspension and trained up on all the latest technology.’ station for its promotional campaigns.
brakes, to advanced air-conditioning
Automotive lecturer, Tony Harding, The vehicles named 104.1 Territory
and the automatic transmission
adds that hands-on access to such Storms 1 and 2 have been roaming the
controlled by the rapidly-evolving
advanced technology will benefit both streets of Darwin and Palmerston giving
electronic technology. The LTD was
teaching staff and trainees. The total away sponsor product samples in what’s
built as a prototype for testing and
value of both cars is about $120,000, being promoted as ‘on road offloads’.
evaluation, and instead of being
reflecting the commitment by Ford to
destroyed, was passed on to the O
automotive training in the Territory.
campus workshops.

right CDU’s Desert Rose

Sustainable technology scoops engineering awards

On a perfect July evening at the University’s Casuarina Through the Bushlight program, more than 80 remote
campus, the 2006 Engineering Excellence Awards highlighted Indigenous communities can now access reliable and
the success of CDU’s Desert Rose Project, which continues affordable electricity. Communities make decisions about
to develop sustainable technology for motors worldwide, their energy-use priorities, and Bushlight assists with
from electric bicycles and scooters to racing cars. Lawrence developing energy plans, as well as delivering robust
Stubbs, the project’s leader, was deservedly declared facilities that maximise the options for using renewable
Professional Engineer of the Year. energy-based services. The Bushlight program has set
new national and international benchmarks for the cost
The NT’s top award — the 2006 Engineering Excellence
effective, equitable and sustainable provision of energy
Award — was shared by the Centre for Appropriate
services to remote communities.
Technology’s Bushlight — Light for Life in the Bush and
the Darwin Liquefied Natural Gas Plant. O
 News Origins

Keeping our brains alive

‘I feel as if I’m living in madness.’ factors as a major cause. As Marilyn as a teaching and learning centre,
Albert, who visited Australia in and at a later stage, as a research
It’s a refrain heard often enough
September from the John Hopkins centre offering bursaries, scholarships
by people living with dementia,
University stressed, ‘We need funding and fellowships.
or Alzheimer’s disease.
to increase research.’
‘It’s a first,’ says Carole. ‘It covers all
As Australia ages, the experts say
But this may be about to change. Under aspects of health, medical and social
there will be a three-fold increase in
the leadership of Professor Carole impacts.’ She adds that the University
dementia in the next 40+ years from
Kayrooz, the Faculty of Education, will utilise existing units to positively
the current 200,000 cases. Researchers
Health and Science will be taking part exploit new research findings.
at the University of Southern California
in a $1.8 million program over three While the central hub will be located
have found the risk of developing
years to establish a Dementia Training in South Australia, she says that
Alzheimer’s disease is up to 80 per cent
Study Centre for health professionals. collaborative strategic planning is
genetic; in other words, if one parent
now underway. ‘It’s very much a
suffers, the offspring are in the four Largely a Northern Territory – South
networked organisation intended
times greater risk category of Australia initiative, the School is
to solve a looming health problem.’
developing the disease. partnering with the Dementia Educa-
tion and Training Institute of Australia, The project team is made up of
A staggering 1000 cases are diagnosed
Flinders Medical Centre, Flinders Dr Deborah West, Dr Al Yonovitz
in Australia every week. And there are
University, and the SA Department and Janie Mason
currently no clinical options for dealing
of Health, Aged and Community
with dementia, even though some O
Services SA and NT Inc. The project
scientists predict environmental
is funded to develop curriculum

Research to advise on welfare reform pathways

When the federal government of $93,000 to investigate the role of equal emphasis on providers
announced its welfare reforms in 2005 vocational training in the Welfare to and clients. ‘Training is an integral
to make the system ‘more sustainable Work reforms. Spanning 12 months, component, so we’re determining
and to increase workforce participation the research will capture issues faced what role training plays in moving
for welfare recipients’, it polarised com- by the three client groups — single from unemployment to employment,’
munity views. Melbourne Citymission’s parents, mature aged jobseekers, says John Guenther. ‘It could be related
Michael Horn says, ‘We have found and people with a disability — to see to literacy and numeracy, or general
that disadvantaged job seekers are ‘what works’ in transitioning people employability skills, but we will
motivated to secure a better future from welfare to work, using training also be looking at individual and
and strive to regain control over their as a tool. personalised packages.’
lives,’ but adds that ‘too many high-
The Learning Research Group’s The final report will inform strategic
needs jobseekers are missing out
Professor Ian Falk, Dr Allan Arnott planners and implementers of the
on meaningful support, vocational
and Dr John Guenther are coordinating welfare reform program, which was
training and skills development’.
the research from CDU with an allocated $3.6 billion over four years
Enter CDU’s Learning Research Australia-wide team, which will in the last federal budget.
Group, which has just been awarded develop a set of six ‘intervention
a National Centre for Vocational cases’ to demonstrate effective service
Education Research funding package delivery and training provision, with an
Origins NEWS 

The secret life of birds

The social, mating and nesting behaviour of birds in the
Top End’s savannas country are under the spotlight as
part of a joint biological research project between Charles
Darwin University and Japan’s Kyushu University — one of
Japan’s leading universities, founded in 1911.

Australia is famous in the ornithological some species in the Top End, where the rainfall seasonality and fire affect the
world for its avian ‘cooperative breed- annual dry season drought results in a social dynamics and helping behaviour
ers’ — species that live in extended scarcity of larger insects, and fires often of tropical cooperative breeders. Pre-
families, in which most males and ravage the landscape before and during liminary results from this collaborative
females choose to stay at ‘home’ the breeding season. research were presented at the Birds
with their parents and help raise Australia Members Day symposium
These adverse conditions are expected
their siblings. at CDU in May.
to make breeding tough for one of the
These birds have been extensively study species, the highly social Grey- A Memorandum of Academic
studied in south-east Australia, where crowned Babbler, in which parents are Cooperation (MoC) has been
the relatively mild climate ensures a incapable of raising offspring alone, signed between CDU’s Faculty of
year-round supply of insect food, and and up to six helpers are required Education, Health and Science and
a long life span means there is no rush to successfully raise one chick. the Kyushu University’s Faculty of
for birds to leave home and breed for Science to formally recognise the
The research, led by Dr Richard Noske
themselves. But the same cooperative ongoing collaboration.
and Assistant Professor Kazuhiro
breeding patterns are also found in
Eguchi, is the first to investigate how O

photograph Barry Ledwidge

Multi-million dollar TRACK on track

A new multi-million dollar research The TRACK research hub will bring ‘Indigenous knowledge is of
hub, Tropical Rivers and Coastal together more than 50 leading tropical paramount importance to natural
Knowledge (TRACK), will be located river and coastal researchers and man- resource management in northern
at Charles Darwin University to focus agers from 10 agencies in a partnership Australia,’ said Joe Morrison, executive
on the sustainability of rivers and that includes Griffith University, the officer of the North Australia Indig-
catchments — from the Cape York University of Western Australia, CSIRO, enous Land and Sea Management
Peninsula in Queensland to Cape the North Australian Indigenous Land Alliance. ‘The involvement of NAILSMA
Leveque in Western Australia. and Sea Management Alliance, and in the TRACK consortium will ensure
CRC Tropical Savannas Management. substantial Indigenous involvement
Renewed interest in waterways of the
in all programs.’ The research hub will
tropical north was boosted in July when The University’s Dr Michael Douglas
also investigate environmental impacts
Environment Minister, Ian Campbell, and Professor Stephen Garnett led the
of proposed developments and identify
announced $8 million for the estab- research proposal. ‘We have an historic
opportunities to develop genuinely
lishment of the world-class research opportunity to get it right in northern
sustainable enterprises in the region.
hub. Funded from the Commonwealth Australia and to avoid mistakes made
Environmental Research Facility (CERF) elsewhere,’ Michael Douglas says. Stephen Garnett said the latest funding
program over the next four years, it ‘But to do this requires a much boost will provide ‘more opportuni-
complements an earlier investment of better understanding of how Australia’s ties for Indigenous employment
$3 million from Land & Water Australia. tropical rivers are sustainable in and collaboration. It will also mean
the long term.’ opportunities for more post-doctoral
In September, the Prime Minister
and graduate research projects’.
announced a further $5 million as A critical feature of the research will
its ‘centrepiece’ investment from the be engagement with Indigenous people, O
National Water Commission, bringing who own and manage large parts of
the Commonwealth Government’s the region’s catchments and coasts.
total funding to $16 million.
10 health research Origins

defining moment turning point sweet achievement ultimate goal
Reading How the Moving to Darwin Establishing Australia’s Help produce research that improves the health
other half dies by in 1994 to start first rheumatic heart of people, particularly children, in developing
Susan George. doctorate studies disease control program. countries and other settings of poverty,
at MSHR. including Indigenous Australians.

Top ten bright spark leads at Menzies

Just named as one of Australia’s top 10 young scientific minds,
professor jonathan carapetis takes the helm at the Menzies School of Health Research.

Watching patients being infected Born in Port Pirie, South Australia in 1961, Jonathan’s family
with AIDS because the blood used moved to the United States where his father was stationed
in transfusions could not be tested as an engineer with the World Bank, but often travelling
text was another defining moment for to Tanzania and Uganda. The seeds of desire to work with
Penny Baxter Professor Jonathan Carapetis. This disadvantaged people in developing countries were first
experience in East Africa was among planted in conversations with his father. ‘Among many
Barry Ledwidge the influences that spurred Jonathan stories, he told us once how he had been held at gun point
to dedicate his career to improving by rebel soldiers, and after that the World Bank barred
the health of children living in poverty. further visits to Uganda, which was at the time of Idi Amin.’
Recently appointed as Director of the
When he was a teenager Jonathan’s family returned to
Menzies School of Health Research
Melbourne where he tossed up whether to study law,
at Charles Darwin University, he is
engineering or medicine — he chose medicine at the
now fighting the near third world
University of Melbourne. It was there, in what Jonathan
health conditions of Indigenous
describes as ‘a bit of serendipity’ that he worked with
people in the Northern Territory.
Dr Bart Currie — then a medical registrar and now an
infectious disease expert and a professor of medicine
in the CDU Menzies School of Health Research.
Origins health research 11

As the desire to help marginalised people took root, Jonathan Furthering his paediatric infectious disease training at the
was drawn to East Africa where, as a medical student, he Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Jonathan returned to
worked in local hospitals. At a hospital in Tanzania in the Melbourne, and in 1999, established the Centre for Interna-
mid-1980s, he faced one of the most horrific situations to tional Child Health with Professor Kim Mulholland. Located
confront any doctor. It was AIDS — a disease that killed, at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, the Centre
had no way of being treated, and was transmitted between focused on tackling diseases in the Asia Pacific region
hospital patients, undetected. ‘The people called it the including Fiji, Vanuatu and Tonga.
“slim disease” because of its atrophying qualities.’
During his time with the Centre for International Child
‘In Tanzania there was no way to test the blood that was Health, Jonathan’s zeal for leading and inspiring young
being used for transfusions in the hospital,’ Jonathan medical researchers emerged. He helped the Centre
explains. ‘It was terrible because innocent people lying in attract $15 million in research grants, won a National
the hospital were getting infected with AIDS.’ The hopeless- Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) career
ness of that situation propelled Jonathan to dedicate his development award, and an Australasian Society for
career to making a difference for disadvantaged people Infectious Diseases award.
suffering poverty and disease. ‘I am motivated by the
By this stage a renowned epidemiologist, Jonathan
whole issue of social injustice where we have the majority
found himself drawn back to Indigenous health issues.
of people in poverty, and the gap between the middle
He took up the position of Director of the Menzies School
class and the poor is getting bigger. There are significant
of Health Research earlier this year and moved his family
health impacts of that situation.’
— wife and paediatrician Sue Skull and two young
So he decided to start by helping children. daughters — to Darwin.
‘I am trying to give kids a better start in life,’ he says. Professor Carapetis was recently named by Cosmos
‘In some countries 10 per cent of children die by the age magazine as one of Australia’s top ten scientific minds
of five, and almost all of those deaths are preventable.’ under the age of 45. Vice Chancellor Research, Professor
Bob Wasson, says it is important that our best and brightest
Jonathan undertook specialist studies in paediatrics at the
young researchers are recognised for their outstanding
Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne in 1991 and was
work that is helping to change lives around the world.
appointed chief resident in 1993. After training in infectious
‘We are delighted to have someone of Professor Carapetis’s
diseases, he became interested in Indigenous health and
standing as Director of Menzies — one of the research
began his PhD research into ‘group A’ streptococcal diseases
schools within CDU’s Institute of Advanced Studies.’
at the Menzies School of Health Research, alongside his
He adds that the University is gaining a national and
former instructor Professor Bart Currie.
international reputation for its research excellence in the
It was while working in remote Indigenous communities specialist areas of infectious diseases, tropical and desert
in the Northern Territory and at Royal Darwin Hospital, knowledge, and Indigenous issues. ‘The Territory offers
that he realised the health of Aboriginal Territorians was many opportunities for cutting edge research and field
similar to some of the worst health statistics in developing work as it presents unique challenges for young researchers
countries. ‘Indigenous people have appalling health eager to tackle some of our most pressing global issues.’
statistics. I had never seen a case of rheumatic fever
during my medical training in Melbourne, but I had spent
a year on a research project looking at the streptococcus
organism that causes rheumatic fever. In industrialised
countries only a small fraction of one per cent of all
children get rheumatic fever, but three to four per cent web byte
of all young Indigenous kids in the Territory have the Find out more about Jonathan Carapetis’s research projects at
disease. And this is completely preventable.’ and discover why the Menzies School of
Health Research is at the forefront of medical research in Australia.
His research revealed a link between streptococcus skin
infections, commonly caused by the scabies mite, and the The Science magazine Cosmos featured a profile of Jonathan Carapetis
potentially fatal rheumatic heart disease. It was known (September/August 2006) as a 2006 Cosmos Bright Spark, one of ten chosen
already that streptococcus throat infections could cause by the magazine’s prestigious editorial advisory board. The Director of
rheumatic fever, but Jonathan’s research identified skin Menzies School of Health Research and renowned epidemiologist is featured
alongside physicists, an environmental engineer, medical researchers,
infections as a cause. This discovery sparked a new program
a molecular scientist, a geologist and an astronomer.
to treat skin infections and so reduce rheumatic heart
Another gong in September celebrated Jonathan Carapetis’s research on
disease in Indigenous communities across the Territory.
streptococcal diseases in a public health context. The Federal Government’s
His work led to the introduction of Australia’s first rheumatic 10 of the Best booklet, launched by the Minister for Health and Ageing,
heart disease control program in the NT — home to the Tony Abbott, on 1 September, highlights successful health and medical
highest rate of rheumatic fever in the world. research projects funded through the NHMRC.
12 regional Origins

It’s no ivory tower of academia in the scrub

Former Vice Chancellor of the University
of Canberra, don aitkin, ruminates on the
origins of the Territory’s only university.

Since my own undergraduate days at the University of

New England, the original role model of the regional
university, I have had a soft spot for the bush campus.
And I have seen a few of them in action, most recently
Charles Darwin University. What I saw confirmed my
view that regional universities are a most important
part of contemporary Australian life.
It happens that I had a chance encounter with this Northern Territory institution at
its very birth. Some thirty years ago I was invited to do a lecture tour of the Territory’s
main centres by Dr John Eedle, who then rejoiced in the title of ‘Planning Vice-
Chancellor of the University of the Northern Territory’. The offer was irresistible: all
expenses paid, abundant hospitality, and my choice of what to talk about. So I set off.
Everyone I met wanted a university, and they wanted it NOW. The Northern Territory
administration was sympathetic, but the Commonwealth Government thought the
idea was completely premature. It was a familiar disagreement.
When we formed the Australian nation a century ago, one of the central assumptions
was that all Australians were entitled to the same level of public services, no matter
where they lived. But in this instance, the Commonwealth thought that students
should precede the establishment of a university; the Territory argued that a
university would change the culture, encouraging kids to finish high school and then
go on to university. They also wanted their kids educated there — not in Adelaide,
Melbourne or Sydney.
Territorians tend to want to do things their way, and are unafraid of what the nation
thinks. After all, they staged what is arguably the third rebellion in Australian history
in 1913, forcing the Commonwealth to send a cruiser to Darwin to protect the
embattled Administrator. They started building their university as soon as they could,
despite the annoyance of the federal government. John Eedle drove me into the bush
outside Darwin and showed me the scrub on which the university would rise. I had
seen a few of these scrub sites before, and I had the usual mixture of excitement and
vicarious dread.
I’ve been back to the university a few times since, and I like it more each time. Its role
in Territory life is fundamental, as the early visionaries predicted. One in ten people in
the Northern Territory are enrolled in some kind of course run by the university, which
manages all levels of post-secondary education and produces many of the Territory’s
professionals. All the members of one large Aboriginal family from Arnhem Land, as I
remember, received their diplomas at a recent graduation ceremony. The university is
also indispensable in terms of music, and very important in art: its Northern Editions
printmaking workshop has helped Aboriginal artists transform an old art form into a
new one, and to their own success and profit.
Charles Darwin University is a key part of the Territory’s future, and has the sort of
working partnership with the NT Government that reminds me of those I learned
about in Thailand. Such regional universities deserve great respect for their nation-
building role, which I suspect may become even more important in the next 20 years.
Another version of this commentary was published in the Australian Financial Review on 19 June 2006.
Courtesy the University of Canberra.

Community engagement bears fruit

The so called third tier of social responsibility has driven the bottom line of top 500
companies for well over a decade, and is also a thriving strategic directive for most
universities across Australia.

Universities are calling this third tier activity ‘community The University’s sponsorship guidelines rank CE as a
engagement’ (CE). Lecturers, researchers and executive viable benchmark for student recruitment marketing
staff at CDU have been engaging with business, industry, and public relations activities. ‘If we can align ourselves
government and the community sector for some time, with a high profile community organisation, activity or
and students engage in community events as part of festival, and benefit from that association, then community
their courses. Community engagement is enshrined in engagement becomes a perceptible measurement tool
CDU’s vision, which includes ‘taking advantage of the to evaluate the benefits of any sponsorship,’ says public
unique geography and demography of the NT to benefit relations manager, Jennifer Cahill.
the whole community through education, research and
In 2006 the University partnered with the Darwin Festival
community engagement’.
sponsoring internationally renowned Melbourne-based
Vice Chancellor, Professor Helen Garnett, claims there is performance group, Strange Fruit. CDU also played host
no other university in Australia that is as embedded in its to the globally acclaimed pianist Gil Sullivan, whose
community. As the major tertiary education provider in a Mozart piano concerts were performed at the Casuarina
region one-sixth the size of Australia, and with a mission campus during the Festival.
to be the regional leader in education and research,
‘Association with an important cultural Territory event
CDU’s strategic directions are rooted in its community.
which encourages social, educational and artistic diversity
The University delivers its courses and programs to 110
is a terrific opportunity for the University to position itself
sites across the Territory, forging alliances, joint ventures
favourably in the community,’ Jennifer says. ‘It allows us to
and relationships with the community wherever it goes.
have a presence at a major free, outdoor community event,
The Australian University Community Engagement Alliance which in turn allows us to market the University to the
(AUCEA) sums up CE as ‘a two-way relationship in which the community and student prospects.’
university forms partnerships with the community that yield
mutually beneficial outcomes’.
‘Community engagement benefits all involved,’ says The Australian Universities Community Engagement Alliance (AUCEA) is
Linda Cuttriss, charged with the CE portfolio at CDU. the ‘leading forum for cutting edge dialogue and debate on the practice and
value of community engagement’. CDU will host the 4th Annual AUCEA
‘It’s a multi-dimensional relationship: you, your students,
Conference 2007 — The scholarship of community engagement:
your university and the community.’ Australia’s way forward — in Alice Springs, 2-4 July 2007.
Community engagement is strengthened when University Download the conference brochure
staff appreciate the synergies between their programs aucea07.pdf. To be included in the AUCEA database or register interest
and the community — such as offering their expertise in presenting at the 2007 conference, email

to the University of the Third Age program; and the web byte
long-term effects of building the University’s reputation For more information of CDU’s community engagement programs,
and positioning it favourably in the community.

above Strange Fruit perform The Field at the Darwin Botanical Garden as part of the Darwin Festival in August.
text Cas Bennetto photograph Simon Furlong
14 indigenous research Origins

early field work turning point sweet achievement ultimate wish
Living in a shack Overturning the anthropological Launching the To see that there is a space for
with Tiwi teenagers prejudice against organised Ngaripirliga’ajirri and Let’s kids ‘to be’ — whatever their
on Melville Island, action: discovering that structured Start programs in Top End circumstances, capacity to
participating in their interventions to assist children schools, helping to build achieve, or their difficulties; to
lives, and writing and families can be meaningful; a team, and gearing up see that parents have the chance
to survive. can be made to work. for the long haul. to succeed in raising their kids.

He’s a man with a finely-grained,

ultra-theoretical imagination
Nicolas Rothwell concludes that anthropologist gary robinson has emerged as one of
the more subtle and relentless social analysts of the meshing, clashing world of Tiwi
culture in Australia’s north.

From his post at Charles Darwin When he was a young man in the late 1980s, at the end of
University’s School for Social and Policy a long research stay on the Tiwi Islands, Gary reached a
Research, Dr Gary Robinson oversees hinge point in his life: it posed the conjunctions and
two unusual projects, which, in their dilemmas that have shaped his intellectual course ever
own way, are products of Tiwi society. since. He had formed close friendships with several young
photograph Ngaripiliga’ajirri is an early intervention Tiwi men, who were the key informants in his studies; he
Meaghan Bryant program for Tiwi children at risk, set had met a Tiwi woman, who would later become his life
up in the late 1990s under the ill-fated partner; he had found a society of sufficient complexity
Tiwi Health Board, while the Let’s to satisfy his finely-grained, ultra-theoretical imagination.
Start program, funded by the Com- ‘It was hard to wrench myself out of that context,’ he says.
monwealth and Territory Governments, And although it was ‘impossible to leave’, he was driven
assists younger children attending by the choices before him. ‘I knew I had to go back to
schools on the Tiwi Islands and in Sydney and get my PhD.’
Darwin. These are somewhat practical,
hands-on ventures for a scholar of
Gary’s formation.
Origins indigenous research 15

The Tiwi, he says, don’t dwell on failure or While on this trajectory, Gary has increasingly been
crisis; they throw themselves at life, they engaged in a cool assessment of the various well-meaning
put themselves at risk, they aren’t averse programs delivered by government agencies and health
to the urgent possibility of experience. services to the Tiwi. This sets him somewhat apart from
the oddly thin tradition of Tiwi Islands ethnographical
studies — a field inaugurated by Hart and Pilling almost
half a century ago. They were chiefly interested in depicting
the old, highly charged order of Tiwi politics, in which men
spent most of their energies coalition-building and wife-
hunting. The successors to this line of study have tended
to maintain the barrier between researcher and informant’s
world that Gary’s own life, and work, calls so spectacularly
into question.
His PhD on the young men of the Islands, Dependence and
conflict, served as a prelude not just for conventional
Gary grew up in the Adelaide Hills, academic papers, but for a number of unusually emotive,
before studying at the University personal recollections of Tiwi individuals. One of these
of NSW in the late 1970s. He won a was a brief account of events leading to the suicide of his
scholarship to Frankfurt University, friend during the early research days, ‘Living in sheds’.
where he then threw himself into the Another was the startling essay, ‘No way to be — violent
language and clotted thought world and suicidal youth’ — an account of the death of another
of European sociology, with supervi- young Tiwi man, his brother-in-law, which in its early
sion from that moral sage of post-war paragraphs, contains a summation of Robinson’s views
Germany, Jurgen Habermas. He also on where government and mainstream society go wrong
became strongly interested in psychoa- in the Indigenous domain. Few who read these sentences
nalysis and the study of dreams in the will forget their lapidary quality.
context of anthropological research
‘I think there is a deafness in current discourse — a lack
— and this came to play a critical role
of orientation to meaning, to the things that are real and
in the evolution of his research among
meaningful influences in people’s lives. There is, as a result,
adolescents on the Tiwi Islands.
an inability to communicate about those things. Politicians,
He was attracted by the resilience interventionists, researchers, healers, black and white, talk
of the people, their humour, and the a language of empowerment and development: this means,
social intricacies of their world. Gary firstly, empowerment and betterment of the structures they
came to understand the community’s serve and their capacity to deliver meaning for them.’
youth, ‘by hanging out with them and
Gary insists, then, on the need to listen. He has been listen-
their families, hunting, kicking a foot-
ing, in his wry way, all through the time he has been busy
ball sharing stories, and talking about
running a research school and delivering social programs.
their dreams, their angers and fears’.
The book of his life still looms on the horizon: it may be,
Young Tiwi, since that generation, have
of course, the detailed social story of his friend who suicided.
been acutely exposed to the tensions
between the retreating traditional Some kind of personal resonance, beyond the developed
and encroaching modern worlds. ties of life, seems to explain the special connection between
Gary Robinson and the Tiwi. When he speaks of the many
Then, in 1987, came a marking event:
qualities that appeal to him in today’s fast-shifting Tiwi
one of Gary’s first close friends killed
society, the attributes he singles out first are all vivid ones.
himself. It was among the first of
The Tiwi, he says, don’t dwell on failure or crisis; they throw
suicides on the Islands — there would
themselves at life, they put themselves at risk, they aren’t
later be a plague of suicides through
averse to the urgent possibility of experience.
the 1990s to the present. ‘It’s hard, of
course,’ Gary says, ‘to assess the impact Perhaps, then, after all his journeying and self-transformations,
on oneself of something like that. the co-director of the University’s School of Social and Policy
It was very close. A lot of strain and Research has found a certain home.
self-doubt and anxiety came from that
experience.’ It also helped bind Gary,
emotionally, to the islands. Today, he
is the parent and step-parent of Tiwi
web byte
children and grandchildren, as well as See
an academic interpreter of their world. for Gary Robinson’s publications and research interests.
16 indigenous research Origins

Politicians and policy architects

fail to rate successes of programs
for Indigenous children text Will Martin

Barely two weeks after the ABC’s Lateline program in May

aired Magistrate Nanette Roger’s shocking reports of sexual
abuse in Alice Springs and gang violence in Wadeye, Dr
Robinson was attending the second National Parenting
Conference in Adelaide (May 25-27). He had been invited
to deliver a keynote speech with Yomei Jones on the
development and implementation of Let’s Start, an early
intervention program that has been especially adapted
to the social and cultural context of Indigenous children
and their parents living in Darwin and on the Tiwi Islands.
Along with Bonnie Moss, Yomei Jones has played an integral
role in delivering the program. She has been selected by
the Department of Education, Employment and Training
to participate in the Indigenous Leadership Forum and
Network, and has been awarded a scholarship to enhance
the context of bicultural education.

above The central point that emerges from their paper, Early
Despite the recent media focus on
Roger Tipungwuti at work intervention with Aboriginal children: parenting, context and
violence and sexual abuse in remote
below diversity in North Australia, is that myriad styles of parenting
Indigenous communities, little atten-
Lively children from the Tiwis are reflected in the diversity of contemporary Indigenous
tion has been paid to evidence-based
people’s cultural and social contexts. Parents are simply
intervention programs that assist
one point in an extended family network that shares
children and their parents in dealing
responsibility for children. The concept of the family unit
with the trauma associated with vio-
is inadequate to describe the situation, for according to
lence, sexual abuse, substance abuse
Gary Robinson, ‘Children are raised in a wide variety of
and suicide. Yet a report published in
settings — they live in the households of grandmothers;
June by Dr Gary Robinson revealed
with married or cohabiting parents; fostered to parents
that as many as 80 per cent of children
of siblings, grandparents or sometimes paternal kin;
participating in Ngaripiliga’ajirri, an
and in arrangements which may be temporary or long
early intervention program on the
term’. He stresses that children’s developmental needs
Tiwi Islands, showed some decline
must be supported within these relationship contexts.
in problem behaviours and up to 50
per cent a marked decline. With the The success of early intervention programs like Let’s Start
rhetoric of politicians focusing on is partly because both children and their parents attend
law and order issues, and the media the workshops. At present, there are schools from Nguiu,
on overcrowding in housing, policy Millner, Wanguri, Wulagi, Jingili, Nakara, Wagaman,
architects have failed to pay sufficient Nightcliff and Palmerston participating in the program,
attention to the systemic causes of to which children with behavioural problems are referred
difficulty, glibly described as ‘social by preschool or early childhood teachers, family members
dysfunction’. Gary Robinson adds that and childcare workers. The program has already been
‘they’ve also failed to access the very delivered in the second semester of 2006, and two groups
positive results of evidence-based of between six and eight families have registered interest
above intervention programs that support for semesters three and four. The School for Social Policy
Gary Robinson with families, enhance children’s develop- and Research recently recruited a community development
children in Nguiu
ment and aid the successful integration officer to increase the rates of participation from families
of children into the education system’. living in Darwin’s marginal Indigenous communities.

antennae web byte

Commencement dates for the 2007 Let’s Start Information about the Let’s Start program and enrolment details
program can be obtained from Bonnie Moss on can be found at the Let’s Start website
08 8946 7001 or
Origins economic gEography research 17

turning point right now burning question ultimate wish
Arriving at the University Building my understanding In the ‘new economy’, what Working with communities
of New South Wales one of the Northern Territory’s will changes in policy and other and governments to foster and
day in 1998 as a visiting unique physical, social economic environments mean develop the changing economic
fellow, realising I wanted and economic geography. to the economic geographies landscape of the Territory.
to work in Australia. of the Northern Territory?

Dr Jiaping Wu from Shanghai to Darwin

The tower blocks that dominate the skyline of Pudong, as ‘special economic zones’ (SEZs) and ‘economic and
the new central business district of Shanghai located on technological zones’ (ETDZs) to enable capitalist activity
the east side of the Huangpu River, have come to symbolise within restricted geographical limits. These new zones
China’s increasing economic prosperity and its mark as a led to the birth of new cities such as the Hongquai region,
global player. On the west side of the river stands the famous originally planned as a ‘foreign consulate area’ with an
Bund district, a parade of neo-classical skyscrapers and international school, but transformed by investors into
Art Deco buildings — a monument to Shanghai’s past as a high-rise precinct. ‘The eventual land uses, planning
a financial centre and cosmopolitan city before the Commu- requirements and restrictions in the area were significantly
nist central planning period of 1949–1978. Separated by the different from those intended,’ Jiaping says.
gulf of history, the river mirrors two distinct and conflicting
Jiaping Wu’s recent work on Shanghai arises from his time
moments in the economic development of Shanghai.
as a research fellow at the University of Melbourne (2005),
Dr Jiaping Wu, the new research fellow in economic geog- and from his PhD thesis completed at the University of South
raphy at CDU’s School for Social and Policy Research, has Australia’s School of Natural and Built Environment (2004).
recently shown that the urban development of Shanghai in The thesis charted the impact of foreign investment on
the post–1978 period is chiefly driven by huge increases in Shanghai’s urban planning and socio-economic development.
direct foreign investment flowing into the city. In a recent
Before arriving in Australia in 1999, Jiaping was a lecturer
paper, ‘Globalisation and the emerging commercial and
and deputy head of the School of Natural Resource and
office spaces in Shanghai’ (co-authored with Professor Tony
Environmental Science at Guizhou Normal University in
Barnes), Jiaping notes that during the central planning period,
China. He has extensive teaching and research experience
the state invested heavily in the production sector while
across a range of interconnected disciplines, including
controlling private consumption. The policy led to an increase
economic geography, international development studies,
of industrial buildings in the city’s residential sectors. But
as well as urban and regional planning.
since the 1990s, this trend has been reversed by the influx
of foreign direct investment, which has increased from At the beginning of 2006, Jiaping moved to Darwin to
US$1,380 million during the 1980s to US$52.8 billion in 2004. pursue his research interests at Charles Darwin University,
where he will be formulating projects under the ‘People,
Jiaping’s research into the urban and regional planning
Place and Economy’ theme area at the School for Social
of Shanghai is novel because it draws upon empirical
and Policy Research.
knowledge of Shanghai’s social and economic geography,
linking it to both the planning decisions made by local O
governments and the entrepreneurial activity of foreign antennae web byte
investors. Of key importance is the fact that in 1980 and Dr Jiaping Wu is currently co-writing Dr Jiaping Wu’s recent publications
1984, the central government introduced what are known a book with McGee, Lin and Wang and research interests are available
titled The production of urban at
space in China in an era of profiles/profile_Wu_Jiaping.htm
text Will Martin photograph Barry Ledwidge
market socialism, 1978-2003.
18 timor-leste Origins

Rebuilding Timor-Leste
Inescapably, Darwin and Dili have a shared future. The two cities occupy
opposite sides of a unique frontier. On the Darwin side, Australia is a wealthy,
modern, stable democracy. On the Dili side, Timor-Leste is a desperately poor
new state, struggling to survive after its second major crisis in seven years.

Charles Darwin University has a history of fertile

engagement with the Timorese. In the crisis of 1999,
the University provided programs and support
for students among the 1500 Timorese evacuated
to Darwin. Since 2000, we have been involved in
a number of projects in Timor-Leste. We have a The international community is returning to
memorandum of understanding with the National Timor-Leste after the terrible events of May and
University of Timor-Leste and in 2004, delivered a June this year, and the task of building a viable state
USAID-funded graduate course; the graduates have with stable and effective institutions will start again.
since been engaged as local partners in international CDU is again delivering capacity-building programs
projects concerned with land title and land dispute in Timor-Leste — and one of our projects, led by Dr
resolution. The CDU-NT Government partnership Merrilyn Wasson, is featured in the following pages.
has supported professional development programs In his opinion piece, Dr Dennis Shoesmith questions
for the Timorese in nursing, human resources and Australia’s determination to lead the peace keeping
public sector governance. mission in Timor-Leste, rather than a UN-led force.
Origins TIMOR-leste 19

Beauty and struggle

mapping tourism in Timor-Leste

A nation starved by 400 years of colonial rule and ongoing civil unrest might seem
unlikely to spend half a million dollars on marine science and tourism research,
reports andrew bock. But the government of Timor-Leste knows its assets.

One of the world’s largest whale ‘Timor-Leste is an exquisite country,’ Merrilyn exclaims,
nurseries, superb coral reefs, ‘and it’s got a perfect morphology for tourism.’ A high
underwater caves, offshore surf mountain range runs down the centre of the island and
and undeveloped coastlines give cascades into hills that undulate to a coastline ringed
Timor-Leste, the world’s newest by five nautical miles of coral reef. The lower hills have
nation, enormous potential for been badly deforested but most of the coast is pristine.
marine based eco-tourism.
Merrilyn admits that Australians avoid the country because
Tourism infrastructure in the former the Australian media associates East Timor with ‘perpetual
East Timor currently consists of one trouble’, but she is quick to point out that for Europeans,
national park, a colonial style hotel the island is still on a popular backpacker route from
in each major town and a few isolated Amsterdam through Asia to Darwin. She says Timor-Leste
backpacker lodges across the country. is ‘bound to succeed as a tourist destination’ for two reasons.
The island’s fishing industry has export ‘It is at the epicentre of the Indo-Pacific Coral Triangle so
photographs potential but currently struggles to the corals are among the world’s best — and the whale
Nick Hobgood
feed its own people. Centuries of and dolphin nursery in the Savu Sea to the north makes
deforestation are causing river-borne it probably the world’s best place for cetacean watching.’
pollution to fishing waters and coral
The Savu Sea is a breeding nursery for dolphins and six
reefs on both the north and south
species of whale including Blue Whales, one of the most
coasts. And Indonesian militia have
endangered species in the world. Deep ocean trenches
demolished fishing infrastructure
that run past the south and north tips of Timor are
and a harbour.
‘cetacean freeways’. Whales and dolphins come up from
Commencing in October 2006, six the trenches to the island’s surrounding reefs to feed.
research teams from Charles Darwin The East Timorese have no history of whaling so ‘there’s
University will employ advanced a lot of confidence in the species as they do their feeding
mapping techniques to find the and circle the island,’ Merrilyn says.
best sites for national parks and
The north-eastern tip of Timor-Leste, around Jaco,
marine parks, tourism infrastructure
has the country’s only national park and is heading for
and small scale fishing industries.
world heritage listing, according to Dr Wasson. ‘Near Jaco,
The extraordinary, multi-disciplinary
a normal swimmer can dive down into caves and see
project will employ 12 Australian
beautiful rock paintings of about 20,000 years antiquity.’
university experts and as many
One research team will study how to best establish
experts from Timor-Leste. It includes
appropriate tourism infrastructure here and along the
anthropology, cetacean, tourism,
northern coastline between Jaco and Dili.
fisheries, and underwater video
and marine mapping experts. It is Charles Darwin University has Australia’s only centre
led by project founder, Dr Merrilyn of excellence in object-based image analysis, and
Wasson, from the School for Dr Guy Boggs and Dr Waqar Amad will be responsible
Environmental Research. for broad-scale marine mapping, using software that
20 timor-leste Origins

The project was a coup for CDU and for Dr Merrilyn Wasson,
who was the regional coordinator of the Arafura Timor Seas
Experts Forum for over four years. She spent several months
of each year in Timor-Leste and developed close relations
with ministers and government representatives. In February,
the Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, now
Deputy Prime Minister Estanislau da Silva, personally
approached Merrilyn and asked her to submit this massive
research proposal inside two months. With a preliminary
team, she worked around the clock to submit the proposal
in time for the government’s May budget, and the project
was approved just before the violent insurrection later
that month.
Merrilyn points out that all the research projects ‘hit hard at
the two major problems in Timor-Leste’ — food security and
unemployment — which underpinned the recent civil
unrest. Malnutrition is a continuing health issue, so an
expanded fishing industry will have immediate benefits.
The six research teams will routinely consult with local
communities and will train Timorese people to continue
the research. All marine mapping and survey equipment,
underwater video equipment and fish preservation
equipment will be left in Timor-Leste at the end of the
project. Initial research and training will be part of an
ongoing program of exchange between Timor-Leste and
CDU, which is well positioned to train Timorese people
in hospitality and tourism. Darwin already has a large
Timorese community.
interprets satellite photography. Guy says his team will use
Research funding will be channelled from Timor-Leste’s
software that group pixels into useful objects such as sea
more famous resources — oil and gas — to foster its less
grass beds, coral, reefs, mudflats and mangrove areas. Their
known resources — tourism and fisheries. Funding is
techniques also enable storage of marine survey information
guaranteed by the country’s oil and gas trust fund.
in a geographical database directly linked to maps of Timor-
Timor-Leste’s petroleum fund replicates Norway’s
Leste’s marine habitat.
successful model, which is based on the principle of
Cetacean research will be lead by the Australian Institute spending only interest from its petroleum revenue and
of Marine Science’s Dr Mark Meekan, who will use fixed investing in low-risk assets. All monies from the fund,
and non-threatening underwater cameras for marine managed by the Timor-Leste’s central bank, are transparent.
species identification. Professor Karen Edyvane will oversee
Despite recent and ongoing civil unrest, Merrilyn is confident
research to identify sites for marine protected areas and
the team’s research recommendations will be implemented.
coral reef site diving zones.
She has faith in the government that she says has brought
Deputy Vice-Chancellor – Research, Professor Bob Wasson rapid progress to the country since independence. ‘The
will lead a team that studies water catchment and marine government is aware that tourism and fisheries can employ
pollution, ‘to work out what’s been damaged where and large numbers of unskilled workers, so our projects are seen
what we can do about it’. An anthropologist will help to have far reaching economic impacts.’
research teams work with local communities and introduce
new conservation practices. Dr Julie Lloyd will lead a team
devoted to the establishment of small-scale fishing and
aquaculture industries. These will include seaweed farming
to foster near-shore herbivore and carnivore fish numbers.
Origins timor-leste 21

OPINION Power plays

As someone with a close involvement in Timor-Leste, dennis shoesmith is bemused
by the Australian government’s intervention. In a Jekyll and Hyde pattern, he says,
we seem to alternately succour and bully them.

This year, as in 1999, Australian Australia’s position has led to what the Security Council
troops were deployed to Timor-Leste. itself reported as ‘bitter disagreement’ within its ranks.
On both occasions we were able to stop The United States with the UK and Japan offered firm
a spiral into chaos and violence. During support for the Australian position. China, Russia and
the United Nations mission and after France strongly opposed it. Outside the Council, Portugal
independence we have provided the and Brazil were the most outspoken critics of Australia’s
Timorese with generous aid, including stance. Even the Philippines, Malaysia and New Zealand,
AusAID programs intended to develop the other three states with troops in the Australian-led
their self-governing capacities. force, favour a UN force into the future. The outcome?
Barry Ledwidge The Security Council approved an Australian-led force.
This help is remembered but many
Timorese also acutely remember that Some states are concerned there is actually a more sinister
in 1975, our government apparently motive behind Australia’s position. The insistence that
colluded with Indonesia in advance Australian ‘green helmet’ troops provide security rather
of the brutal Indonesian occupation than UN ‘blue helmets’ is seen as an expression of our
of Portuguese Timor. Later, Canberra government’s pervasive doctrine: that Australia should
negotiated a deal with Jakarta that play the role of ‘the security guardian of our region’ and
recognised Australian control of that this role should promote Australia’s own national
what the Timorese believe should interests. In a recent article, Foreign Minister Alexander
be Timor-Leste’s maritime territory. Downer argued the neo-conservative view that it is in
In our subsequent negotiations with Australia’s self-interest to spread ‘freedom and democracy’
an independent Timor-Leste over among our neighbours. We have a mission, he said,
the disputed maritime boundary, to ensure an arc of failed states does not surround us.
and control of its rich oil and
It may be that the current Australian government, like
gas resources, we appear to have
its counterpart in Washington, has a low opinion of UN
sometimes acted the bully.
interventions and a preference for unilateral rather than
The latest impression of bullying multilateral actions — despite the lesson of Iraq. But the
has been over the control of the critics claim this is simply a rationale to justify unilateral
international military force in Dili. intervention outside the UN system.
Since the arrival of 1300 Australian
The first negative outcome of the Australian position is
troops in late May, at the request of
the response it has provoked among our neighbours and
the Timor-Leste government, Australia
in the UN. Robert Ayson, from the Australian National
has led a four-nation international
University’s Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, has
security force. On August 8, UN
warned against Australia assuming too ambitious a role
Secretary-General, Kofi Annan,
as Timor-Leste’s ‘protector’. Some critics further argue that
recommended to the Security Council
our intervention is indeed ambitious: to take control of a
that a UN command replace the
small, dysfunctional state and its rich energy resources.
Australian-led force. But this was
The ASEAN states have reacted very negatively to the
vigorously opposed by Canberra.
Australian demand. It confirms a perception in the ASEAN
Australian rather than UN control
capitals, including Jakarta, that Canberra arrogantly assumes
of the military mission, claimed our
its right to impose an Australian agenda on Timor-Leste.
ambassador to the United Nations
(and former defence minister), The Progressive Party, a junior partner in New Zealand’s
Robert Hill, would guarantee governing coalition, warns that ‘New Zealand must oppose
‘operational and cost effectiveness’. any moves to implement what seems to be the game
plan of Australia … that Timor-Leste’s future is, as leaked
22 TIMOR-LESTE Origins


An Australian military mission during the lead up and

conduct of national elections next year, and during the
Defence documents show, to fit into possibly fraught post-election period, could entangle us
Australia’s plans for the region to meet in claims of political interference (as alleged by then
its economic, military and political Prime Minister Alkatiri in June 2006).
interests’. Portugal and Brazil have The third negative outcome is that Australia is undermining
been particularly outspoken critics of the emerging role of the UN in the difficult project of peace-
the Australian position. Retired General making. The new UN mission in Timor-Leste is critical not
Alfredo Assunçao, who commanded only for the country and its people; it is also an important
the UN peacekeeping force in Timor- test case for the credibility of the UN in its expanding role
Leste in 2000–01, has even described of helping failing states to recover and achieve viability.
Australia as ‘the main enemy of the The goal of such missions is not to compromise the sover-
country’, reflecting the more extreme eignty of vulnerable states, but to carefully rebuild the
suspicions of Australia’s intentions. states so they can effectively exercise that sovereignty.
While these perceptions may seem and I would propose there is no reason why Australia could
are exaggerated, the military interven- not have contributed to an effective military mission under
tion in Timor-Leste, necessary as it was, UN auspices. In return for providing and financing the bulk
now seems caught up in an ideological of the troops, we could play a major role in a UN force that
objective that calls into question the ensures ‘operational and cost effectiveness’. This does not
impartiality of our support. appear to be an option for Canberra and it feeds the theories
The second negative effect is that it now spreading even across the Tasman, let alone in ASEAN
establishes a peculiar and contentious and the Portuguese-speaking world. When the region’s most
relationship between Australia and powerful state insists on controlling the security of the
Timor-Leste. The Timorese government region’s weakest state to the exclusion of the international
itself repeatedly called for a UN-led community, such theories seem a little less bizarre.
force now and in the future. It should Dr Dennis Shoesmith is a senior lecturer in history and politics in
be remembered that the Democratic the School of Creative Arts and Humanities at Charles Darwin
Republic of Timor-Leste is a sover- University, occasional advisor to Timor-Leste’s Ministry of Foreign
eign state. While it is inevitable that Affairs, and former consultant to the UN
international intervention necessarily
compromises state sovereignty, this O
makes it even more important that
the international military force should antennae
be under the UN and not controlled Dennis Shoesmith is often invited by the mainstream media to comment on
Timor-Leste. Recent appearances include ABC Radio National’s Rear Vision
by Timor-Leste’s powerful neighbour.
program (2 July 2006), where he discussed Timor-Leste’s political upheaval
How would Canberra react if Indonesia that culminated in the resignation of Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri; and Late
had insisted on providing the military Night Live (29 May 2006) where, together with Maria Ceu Federer and Juan
mission to the exclusion of the UN? Federer, he discussed Timor-Leste’s descent into anarchy and its rise from the
Would that have provoked conspiracy ashes. Juan Federer’s book, The UN in East Timor: building Timor-Leste,
a fragile state, just published by CDU Press, is featured on page 46.
theories about Jakarta’s intentions?
A one-day symposium on the challenges facing Timor-Leste will be held
on 13 November 2006 at CDU for academics and others with specialist
interests in Timor-Leste. For more information email Steven Farram at or telephone 08 8946 6865.
web byte
The East Timor and Indonesian Action Network (ETAN) is an excellent
website for Timor-Leste news and events. See
Origins arts 23

Timothy Cook
Minga 2006
49.5 x 39.5 cm
sugarlift, foul-bite
& aquatint etching

Timothy Cook’s etching Minga refers Printmaker Trent Walter’s observation Timothy Cook was born on 18 September
to the old Tiwi practice of scarification tells a more technical story where 1958 and his country is Goose Creek on
where the body was permanently he notes that the spontaneous etching Melville Island. Timothy is a celebrated
marked for ceremonial reasons. process of ‘foul-bite’ has occurred artist who has had several solo shows
Timothy’s confident brush strokes along the edges of the zinc plate used to in Sydney, and participated in many
of lineal black marks cascade down create the print image. This has created group exhibitions since 1997. His
the paper, mimicking scars, and, when more tonal variation and, subsequently, work has been acquired by major
combined with the background mass a shaft of luminosity that radiates public art galleries and museums
of coloured dotting, it gives this etching through the centre of the composition. in Australia, including the National
a sense of depth and movement. Gallery of Australia.
photograph Anne Chivas

antennae web byte

Timothy Cook’s Minga was featured in Northern Editions recent exhibition, Visit the Northern Editions website for further information about
Jilamara — New etchings from Melville Island, and is priced at $520 the collection and exhibitions
[unframed] and $670 [framed] in a limited edition of 50. Leon Stainer was
the collaborating printmaker.
24 teaching and learning – education Origins

New teacher education

courses set pioneering

The review of teacher education courses offered at CDU

has been undertaken in partnership with the Department
of Employment, Education and Training, which has commit-
text A year-long review of teacher education ted significant funds to the project over three years. It began
Amy Dyt courses offered at Charles Darwin with an education summit in March, where teachers,
University will result in graduates who students, principals, teacher educators and parents
are better prepared to deal with the discussed, debated and planned new programs.
complexities of the modern classroom. CDU is just the second Australian university to conduct
Professor David Lynch, head of education a major review of its education course offerings. Central
at CDU, has led the project to re-examine Queensland University (CQU) has received national praise
how we teach our teachers. ‘CDU is for its new degree, which research studies indicate is
leading the way in preparing teach- delivering higher quality, more workplace-ready graduates.
ers to manage the complex needs of ‘The key to the success of these new courses is in the
today’s schools,’ he says. ‘Graduates critical partnerships developed with schools and key
of our new Teaching and Learning education stakeholders,’ says David, who co-led CQU’s
courses (bachelor, graduate diploma, review process before arriving at CDU in 2005. ‘Extensive
double degrees) will be teachers who collaboration and an embedding in evidence-based
are certified workplace-ready and can practices will ensure CDU’s courses meet national
perform in a diversity of settings, now benchmarks and that our new courses will be strongly
and in the future.’ supported in the education sector.’

Rapid social change in the Australian Unique features of the new degree program, to be launched
school system, coupled with technolog- in 2007, include each student spending one day each week
ical innovations, is constantly forcing in a local ‘teaching school’ from the first week they start
teachers to find new ways of delivering their degree, giving them a supportive opportunity to
learning. Additional challenges specific put their skills into practice. Students can also fast track
to the Territory, such as the need to the four-year degree in three years. ‘This will be very
engage remote and regional communi- attractive to prospective students, as they can start
ties and cater for Indigenous children, earning sooner,’ adds David.
makes this an even greater task. Ultimately, the new courses mean more highly trained
‘If teachers are to thrive in this evolving teachers — teachers who can customise their teaching
and complex environment, research to suit individual needs and keep pace with advances
has shown that they need to adopt a in the science of learning.
new and different type of knowledge, o
based on new learning design methods
and the expertise of experienced
classroom teachers,’ says David. antennae
The new BTL degree will be launched for new students in semester
‘We need to ensure that graduates one, 2007. Those interested need to apply through the South Australian
entering the education system are Tertiary Admissions Centre
outstanding “learning managers” and
web byte
leaders at the personal, professional See for further information on the
and community level.’ new BTL degree.
Origins Science research 25

From tiny broom

closet to acclaim
At the 2006 NT Research and Innovation Awards,
associate professor karen gibb from CDU’s School
of Science and Primary Industries, together with
Dr Renkang Peng and Associate Professor Keith
Christian, took out the Tropical Knowledge Research
Award for their project — Green Ants in Pest Control.
Here, Karen Gibb speaks frankly.

What key moments led you to molecular science? I did a left

sabbatical early in my career at the University of Kentucky Green ants attacking

and learnt to do some fantastic things with DNA and plant

cells. I found it so exciting that when I came back to my job
at what was then Northern Territory University, I decided
to move my research over into molecular research. I started
doing genome analysis in a cleaned out broom cupboard
at the now-demolished Myilly Point Campus. It seems a
long time ago.
Your research seems to involve doing things differently
— like using green ants instead of chemical sprays, and
using molecular biology to study soil health. Is it a hard
sell? Yes and no. To be assured of grants it’s good to stay
in one field and get really well known. Peng’s fantastic and Quaker — on stillness), Christabel
patient work with green ants has really paid off and is Pankhurst (famous suffragette — on
gaining a lot of respect worldwide. Some of our more radical courage), Anne Boleyn (on power and
molecular work is a harder sell, especially when we take loss of), Elizabeth I (so she could have
it into the real world, like the soil health work. The work quality time with her Mum), and John
we’re now doing in Bioscience North Australia (BNA) is Lennon (for after dinner music).
very exciting and really rewarding, yet the pressure to What would you like to leave as your
prove ourselves not only locally but internationally is legacy in molecular biology? I don’t
intense and somewhat nerve-racking. know that I really think in those terms,
Will green ants contribute to greater mango and cashew to be honest. We have an interna-
crop yields, or are they solely used as a chemical-free way tional reputation in molecular plant
of protecting crops? The work has shown that where green pathology, and that’s satisfying, but interview
ant nests are managed effectively, the returns are better it’s done and now I’m looking towards Helen Howard Zilko

because the fruit is largely blemish free, costs from spraying the current challenge — molecular photograph
chemicals are greatly reduced and fewer growing tips are research that is more closely linked to Barry Ledwidge

damaged, which translates into improved flower production landscape processes. There are very
and fruit set. In the NT, mangoes are the top money earner few facilities in the world that have
in horticulture; cashews are a developing industry. as broad a brief as BNA, so my legacy
would be to see it develop into an
Is there a glass ceiling for women in science leadership internationally recognised molecular
roles? I think more in terms of the invisibility of women’s ecology facility that takes full advan-
achievements — because we haven’t developed a powerful tage of our incredible natural heritage.
‘femateship’ culture that allows us to promote each
other to anyone who will stand still long enough to O
listen. That, plus there are too few women on powerful
committees to promote that culture. 
If you could invite six people to dinner from history, antennae
Odd Spot: In 1985 the iconic German filmmaker,
who would they be? Maybe people not related to Werner Herzog, made a feature film – Where the
science: Hildegarde of Bingen (12th century female green ants dream – with the Rirratjingu clan of
mystic — on transcendence), George Fox (17th century north-east Arnhem Land.
26 CDU/NT GOVERNMENT partnership – science Origins

Forensics in the macro

world of molecules
Molecular research in the plant and soil worlds may not have the glamour
of crime-scene forensics, but its contribution to environmental science is
acknowledged with the establishment of Bioscience North Australia.

Forensic science has taken huge leaps in the public Another advantage of BNA’s high-end
imagination in recent years, due mainly to the popularity research facilities is that it helps
of television crime shows. We’ve all seen those shows in Charles Darwin University to attract
which white-coated forensic experts emerge from their both international and Australian
labs with the results of DNA samples that help nail the scientists to complete their research
perpetrators of crimes. But what about the forensic sciences at the facility. ‘Molecular biology has
as applied to the equally important plant life that sustains not reached its full potential in the
our agricultural economies, or the microbes and bugs that Territory, but on the other hand we
exist in the soils in our forests, grasslands and coastlines? are not stuck away in an exclusive
molecular laboratory precinct; we
Bioscience North Australia (BNA) was launched by Charles
have the advantage of ready access
Darwin University in October last year, and is already
text to a large number of first rate biologists
Ron Banks attracting keen interest from postgraduate students,
with whom we can partner to solve
partner organisations and commercial companies who
real problems,’ Karen says. ‘We are now
want access to its state-of-the art laboratory, research
developing our own critical mass by
facilities and expert scientists.
attracting some excellent researchers
Its leader, Associate Professor Karen Gibb, describes BNA — who are keen to get out in the field.’
a project of the Northern Territory Government and Charles
BNA extends its range of activities
Darwin University partnership agreement, with additional
through partnerships and recently
partner support from the Australian Institute of Marine
sequenced the entire genome of a
Science— as a ‘frontier’ facility that’s unique for the breadth
plant pathogen with the Max Planck
of its research in molecular ecology. ‘In three or four years
Institute in Germany. This pathogen
we will settle into a defined niche, but for now we’re scoping
is a phytoplasma, which is a type of
very broadly,’ she says. ‘We have a number of fabulous
bacteria that causes stunting, dieback
projects underway and on the drawing board.’
and yellowing diseases in a wide range
A key component of its research facilities is a genetic of plants, including lucerne, papaya
analyser, which is used to sequence and map DNA in (pawpaw), grapevines and strawberries.
microbes, plants and animals. According to Karen, ‘It’s been quite a challenge, especially
the acquisition of the genetic analyser (funded by the for the PhD student on the project,
NT Government to the tune of $300,000 and housed in Lucy Tran-Nguyen, but our ability to
the Arafura Timor Research Facility adjacent to campus) unpack the blueprint of life (DNA)
has helped to give BNA the ‘intellectual grunt’ to compete opens up avenues for diagnostics
with international institutions involved in DNA mapping and managing diseases in the field.
of organisms. The only other (two) laboratories to
have sequenced the phytoplasma
genome are in Japan and the United
States,’ Karen says.
Origins CDU/NT GOVERNMENT partnership – science 27

A diseased strawberry

BNA’s molecular research facilities are used across Australia BNA has maintained this interest in microbial ecology by
to identify suspected phytoplasma diseases and the facility exploring complex communities of bacteria in impacted
has been asked to extend that capacity into Pakistan next sites along the coastline — and is currently writing grants
year, where there is a problem in sunflower crops, suspected to fund projects that explore these communities and their
to be caused by this same bacteria. ‘An important part of use in monitoring the health of a system.
what we do is training and follow-up support to ensure
Karen believes that even in the current competitive environ-
people can run the tests in their own laboratories,’ Karen
ment of molecular research, the Territory’s
says. ‘We have done this for researchers from Indonesia,
unique natural heritage, albeit with its many unanswered
Thailand, Oman, the Philippines, and now Pakistan.’
questions, will give BNA the advantage it needs to attract
Identifying organisms that cause these diseases is just major research projects and competitive funding. ‘Our brief
one of the many projects that BNA research scientists are at BNA is to work with scientists and industry partners to
tackling in this brave new world of genome sequencing resolve key issues using the tools of molecular biology.
and DNA analysis. Among the research projects already One of my great motivations is to also use BNA to build
underway is an exploration of the molecular taxonomy resident capacity and expertise in the analytical sciences.
of marine sponges (undertaken in conjunction with the We would like Charles Darwin University’s BNA to be known
Museum and Art Gallery of the NT), and a study of the for its excellence across all its activities, and for the support
genetic diversity of the common carp in Vietnamese it provides to young researchers in launching their careers.’
fish farms, which has crucial implications for the
region’s food security.
Molecular science is also about the excitement of discovering
new organisms and new forms of life, with one of BNA’s
latest projects picking up where America’s NASA program
left off in the Mojave Desert in the 1960s. ‘NASA funded
research that examined the primitive organisms associated antennae
with desert rocks, crusts and soils,’ Karen explains. ‘These Associate Professor Karen Gibb presented a paper titled ‘Assessing the
organisms were found to live underneath crystals, through relationships between patch type and soil mites using a conventional and
which they get their sunlight and manage to grow.’ molecular approach’ at the Australian and New Zealand Entomological
Societies Conference at Adelaide University in September 2006. To read
A team of ecologists at the University undertaking field her paper visit
work on another project, discovered that crystals half Dr Claire Streten, BNA research fellow, presented a paper on Bioscience North
buried in the ground in an area of the NT’s Victoria River Australia at the Arafura Timor Research Facility Forum in September 2006
District (VRD) had a ‘slime’ on their underside. They were at CDU. BNA scientists often speak to local groups about molecular biology
aware of the Mojave Desert work and teamed up with BNA research, such as Associate Professor Gibb’s presentation, ‘Putting molecular
biology to work’, in September at the University of the Third Age.
to identify and compare the VRD organisms with those of
the Mojave Desert. Dr Claire Streten, BNA’s research fellow, web byte
For information on research and postgraduate opportunities
found a huge number of new organisms making up this
‘slime’ and has been able to compare them with the Mojave
For information on university-wide cross-disciplinary research on the tropical
organisms. This has lead to other opportunities. BNA has
environment visit
now teamed up with a colleague at the University of NSW
to investigate the capacity of these organisms, called
cyanobacteria, to produce antibiotics.
28 ALUMNI Origins

Speaking out on Wadeye
dominic mccormack, although non-Indigenous, speaks Murrinh-patha, the dominant
language of the Thamarrurr region — location of the remote Aboriginal township of
Wadeye. But it is his training in law that makes him uniquely qualified for his current
work as an interpreter and cultural broker.

interview Wadeye was my home until I was sixteen. With the advice of linguist and mentor,
Helen Howard Zilko
In the early 1970s, at the beginning of the self-determination Dr Michael Cooke, my compass turned
photograph era, my parents returned to Port Keats, as it was then known, again.
Barry Ledwidge having worked there as lay missionaries in the late 1960s. He pointed me in the direction of the
My father was principal of the school. As a child I was Aboriginal Interpreter Service (AIS) in
immersed in the local culture and language. Darwin. Four days after leaving Bris-
bane, I was in the Wadeye courtroom
I fell into law at [the now] Charles Darwin University.
interpreting. That was March 2003.
Initially I enrolled in Hospitality and Tourism Management,
but ended up doing a combined Arts/Law degree. I soon I now run my own business,
left Arts behind; Law was the area for me. MARLUK Link-Up, which focuses
on interpreting, training and cultural
I was considered an obvious choice to work on land claims for
broking with the Aboriginal people
the NT Government.
of the Thamarrurr region.
After completing Articles, I worked in the NT Aboriginal
Many Indigenous people, like those
Land Claims Unit. Later, to gain broader experience, I joined
at Wadeye, do not understand an
the private firm of De Silva Hebron, initially as a litigator
extraordinary range of western
and then as a commercial lawyer. In 2002, after pursuing
cultural concepts. It affects their
other interests for two years, I resumed law in native title
ability to speak out, to interact with
at Brisbane’s Crown Law office.
the wider world of information, and
For a long time I hadn’t wanted to be involved in Aboriginal deal with the dominant western
matters, particularly those at Wadeye. culture. In workshops we discuss
The pressure can be intense, the relationship obligations western concepts in their language
enormous. Yet through my diverse career I had consistently and cultural framework. I also teach
asked the question, ‘What unique contribution can I make?’ other interpreters about working
Even though I’m not Indigenous, at a deeper level I knew it within the criminal justice system.
was the bicultural experience of Wadeye, my language capacity
and legal/business experience that carved my difference.
Origins ALUMNI 29

There is a desperate need for interpreters, but the reluctance Wadeye people have two prime priorities — their land and
to acknowledge this need is baffling. their families.
While the AIS needs to improve the standard of interpret- The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough, has offered
ers by increasing bilingual capacity and confidence, many two or three groups part-infrastructure [houses] on their
lawyers still refuse to utilise them. Of course, an interpreter own land. While this is a positive start, his process is about
will cause ‘legal process’ to occur more slowly, even though picking winners and losers. People here are interrelated and
slowing down would assist the passage of justice. therefore interdependent, so some of the clan groups are
already saying, ‘We can’t accept these houses because we
Wadeye is under intense scrutiny as the NT’s largest Aboriginal
have family in other clan groups who also need housing’.
township and Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG)
They certainly want to have nice things, but it’s difficult
trial site.
to keep a three-bedroom house spotlessly clean when there
This trial has attempted to streamline services across all
are anywhere from 16 to 30 living under the one roof.
levels of government. After three years the situation is
I know of one family group of 87 people who live in three
just as bad, if not worse. The trial has been a spectacular
houses located side by side. Just picture that for one
failure. It has created an additional level of bureaucracy and
moment — 87 people. How many times does a fridge
the people don’t feel they’re genuinely listened to or their
door open; how many times does the toilet get flushed;
concerns seriously actioned. They are doing their best to
where does one find privacy?
improve their lives, but ‘programs’ and ‘solutions’ often
come from governments with little or no knowledge of the Politicians need to genuinely listen to what the people are
region’s history and culture. telling them.
There was a great contrast in the Opposition Leader Kim
During May, Wadeye’s so-called ‘gang violence’ was under
Beazley’s visit in early August. He spent a day at Wadeye and
intense media scrutiny.
said, ‘I’m here to listen and learn’. When he asked questions,
We are seeing the continuation of tensions that have been
he genuinely listened. He didn’t offer solutions or tell the
occurring for aeons between the saltwater/coastal people
people to ‘paint your houses, pick up your rubbish, show that
and the freshwater/inland people. These tensions are
you have pride in where you live’, as Mal Brough had done.
generational, linked to clan/relationship affiliations and at
The people were impressed with his thoughtful approach.
various times flare up. The numbers of people — men and
women, old and young — involved are growing, reflecting the Aboriginal people DO want to see their kids receive the best
explosion in population. Yes, property has been damaged, bi-cultural education.
people’s houses have been destroyed — but it’s about Last year seven students (all girls) from Wadeye completed
bravado and creating fear between groups. Unlike Cronulla, Year 12, which is all the more meritorious when one consid-
these flare-ups did not lead to a single person requiring ers it was achieved without a secondary school in the whole
medical treatment. Wadeye continues to be described in region. They’re known as the school’s Magnificent Seven.
the media as a ‘war zone’; Iraq is a war zone, not Wadeye.
I am just beginning to understand the incredible complexities
A staggering 18-plus different clan groups live at Wadeye of adult Murrinh-patha.
— the land of just one clan group — speaking five languages Learning more language will bolster my capacity to support
and four dialects. the Thamarrurr people. It’s very complex, but I am slowly
The influx of ‘visitors’ to Port Keats Mission over 1935–38, becoming more adept at discussing the concepts of politics,
who then stayed, is the prime contributor to the so-called law and culture at a deeper level.
‘gang violence’. But over the past decade a way of life known
I love the people of this region. They are very strong, but
as ‘Thamarrurr’ has re-emerged and the people now see a
also patient and gracious. It is a privilege to work with them.
clearer path for themselves, which is moving back to their
In the end, I want to see them control the rate and direction
original lands. By doing so they will ensure their law and
of change in their lives, and live their dreams. 
families are strong, while turning their hand to income gen-
eration through small business. They see this as the prime, O
though not sole, solution to the issues currently facing them.
Wider Australia must understand that a major fiscal response
is unavoidable if the Thamarrurr people are to return to
their homelands.
There is no region in the country with a non-Aboriginal
service population of almost 3000 that does not have
such basic infrastructure as an all-weather road-network; web byte
MARLUK Link-Up’s website is a rich resource
appropriate housing; a modern communications network;
on Wadeye, and includes many papers and articles on interpreting,
and complete schooling facilities. The process — operating in crime and language, and personal observations on current issues.
a bi-cultural world — is also extremely delicate. The starting It will point you to workshops and courses, translation/interpreting
point is listening to the people who live the issues. services and other useful links.
30 CDU/garma partnership Origins

Bush symposia kindles a spirit of dignity,

celebration, inquiry and adventure

In a stringy bark forest in north east Arnhem Land with views to the Gulf of Carpentaria,
a festival of Indigenous culture is taking place. About 1500 people are camped at Gulkula,
site of the Garma Festival of Traditional Culture. ‘This is my second successive Garma,’
says cas bennetto, who travelled to this remote corner to participate in the festival
and its academic forum, partnered by Charles Darwin University. Here she gives an
‘on the ground’ account.
Origins CDU/garma partnership 31

Garma — It’s a word like a message stick; a dilly bag with

a fire stick or an ochre inside; it is about creating unity.
– Gularrwuy Yunupingu

For some people Garma is a fast-track course in Indigenous As dynamic debates on education
politics and culture in the Northern Territory. As an ani- and training are occurring in the
mated talkfest, everyone is listening; everyone is talking various shelters harbouring the key
— and the message is listen, learn, and reflect. At my first forum, there are literally hundreds of
Garma, and like others before me, I was learning about a people here participating in a different
place that was challenging my perceptions of race, culture, program altogether. The Cultural
political correctness, art, language, and whiteness. Tourism program has attracted
participants from all over Australia
Phillip Adams, Garma supporter and presenter of ABC
and the world. Camping like the rest
Radio National’s Late Night Live, has been invited to chair
of us alongside the Yolngu people,
the opening and closing Garma Key Forum plenary sessions.
they have come to watch and learn
His declaration that the ABC acronym really means the
the centuries-old art of basket weaving
‘Aboriginal Broadcasting Corporation’ delights his audience.
— of collecting and stripping pandanus,
The theme of the 2006 forum is Indigenous education and of kinship, language and culture, of
training and at the invitation of Garma’s founder, the Yothu healing and herbs, of singing and
Yindi Foundation, the University’s School for Social and storytelling, passed down through
Policy Research (SSPR) is coordinating dozens of workshops, generations by the Yolngu women.
presentations, panel discussions and learning exchanges This is strictly women’s business.
over three days. As CDU’s Vice Chancellor puts it, ‘Garma This is also Yidaki country, and the
is our symposia of the bush’. men are busy learning the skills of the
The need to maintain Indigenous cultural heritage, and the yidaki, or didgeridoo, and spearing fish.
imperative to educate the children, is provoking stimulating The cultural highlight each evening
photograph left debate. Currently 65 per cent of Indigenous people are is the bunguul, or corroboree, a visual
Mark Rogers younger than 25 years; they will account for more than half spectacle that has been performed
the Territory’s population by 2020, and at current rates, they in the region for thousands of years.
photograph overleaf will be the most poorly educated group. Yolngu people want Large groups of Indigenous people
Andrea Keningston equal opportunities, in parallel with the Balanda — the Top from different communities, wearing
End’s word for non-Indigenous Territorians. bright clothes and body paint,
No government in Australia’s short history has been able collectively move to the sound of
to ‘unite’ Indigenous and non-Indigenous aspirations for the yidaki, the call of the elders, and
education. As one guest speaker said in 2005, ‘it is littered to the beat of clapsticks. The bunguul
with the unintended consequences of good intentions’. also becomes the stage for announce-
Opposition Leader Kim Beazley introduces the opening day ments and presentations, including
plenary session by declaring ‘the starting point for Indig- the celebration of recent Indigenous
enous education has to be addressing third world issues in graduates from CDU.
a first world country’. He commits a future Federal Labor Because of its bush setting, Garma
Government to ‘genuinely engage with Indigenous groups fuels dialogue between Indigenous and
and turn this situation around within two terms’. non-Indigenous Australians on a wide
Jeff McMullen, the former 60 Minutes globetrotter, who now range of academic and cultural issues.
devotes his time to promoting literacy in remote Aboriginal It’s a non-threatening environment
communities, declares that ‘increasing Aboriginal literacy without the formality of the University’s
is our greatest national challenge’. edifice. ‘Taking academics out of their
offices and into the communities, and
Mining executives tell the forum that a predicted jobs boom,
engaging with Indigenous people on
coupled with a boom in the Aboriginal population, mean the
their own ground is important for CDU,’
two would meet ‘sooner than later’. Alcan, the multinational
says Professor Garnett, herself ankle-
bauxite mining and alumina producer, has provided $600 000
deep in red dust. ‘Garma is a place
to CDU, earmarked for environmental research. Alcan say
where young and old Indigenous people
they would rather employ 1200 people from Arnhem Land
from all walks of life can cross barriers
than fly in 1200 people from Melbourne. ‘An Indigenous
of experience and share their stories.’
population with high unemployment must be trained and
For CDU, she adds, the long-term
matched with employers suffering a skills and people
interaction with Indigenous cultural
shortage, for the benefit of both,’ says Vice Chancellor,
groups deepens understanding and
Professor Helen Garnett.
keeps the dialogue alive.
32 CDU/garma partnership Origins

The agreement with Alcan is an example of CDU’s engagement with the

community, ‘in this case a large employer with needs we can cater to,’
says CDU Vice Chancellor, Professor Garnett.

Everyone is excited about the connections they are making. with a shared interest in education strategies for marginal-
I’ve met artists, anthropologists, social historians, teachers, ised groups. ‘I would have liked to participate in the women’s
educators, and musicians. CDU’s dean of Indigenous program,’ Jennifer says. ‘I’ve not yet talked to one Yolngu
research, MaryAnn Bin-Sallik, has met a French person. The level of cultural exchange for me has been at
documentary filmmaker desperate to put an explanation an academic level, but I would have liked to go out of my
of ‘the dreamtime’ to camera. MaryAnn’s passionate comfort zone.’ Jennifer decides she will go to some of the
explanation of an Indigenous creation story enlightens women’s sessions tomorrow to get a ‘taste’. She says a lot
and inspires us. of the ‘meaning-making’ and her understanding will come
retrospectively. ‘I guess when I return to America next week
Wendy, a Sydney-based artist, is visiting Garma with
I will have an even deeper understanding.’
her daughter Laura, who is keen to embark on a PhD
in Aboriginal art. I urge them to visit Garma’s nocturnal Like Jennifer, we are all learning and gaining knowledge
Gapan Gallery, accessed by a kilometre-long candlelit trail we didn’t have before, and the learning is immense.
through the bush, to a setting that has been magically
transformed into an outdoor gallery, marked out by clay,
with white sand floor. The tree trunks are painted white, Cas Bennetto is the University’s former director of corporate
and on each tree, the Yirrkala printmakers — the only communications.
Indigenous people making their own prints from scratch
in the bush exhibit their artworks.
Jennifer Wolgemuth is visiting Garma from Fort Collins,
Colorado. She is here at the invitation of SSPR co-director, antennae
Tess Lea, to assist in writing the final Garma report The Garma Key Forum Report 2006 on Indigenous Education and Training will
— a significant document that the University hopes be published in November and can be accessed at
will change attitudes and policy. Tess and Jennifer met at web byte
Colorado State University earlier this year as researchers About the 2006 Garma Festival Festival:
Origins CDU/garma partnership 33

Dream and dream big

Dr Daniel Etya’ale’s vision
for Indigenous children

As an opthalmologist from Cameroon On the question of teaching literacy — one of the forum’s
who co-ordinates the Vision 2020 pro- major themes — Daniel Etya’ale was adamant. ‘In the
gram for the World Health Organisation, teaching of English, there is a whole world of difference
Dr Daniel Etya’ale is no stranger between teaching English as a means of achieving basic
to dealing with the aftermath of literacy and teaching it to achieve mastery of the language,
colonisation and assimilation. enough in any case to use it as a powerful communication
and bargaining tool.’
In an inspiring speech delivered on
above August 5 at the 2006 Garma Festival Dr Etya’ale proposed a three-point strategy to redress
Dr Daniel Etya’ale forum, he stunned the capacity Indigenous education. The first task would be to undertake
speaks to the key audience when he said, ‘What shocked a thorough assessment and audit of Indigenous people’s
forum at the 2006 me most was the permeating sense needs to succeed and excel in life, ‘as individuals, as agents
Garma Forum
of gloom and utter despair that I of change in their own communities, to compete on an
saw among many of these otherwise equal footing with other citizens, and be the best they can
wonderful people.’ Daniel Etya’ale was possibly be’. The second task would be to set ambitious goals
text talking about Indigenous Australians, for extraordinary outcomes, while the third would be to
Will Martin referring to an earlier visit to the North- establish clear and progressively measurable targets.
photograph ern Territory, when he says he was
He said ambitious goals could also include a health
Ray Jalil ‘privileged’ to spend time in a number
education package directed at practises or killer diseases
of communities in the Katherine region.
currently striking Indigenous people in the Northern
‘I was particularly struck by the fact
Territory — substance abuse, malnutrition, morbid
for many of them, there was so little to
obesity, diabetes, hypertension, kidney failure. In Kenya
dream about; it was like most of their
and Tanzania in East Africa, at a time when trachoma was
life was already behind them ... The
ripe, it meant including strategies in existing curricula.
same fate, the same early mortality.’
‘That way, school children, rarely leaders in traditional
He believes the lowered expectations communities, benefited for themselves but even more
and racial stereotyping that has importantly, became primary agents of change for the rest
legitimised under-performance of of their families and by extension, of their communities.’
Indigenous children is a disease
‘All future plans to educate Indigenous people must be
plaguing education in the NT
ambitious, even revolutionary,’ warned Daniel Etya’ale.
— a ‘plague’ that can be remedied
‘They have to be transformational, deeply transformational,
by developing programs that identify
enough in any case to encourage even Indigenous people
and support the brightest and most
to dream and dream big, and demonstrate through an
gifted boys and girls. ‘In our experience,
increasing number of success stories from within their
this is best done by successful Indig-
midst, that they too can make it, and that even their
enous people themselves,’ he said.
wildest dreams can be fulfilled.’
‘This what the Steve Biko and the
Nelson Mandela Foundations are And for some of us, he sagely added, ‘that deeply
doing very successfully in South Africa; transformational something we hope for in our Indigenous
their programs seek out the very best population may have to first take place in us’.
young Indigenous South Africans at a O
very young age and then accompany
them — through a system of coaching, web byte
mentoring, civic and political educa- Visit to link to the
tion, self identity building, et al — all full transcript of Dr Daniel Etya’ale’s speech.
the way to university and beyond.’
34 tropical research Origins

Scientists fly into

the eye of the storm to
predict climate change
Monday 2 February 2006, 6.22 am. A soft dawn light stroked the cloud base. Fresh coffee
brewed in mission control at Darwin’s Bureau of Meterology. Across the airport, crews
checked aircraft equipment. At Pirlangimpi on the Tiwi Islands, weather observers
unzipped their mosquito nets to change over with the night shift. And 100 km out in the
Timor Sea, csiro’s research vessel, the Southern Surveyor, called in their weather briefing.
Origins tropical research 35

It was the start of another day of The program set out to improve weather forecasting and
intense observations and sampling climate models by measuring convective cloud systems
in the Tropical Warm Pool International — from their initial stages right through to the cirrus
Cloud Experiment. Later, in the after- cloud that is left after the storm. It succeeded in measuring
noon, meteorological balloons carrying monsoonal cloud systems, which typically come in from
radiosondes to track and measure the the ocean, and ‘break’ storms, which are generated on
text atmosphere would be launched at coastal areas and provide the lightning shows that typify
Nigel Turvey three-hourly intervals from Pirlangimpi Darwin’s wet season. The results coming out of the data
photographs and four other land stations around sets collected during the experiment will ultimately
Barry Ledwidge Darwin. Five specialised aircraft would affect the lives of millions of people living in monsoonal
take to the skies to measure atmos- environments in southern and South East Asia.
pheric conditions and take air samples.
For nearly a month, Charles Darwin University was
And a mass of weather data would
transformed into a logistical nerve centre where researchers
be logged simultaneously by aircraft,
and support crew met for briefings and reviews around the
temporary ground stations, the
clock, and a temporary wired and wireless computer hub
meteorological station at Darwin
downloaded daily data to the European researchers’ main
airport and on the Southern Surveyor.
server in Oslo. CDU enabled the international researchers
The experiment was four years in the to be on location in the tropics, yet with state-of-the-art
planning, covered just three and a half technical support.
weeks of the wet season in January
Under the logistical coordination of Dr Peter May from
and February this year, and involved
the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, more than 1000
about 200 researchers, technicians
radiosonde balloons were launched, 7000 weather radar
and support crew from more than 30
volumes logged, in excess of 600,000 radar and lidar
institutions. The team was led by the
(laser imaging) cloud profiles made, and more than 20
Australian Bureau of Meteorology and
aircraft missions flown — flying between 15 kilometres and
included the CSIRO, the United States
wave hopping at 20 metres. Water and atmospheric observa-
Department of Energy Atmospheric
tions were collected simultaneously in a 100 km
Radiation Measurement Program,
wide column from the sea floor up to a 35 km altitude.
NASA, Manchester University, several
UK, European, American and Japanese
universities and national laboratories,
as well as researchers from a number
of Australian universities.
36 tropical research Origins

High altitude air samples are also providing insights into the
chemistry of clouds. The intense convective and electrical
energy of very tall clouds affect both ozone and nitrogen
compounds in the atmosphere. The chemical species
generated by clouds has a direct impact on the radiation
budget of the atmosphere.
Intense convection in the lower atmosphere generates
gravity waves in the upper atmosphere; they behave much
like waves in the ocean and can force similar surf-like
conditions. The experiment’s data will allow scientists to
better understand the impact of these high altitude waves
on climate half a world away.
The heat released from the earth’s surface has a major
With some of the tallest cloud in influence on our climate. The experiment measured how
the world, Darwin was a perfect much heat and moisture comes off the ocean surface at
experimental site. Its monsoonal high wind speeds and how big organised cloud systems
coastal environment typifies the inter- start to form and rotate. Measurements like these are
tropical convergence zone — a band helping climate modellers refine their understanding of
of intense weather oscillating either how tropical cyclones develop.
side of the equator that spawns tropi- The tropical thunderstorms that are such a feature of
cal cyclones. Darwin also has the most Darwin’s wet season ultimately have global impacts. Such
comprehensive meteorological observa- impacts have a very human face; they affect life-giving
tion network anywhere in the tropics. seasons on one hand, and storms, which destroy crops and
One of the experiment’s most important livelihoods on the other. In the monsoon, everyday life at
targets were the ‘anvil top’ clouds ground level is fragile and vulnerable; it exists in a thin
— affectionately named ‘Hector’ by boundary layer between the earth and huge cumulonimbus
wartime pilots — the tall clouds that clouds — electrical, mechanical and chemical reactors
guided them home over the Tiwi — which tower overhead, 18 km into the stratosphere.
Islands after hostile sorties. There is even more to come from the huge data sets; the
At the edge of the atmosphere, international scientific community will progressively use
and flying at twice the altitude of the data to test and improve the accuracy of meteorologists’
commercial aircraft, gannet-winged weather models and climate forecasts for decades to come.
Egrett aircraft cruised through these O
Hector clouds collecting microscopic
ice crystals. At an 18 km altitude,
the ice crystals are formed from
droplets ejected out of the intense
convection currents.
The samples showed that Hector
clouds have smaller ice particles in
CDU’s Faculty of Education, Health and Science hosted the cloud experiment
their anvils than monsoonal clouds. and supplied crucial infrastructure as well as logistical and IT support.
‘This is important because the size, Key staff from CDU included Dr Lindsay Hutley, Professors Carole Kayrooz,
shape and number of these micro- Chris Austin and David Parry, IT manager Mike Bellamy, and chief technical
officer Neil Ludvigsen.
scopic cloud particles has a profound
effect on the Earth’s climate,’ Peter May Australian and overseas university students helped out managing data
says. ‘Just think of how much less light sets in the coordination centre and crewing as observers on the five
land stations, each led by retired Bureau of Meteorology observers who
gets through a glass jar filled with tiny volunteered for the task.
beads compared with one filled with
web byte
large marbles. It is startling that the See the Australian Bureau of Meteorology’s website
size and shape of such tiny ice crystals wefor/research/twpice.htm for an executive summary of the project,
affects the climate of the planet.’ or Google TWP-ICE to read about the international collaboration.
Origins Charles, my hero 37

My Hero They were so young. Charles Darwin and Captain FitzRoy,
cooped up together on the good but small ship HMS Beagle
for all those years. The captain was only 26 and needed
Darwin as a companion for the long voyage because he
could not allow those of lower class, the rest of the crew,
to intrude on his privacy. So the future great naturalist
was in the Captain’s cabin, not as a scientist, but as
a representative of the proper class. It was a matter of
breeding, not brains.
Those at university in their early twenties can reflect on
these two pioneers as much their own age — on a trip that
would change the world. FitzRoy later gained high office,
but then killed himself. Darwin became a reclusive melan-
cholic, for whatever reason, but his ideas are today more
significant than ever.
I have just spent some months revisiting ‘evolution by
means of natural selection’ as outlined by the great man
in 1859 and I’ve been staggered by their relevance and
vibrancy today. Attacks on science, especially on biology,
in an outbreak of credulousness and anti-intellectualism
— is something I certainly did not expect to encounter at the
beginning of the 21st century. Try going back to what Darwin
actually said and be thrilled by his rigour and insight.
Look at interpretations of Darwin by Daniel Dennett,
Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Dawkins and you will
see a range that defies all expectations. My own book,
Unintelligent Design, is puny by comparison, but is
meant as a summary of the arguments refuting the
various attacks on Darwin.
I wonder what he would have made of all this attention
nearly 200 years ago, as he set out, an innocent youth
in a tiny ship, ostensibly having no more responsibility
than to entertain a lonely captain over salt beef and port.

robyn williams book, Unintelligent Design: why God isn’t Robyn Williams has presented science programs on ABC radio
as smart as she thinks she is, published by Allen and Unwin and television since 1972. He is the first journalist to be elected
in August 2006, is already in a second reprinting. Using all a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, was a visiting
sorts of examples from the natural and scientific world, Robyn fellow at Balliol College, Oxford, and is a visiting professor
Williams takes on the stalking monster of fundamentalist at the University of New South Wales. In March 2006,
religion and creationism in a short, wicked and witty debunk a star in the constellation Catrina was named after him.
of the nonsense that is intelligent design — a book to infuriate He is planning a visit.
the religious right and amuse the rest of us.

photograph courtesy Australian Broadcasting Corporation Charles Darwin image sourced from the British Library’s website.
38 Creative Citizenship Symposium Origins


Community, Creative Industries & the Future

Charles Darwin University has a successful history of engaging with its

community through the creative arts and the broader context of creativity. In
both Darwin and Alice Springs, the creative arts have contributed significantly
to the development of a strong community identity and to a community that
supports creativity. On 27–28 September 2006, the University hosted a symposium
in Alice Springs to tease out some of the thinking on the creative citizen, cultural
identity in the creative arts, building and linking communities via the new
technologies, and public policy as a creative catalyst. See

The Origins lens — in the next seven pages Britain’s Eddie Berg talked about ways of
— captures the ideas of three of the sympo- working with people who are traditionally
sium’s keynote speakers. John Hartley is a excluded from the priorities of arts policy and
pioneer in the brave new world of creative funding, focusing on Tenantspin, a remark-
industries, where, he says, content still drives able community-driven UK Internet TV project
a value-neutral, knowledge economy in a involving the elderly residents of Liverpool’s
technology-enabled and globalised world. His once-decaying tower blocks. The Tenantspin
symposium paper, Uses of Creativity, pointed model has been adapted and developed across
out that the creative citizen is already active international social and cultural projects.
in the blogosphere, on MySpace and YouTube, And in a snapshot, veteran artistic director,
and via initiatives like Digital Storytelling. Martin Jarvis, talked on the evolution of the
Is it possible, he asked, to bring together Darwin Symphony Orchestra.
consumer entertainment with business
innovation and civic engagement?
Origins Creative Citizenship Symposium 39

Creative citizens need

creative education
The creative industries idea cannot be dismissed as
a mere ruse of big business, argues john hartley.

Creativity is now the decisive source of competitive advantage — Richard Florida

Richard Florida has identified a new Educators are a part of this universe: they too are part of
economic class — the Creative Class an emergent creative class within a global knowledge
— that he says will dominate economic economy. Twentieth-century educational modernisation,
and cultural life in the century to come. based first on massively expanding formal institutions
The creative class is the dynamo of growth and more recently on increasing their productivity with
and change for the economy as a whole. centrally regulated performance targets, has certainly
In The rise of the creative class, Florida strengthened the education system of schools, universities
describes how the no-collar workplace and government departments. But inadvertently it has
‘replaces traditional hierarchical had a negative effect both on the kind of knowledge
systems of control with new forms of imparted and on the wider social desire to learn.
self-management, peer-recognition and
Instead of providing disciplinary knowledge in a controlled
pressure, and intrinsic forms of motiva-
environment, Charles Leadbeater argues that education
tion’. In this setting, he says, we strive
should inspire a yearning for learning. ‘The point of educa-
to work more independently, trade job
tion should not be to inculcate a body of knowledge, but to
security for autonomy, and we want
develop capabilities: the basic ones of literacy and numeracy
the ability to learn and grow, shape the
as well as the capability to act responsibly towards others,
content of our work, control our own
to take initiative and to work creatively and collaboratively.
schedules and express our identities
The most important capability, and one which traditional
through work.
education is worst at creating, is the ability and yearning
Not least because it includes ‘artists, to carry on learning.’
professors and scientists’, the creative
Then to what kinds of institutions should the mission
class broadens the social base of enter-
of ‘yearning for learning’ be entrusted? Perhaps not to
prise culture. Creative industries include
‘institutions’ at all, but to ‘learning services’, located in
a good proportion of micro-businesses,
people’s homes, workplaces and mobile devices. In short,
and simultaneously involve some of the
learning will become a distributed system, dedicated to
world’s largest corporate brands, from
creativity, innovation, customised needs and networked
News Ltd to Time Warner or the BBC. But
across many sites from the family kitchen to the business
the creative industries are not just capital-
breakfast as well as the classroom, café and office.
ist wannabes and corporate giants. They
require a new mix of public and private Sir Ken Robinson, senior education advisor to the Getty Trust,
partnership. Economic success stories makes the connection between economic and educational
such as Silicon Valley and the creative imperatives. ‘We need different styles of education and dif-
industries in London are always accom- ferent priorities. We cannot meet the challenges of the 21st
panied by the substantial involvement century with the educational ideologies of the 19th. Our own
of universities and government agencies, times are being swept along on an avalanche of innovations
which take up some of the burden of in science, technology, and social thought. To keep pace with
pre-competitive R&D, and provide a milieu these changes, or to get ahead of them, we will need our wits
in which creative clusters can flourish. about us — literally. We must learn to be creative.’
40 Creative Citizenship Symposium Origins

Creative industries have been identified as enterprises with creative outputs — publishing,
media, software, the arts. More recently the idea has been extended to creative inputs;
creative design and practice from cars to tourism. But the idea can be extended even further
to include consumer-generated content and user-led innovation.

Emergence of the Creative Industries Education — A major player

In recent years a new term, creative industries, has emerged One aspect of the creative industries that isn’t often men-
from the policy mix. It exploits the fuzziness of boundaries tioned in policy discourse is the extent of their reliance on
between ‘creative arts’ and ‘cultural industries,’ freedom and education. Not only are ‘workers by brain’ needed in much
comfort, public and private, state-owned and commercial, higher proportion here than in other sectors, but so is R&D.
citizen and consumer, the political and the personal. It was As Charles Leadbeater and Richard Florida have also pointed
partly a case of democratising culture in the context of out, universities are not just destinations, but hubs, and
commerce: doing away with evaluation as a rationale for young people are just as important to the creative sector as
subsidy in favour of market forces. And it was also a case more traditional forms of investment. Educational institu-
of seeing creativity itself as an enterprise sector. Creative tions are routinely excluded from policy discourse because
industries were the commercial applications of creativity they’re not understood as ‘industry partners’, even where
within a democratising ‘republic of taste’. It links the they contribute substantially to the revenues of a city or
human attribute with large-scale organised enterprise. town. But in fact education is a major player in the creative
It sees imaginative innovation as the very heart — the industries, both directly in producing creative personnel,
pump — of wealth creation and social renewal. products and services, and indirectly, by providing employ-
ment for many who can then use that security to support
The policy advantages of developing creative industries
their ‘creative habit’ in a multitude of different fields.
seemed clear: jobs and GDP. The ‘creative industries’ idea
brought creativity from the back door of government, Internally, universities are grappling with the question of
where it had sat for decades holding out the tin cup for arts whether and how they can educate for the new economy.
subsidy, around to the front door, where it was introduced Traditional large-class teaching based on the provision of
to the wealth-creating portfolios, the emergent industry standardised knowledge is modelled on industrial produc-
departments, and the enterprise support programs. Creative tion and labour, but there are definite moves in another
industries might even help to revitalise cities and regions direction. Teaching creative specialists is a model, because
that have moved out of heavy industry. And at the same there’s much to learn in addition to nurturing and training
time they might transfer creativity itself from the spending individual talent in any branch of design, performance,
departments — arts, education — to the Treasury, where production and writing. Creative workers need to learn
the fruits of public investment in enterprise development how to manage a career, which is likely not to be with
would eventually be reaped via taxation. a single employer or even the same industry for life.
To prepare for it they need new skills and capabilities
At this point the ‘creative industries’ came to be seen as
in education, but they also need to be avid lifelong
a worthwhile investment in public policy. In the UK it has
learners, returning to education — formal and informal,
been linked with city and business services, education
accredited and non-certificated — as they navigate their
and health, and science based industries, as part of a new
individual ‘portfolio career’; self-employed, freelance or
creative innovation services sector that comprises fully
casualised, project-based, part-time, or working in teams
one third of the UK economy (Budget speech, March 2006).
with multiple partners who change over time.
The term has been picked up in diverse settings and adapted
to meet various national and regional agendas. Australia,
New Zealand and other Commonwealth countries, as well
as Hong Kong and Taiwan were among the early adopters.
Now China is catching up too.
Origins Creative Citizenship Symposium 41

They need to understand an The culture jamming movement,

international environment with anti-globalisation activists and
changing cultural, technical and environmental groups have proven
business imperatives, where themselves adept at using new media
continuing education is necessary, to criticise new media, drawing
project management a core skill and popular attention to the continuation
their own ‘life design’ an increasing in the creative industries of some of
priority. They need to be mindful of the most notorious features of the
the fact that entry-level ‘workforce’ ‘culture industries’. This includes
jobs (editing copy) are quite different the connections between brands and
from aspired-to destinations (editing sweatshops, new communications
Vogue), which are themselves very technologies and call-centres, and
different from ‘wealth-creating’ the impact of the ‘new economy’ on
positions (owning Condé Nast). human and cultural ecology as well
Learning itself is ‘just-in-time’, as on the natural environment. New
outcome-oriented, continuing, investment in creative talent has left
self-motivated and self-monitored, in its wake displaced practices, which
and increasingly sought from commer- are highly valued by individuals and
cial learning services rather than from communities, contributing further to
traditional certification institutions the ‘digital divide’. Creative industries
with disciplinary silos and a ‘provider’ have re-ordered international power
mentality. flows in ways that certainly doesn’t
advantage everybody.
Yet in both creativity itself and in the
new interactive media upon which All this requires a response from
innovation in the creative industries formal education; major changes in
depends, there are some decidedly pedagogy, curriculum, assessment
anti-industrial folk. With interactiv- and the experience of education for The creative industries are
ity and the evolution of media from both teachers and learners. Instead already significant components
‘read only’ to ‘read and write,’ rela- of seeing students as not quite of advanced economies. In
tions between audiences and creative fully-formed persons, betraying a 2001, the US the core ‘copyright’
content have irrevocably changed, ‘lack’ or ‘need’ that can be remedied industries were estimated at
even while existing forms persist. by providing them with knowledge 7.75% of GDP. In the UK, the
Among the changes must be counted that is in the authorised possession creative industries were esti-
the vociferous refusal of some among of the professional, learning becomes mated at over 5% of GDP and in
the potential audience to play with a creative experience driven by the 2006, the figure is approaching
corporate creativity at all, even while student. It’s a transformation with 10%. In Australia, they were
they poach the possibilities. high stakes: ‘It’s not a country’s size, valued at A$25bn, and the most
population, endowments of raw dynamic areas, such as digital
materials or even access to technology’ media content, are growing
that limit ‘social processes of learning at twice the rate of the overall
and creativity’, as Charles Leadbeater economy. Creative inputs into
has argued. ‘The vital constraints other service industries such
are in our hands, and depend on as finance, health, government
how we organise ourselves to spread and tourism are increasingly
education and promote creativity, significant.
entrepreneurship and innovation.’

This article is an edited extract from John Hartley (ed), Creative industries, Malden, MA: Blackwell
Publishing, Oxford, 2005. A collection of seminal essays by leading international scholars, it charts the
rise of the creative industries, including learning services, knowledge clusters, dot.coms, creative cities,
networked incubators, and new media.
42 Creative Citizenship Symposium Origins

Super block and its bloggers

eddie berg, keynote speaker at CDU’s Creative Citizenship
Symposium, talks to helen howard zilko about his community
building work in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

‘Any history of the mutating develop- A keynote speaker at the Creative Citizenship symposium
ments in the 1990s new media art in Alice Springs last month, Eddie Berg is self-described
must include Eddie Berg,’ declared the as ‘enthusiast’ rather than authority in a cultural milieu
international magazine, Sculpture. often marked by cynicism and pessimism. In the late 1980s
And last year he pocketed ten thousand he founded Moviola, which later became FACT — Foundation
pounds after scooping the Arts Council for Art and Creative Technology, a Liverpool-based commis-
England art05 award that recognised sioning and exhibiting agency. Groundbreaking at the
and rewarded an individual for ‘taking time, Moviola targeted artists working in film, video
risks, innovating, pushing boundaries, and new media, and in a serendipitous moment, the
and achieving transformational impact’ Tate Liverpool had opened its doors in the same year.
in the arts in England’s north west. ‘Suddenly, by associating our modest enterprise with Tate
A local Internet newscast-cum-blog Liverpool, we were operating in an international context.’
at the time screamed the headline,
photograph Under Eddie’s entrepreneurial drive, FACT has evolved into
Photograph of Eddie ‘Eddie Berg snogs Tracey Emin and
a flagship £11m purpose-built venue, and Eddie has moved
Berg courtesy Liverpool gets a big gong’. For the unschooled,
on to the British Film Institute, where he is again driving
Daily Post and Echo Emin was the bad girl Britartist of the
the design and funding of a major cultural venue; this
last decade, famed for her 1999 Turner
time a new £60m BFI Film Centre, to be completed in
Prize installation, My bed, that caused
time for the 2012 London Olympics.
a media furore. Upon delivering the
award, she said she was a big fan of But it was his community-building work that Eddie detailed
Liverpool and its culture, and had one at the Creative Citizenship symposium. He described
of her best orgasms there. It gives you an earlier program of creative partnerships between
a sense of the profane and larrikin communities and new media artists as ‘an attempt to
backdrop of Liverpool, its irreverent re-situate a tradition of community arts practice in Britain
humour and Eddie Berg’s origins. within a new collaborative framework, made possible by
new technologies’. After eight years and a re-evaluation of
developing the inherent creativity of a community for the
long haul, a remarkable idea was hatched.
Origins Creative Citizenship Symposium 43

A year after Tenantspin’s launch, the writer Will Self — in

a self-imposed writing exile on the 20th floor of Coronation
Court — described the 360 degree view from his temporary
tower as a ‘necklace of despair; one spirit-crushing image
after another’. But for the Coronation Court dwellers, their
It was Tenantspin — a community-driven Internet TV birds-eye view has taken on a new gloss. Superchannel’s
project; a webcasting channel with a chat-room facility, webcasting studio sits on the top floor, right next door to the
producing live one-hour programs. Yet in a bold move and block’s social hub, the hairdressing salon. On day one, resi-
against pervasive cultural policy and funding wisdom, dent Olga Bayley, then aged 79, poked her head around the
then and now, it earmarked the elderly residents of Liver- door, fixed her gaze on a computer and grizzled, ‘You’ll never
pool’s once-decaying tower blocks as its pleasure-players. get me on one of those things’. For the next three years,
An unfashionable demographic for cultural plundering, Eddie says, she was inextricably glued to the computer.
older people were viewed as passive consumers, not produc-
Two years later Olga was in Copenhagen hosting a marathon
ers; a generation that even the web’s new giants of YouTube,
four-hour live webcast from the Superflex studio, and in a
MySpace and Blogger had eclipsed. But in Eddie’s view, they
now legendary moment, demonstrated the quintessential
were ripe for creative engagement with technology and the
Brit dish, beans on toast. Images from the webcast later
unstoppable force of the World Wide Web.
illustrated posters that toured with the Populism exhibition
Two triggers underpinned Tenantspin’s creation. ‘I met to Europe.
the Danish artists, Superflex, and became aware of their
‘Tenantspin was initially proposed as a political tool for
Superchannel — a short-lived project with social housing
social housing debate,’ Eddie explains. ‘As the project
residents in Copenhagen,’ Eddie explained. ‘And then
evolved, the social, artistic and light-hearted webcasts
a colleague and myself had a chance conversation in a
became equally as important.’ And as John McGuirk,
pub with the community development manager for the
a core Tenantspin member pointed out, ‘Everyone in
Liverpool Housing Action Trust. Over a couple of drinks
Liverpool, old and young, loves to perform; everyone’s a
he gave us a potted history of social housing in Liverpool.’
show off, everyone’s got a story or a joke to tell — so how
In essence, the tower block (or Housing Commission towers could this fail?’ For the retired merchant seaman and
in the Australian context) — considered a failed post-war construction worker, involvement with Tenantspin was
social and architectural utopian experiment — had seen the life changing. As he told the Guardian last year, ‘I was out
Thatcher government shift emphasis from public ownership of work for five years before retiring at 65 and thought
to a quasi-private model. The now elderly residents, who had my life was finished. But in the past couple of years I’ve
moved in during the sixties as young married couples, had interviewed some fascinating people.’ Interviews now his
aged together in under-managed properties. But there was specialty, he’s landed breezy chats with the likes of Sir
little contact between the tower dwellers, the bloke in the David Puttnam. ‘The trick is to imagine you’re just sitting
pub told Eddie. ‘I’ve got a bit of money to help develop some in the pub having a chat with your mates.’
community cohesion. Have you got any cultural projects
‘Who’d have thought it? There I was with one foot in the
that fit the bill?’
grave and now I’ve done all this.’ Involved since day one,
‘When we started Tenantspin in September 1999, few of tenant Kath Healy, now in her seventies, has specialised
us really knew whether it would last seven days, let alone in filming and editing poignant interviews with high-rise
seven years,’ Eddie says. The first Tenantspin broadcast took tenants. Her ‘Conversations’ vignettes were selected for
place in Coronation Court, a standalone ten-floor block in the Shrinking cities exhibition in Berlin. Another Tenantspin
the seedier part of town. But the ninety residents in 104 convert is Stephen Thomas, a retired computer engineer.
dwellings, linked by labyrinthine corridors and stairwells, As he also told the Guardian, he’s impressed by the pace that
were passionate about their home. Nearly all the residents older participants, some in their 80s, have come to grips with
lived alone. ‘It was a community — but a community bound the technology. ‘But the main benefit of Tenantspin is its
only by its isolation and dependency.’ bringing people of all ages together as a community. It’s also
As an experiment in reducing social exclusion, Superchan- brought me out of myself. For me, it’s the communication
nel provided an Internet TV interface for the residents to skills side that’s been the icing on the cake.’
build and distribute content themselves. With a pool of new Cut to 2005, when Tenantspin commissioned sound recordist
media tools, they are trained in production; camera and Chris Watson to work on a new audio piece — A winter’s
sound, studio management, video editing, research, content tale. A founding member of Cabaret Voltaire and sound
development and presentation. ‘For Superflex, working recordist on David Attenborough’s Life in the undergrowth,
with the residents of Coronation Court enabled rollout of Chris and the tenants produced a soundtrack of soundless
the Supechannel concept in a radically different context,’ views from Tenantspin’s second location, the high-rise
Eddie says. ‘The need to develop a new tool for political and flats overlooking Sefton Park. These environmental sounds,
cultural enfranchisement could scarcely have been more captured in the park below, were piped back into the flats
evident, or its efficacy tested.’ through the CCTV system.
44 Creative Citizenship Symposium Origins

And this year, Tenantspin is engaged in a blogging project

with BBC Radio 3 for its Festival of Ideas. Margo Hogg, a
Like Darwin, the port city of Liverpool has its back to the
visually impaired ex-professional singer, and John McGuirk
land yet retains a distinct sense of its place as ‘the world in
have been blogging on myriad themes from science’s role
one city’ — the slogan used in its successful 2008 European
in shaping the future to isolation and loneliness.
Capital of Culture bid. And like the Territory, where politi-
Apart from producing two audio CDs, Tenantspin was also cal victimisation is a nagging concern, Liverpool sees itself
commissioned by BBC Radio 3 to develop a new radio drama; as a city-state; as an island within a national territory. ‘It
has archived nearly 300 one-hour shows online; developed has a love-hate relationship with the metropolitan centre,
an impressive series of collaborations with key cultural on the one-hand having a reputation for unreliability and
figures and institutions in the UK and abroad; and contrib- backwardness, and on the other, a special role in the cultural
uted to exhibitions in the New Museum of Contemporary formation of national identity,’ Eddie says. ‘Liverpool is like
Art, the Liverpool Biennial, the IKON Gallery and EAST05. the noir or repressed side of national culture, but it invokes
Tenantspin were even invited by curator René Block to a distinctive humour and a strong loyalty — and for artists
participate in the august 40 years of Fluxus exhibition in especially, the ever-present sense of edge and anarchy that
Wiesbaden, where they set up a live studio and captured rests barely below the waterline is a drawcard.’
some rare interviews. And now, the Tenantspin model has
‘Under the pressure of time, conformism and fatalism from
been adapted and developed globally, delivering training
our collective sense of powerlessness, is it any wonder that
and inspiration to communities of older people in the UK,
the bloody mindedness and irreverence of Liverpool then
Denmark, USA, Germany and Sweden.
becomes an antidote to artists and creative people?’ asked
Alan Dunn has been at Tenantspin’s helm for nearly six Eddie Berg when he opened his address at the Creative
years. ‘His role has been critical in brokering partnerships Citizenship symposium. ‘Without this, what are we? Where
and relationships between tenants, artists, cultural bodies, are we? Probably in one of Richard Florida’s liberal, tolerant
funders and various publics,’ Eddie says. ‘As a pioneering and humane creative class ghettoes with all the edges nicely
visual artist working in a social context, often collaboratively polished, waiting for the major corporations to arrive.’
with communities, he was well prepared to take Tenantspin
to another level of cultural and social engagement.’ On his
first meeting with Eddie he’d remarked that many com- web byte
Visit and
munity arts projects lacked both continuity and ambition.
to sample Tenantspin’s webcasts and other projects.
Perhaps that ambition is sweetly illustrated by Coronation
Street actor Margi Clarke, who recounts being in the super-
market when a little voice behind her said, ‘Excuse me, my
name is Mavis and I’m involved in something quite unique.
It’s Tenantspin and it’s on the World Wide Web. Would you
give us an interview?’ She did. And in one of the channel’s above The purpose-built Tenantspin studio, broadcasting to Sefton
most popular broadcasts, she talked about Liverpool’s Park tower block tenants in Liverpool. Photograph courtesy Tenantspin,
quintessential character. in collaboration with FACT and Arena Housing.
Origins Creative Citizenship Symposium 45

Our dazzling conductor and his orchestra

martin jarvis was warned he would find Darwin a ‘cultural sinkhole’. But the former viola player
with the renowned Halle Orchestra in Manchester was unperturbed, relishing the chance to
establish the city’s first symphony orchestra.

Eighteen years on from his arrival, associate professor Jarvis Such resounding praise is no doubt vindication of Martin
airily dismisses the ‘sinkhole’ label. ‘Darwin is eclipsed only Jarvis’ work in building the orchestra over the past 18 years,
by Adelaide as Australia’s most cultured city,’ explaining but the bow-tie wearing conductor remains as unflappable
that its ranking is earned in terms of per capita attendance as ever. ‘I guess you could say that when we played for Giselle
at films, theatre, concerts and art galleries. we crossed some kind of Rubicon,’ adding that the DSO is
now looking towards enriching its repertoire with recent
As founder and artistic director of the Darwin Symphony
federal funding of $400,000. The quadrennial grant is in addi-
Orchestra, Martin Jarvis can take some of the credit for
tion to support the orchestra receives from Charles Darwin
Darwin’s enhanced cultural status. ‘When I arrived here in
University, the NT Government and corporate sponsors.
1988 there was no symphony orchestra and no established
demand, either,’ he says. ‘My brief was to build an orchestra His hard work with the DSO sees no diminution of enthusi-
for the NT and establish the demand for orchestral asm from this veteran conductor and artistic director. At the
performances’. In one of the world’s remotest capitals, the Creative Citizenship symposium in September, he argued the
DSO has grown from its early beginnings as a chamber benefits of developing a community orchestra, especially
orchestra into a full-blown symphony comprising several one that moves ‘out of the box’ to perform in such exotic
professional musicians and a team of talented part-timers locations as Nourlangie Rock, Glen Helen Gorge and the
drawn from the community. Darwin Wildlife Centre.
In July this year the DSO achieved its biggest professional He still maintains his role as a lecturer in violin at CDU, and
breakthrough — playing for the Australian Ballet’s perform- was recently appointed chairman of Orchestras Australia,
ance of Giselle under the AB’s resident conductor, Nicolette the peak body for symphony orchestras around the country.
Fraillon. It was the first time the orchestra had played for a Martin admits he has occasionally been head hunted for
national company, and reflected a new confidence among academic posts at other universities, but none have been
its musicians. The players won the plaudits of the 7000- as attractive as his work at CDU and with the orchestra.
strong crowd at the Botanical Gardens amphitheatre for its ‘Every time I get an offer we sit on our Coconut Grove
interpretation of the score, even earning a rave review from verandah at sunset and say — why would we ever leave?’
Territory Administrator, Ted Egan. On his return to Govern-
ment House, he wrote to the local newspaper: ‘I want to
write this letter while I am still at my emotional zenith. It is
midnight and I have just experienced the absolute peak of text Ron Banks photograph Barry Ledwidge
exhilaration.’ He described the performance of ‘world-class’
dancers and musicians in rapturous terms, particularly the antennae
The DSO will perform Verdi’s Requiem, their final performance for 2006,
‘fearless’ conducting of Martin Jarvis in the scene-setting
on Saturday 4 November at the Darwin Entertainment Centre. To keep up
Orpheus Overture. ‘I witnessed the highest point of artistic to date on the DSO’s program and read their newsletter, Waxing Lyrical,
achievement in the 74 years of my life,’ he concluded. visit

New from CDU Press Lungfish

Second edition
Stephen Gray
ISBN 1 876248 34 3

Alex Lungwicz is a young newly-qualified

Melbourne lawyer unwilling to slot into
The UN in East Timor:
the groove. He has left Melbourne and
building Timor-Leste, a
come to Darwin on Australia’s northern
fragile state
frontier, to work as a ‘lawman in a
Juan Federer lawless town’. like his half-developed
paperback, 148 pages namesake, the lungfish, trapped in
ISBN 0 0975614 55 an evolutionary glitch between water
and earth, Alex feels unable to adapt
This is a unique book: an insider’s account to his new environment. Instead he
of the East Timor liberation struggle. It is discovers in the tropical hothouse
also an academically rigorous study of the fecundity of Darwin, that he is ‘in
creation by the United Nations of Timor the shark tank now’. In pellucid,
Leste, the world’s newest independent elegant prose this novel chronicles
state. Dr Juan Federer, for many years the events and relationships that
closely involved in the struggle for the help him find direction.
liberation of the territory, examines the
Stephen Gray is a writer and law lecturer
UN state-building work in East Timor. He
based in Darwin. His novel The Artist is a
concludes that it was insufficient to lay the
Thief (Allen & Unwin, 2001) won the Aus-
foundations for a well-functioning state.
tralian Vogel Literary Award in 2000. The
‘Timor-Leste is a very fragile state, whose
novel was also nominated for the Ned Kelly
future is uncertain,’ he says. ‘Once again,
Awards for crime fiction, short-listed for the
the UN was hamstrung by the limited com-
Vision Australia Library Awards, and was
mitment shown by its member states.’
nominated for the 2003 International IMPAC
The author argues for a stronger interna- Dublin Literary Award. He was named as
tional state-building effort to strengthen one of the Sydney Morning Herald’s best
fragile or failing post-colonial states. East young novelists of the year in 2002, and
Timor/Timo-Leste would have provided was awarded a Developing Writers grant
a perfect opportunity to do such work from the Literature Board of the Australia
properly. He stresses the need for the inter- Council to develop his third novel. His novel
national community to seriously address Lungfish won the Jessie Litchfield Award
the international humanitarian and secu- in 1998. He has also published a criminal
rity problem presented by fragile states law text-book Criminal Laws Northern
— a long-term legacy of the 20th century Territory and numerous academic articles
colonial experience. The book’s publication on Indigenous legal issues, copyright and
on the eve of the creation of the UN Peace criminal law.
Building Commission is well timed. East
This may be the first true modern ‘Darwin’
Timor would have greatly benefited from
novel. It is a beautifully detailed evocation
such a UN body, had it existed at the time.
of a unique place and social dynamic - that
The international community and the new
hasn’t been so skillfully addressed since
Commission would do well to keep in mind
Herbert. — Bill Perrett
the experience described in this book.
Chilean-born Juan Federer was a key advisor
and colleague of Jose Ramos-Horta and the
East Timorese resistance. He was a founder of
Timor Aid and the East Timor International
Solidarity Centre. He was former Director
General of International Relations for the East
Timor independence movement, and is currently
Program Director at the Centre for War & Peace
Studies in New York.

Crossing cultures: art,

politics and identity
Sylvia Kleinert (ed)
paperback, 152 + xiv pages
The state of the north:
ISBN 0 9758356 4 5 PB
A selection of papers
from the 2003 Charles Darwin
Symposia Crossing cultures is an exciting
demonstration of the quality of new
Tess Lea and Bill Wilson (eds)
research being undertaken in Canberra
paperback, 280 pages
and Darwin. Covering seemingly
ISBN 0 975761 46 3
diverse topics in art, society, material
culture, Indigenous issues and history,
The state of the north — is it the future
the volume brings together scholars
of an increasingly environmentally
who are concerned to understand and
challenged mainstream Australia? Or a
communicate the ways in which people
failed colonial outpost, already showing
of the Australian region represent and
signs of its use-by-date in its depend-
engage with their worlds.
ence on imported resources for survival?
Does being the ‘gateway’ to Asia leave The result of a conference held in
residents with a moral responsibility for Darwin, this group of papers displays
setting Australia’s policy on emergency the work of young and not so young
migration, or is our inability to influence writers whose enthusiasm and fresh-
policy a simple reminder of the Northern ness shine through in what are often
Territory’s dependency on the federation? quite complex intercultural encounters.
Will becoming a state lend us any weight The representation of ‘the other’ is an
in the national body politic? ongoing issue for those working in the
humanities and social sciences — but
Such questions inspire this collection of
in this volume, the writers recount
papers from the Charles Darwin Symposia
other lives with sensitivity and integ-
Series for 2003, and are collected here to
rity. The studies of these current and
mark an important historic moment in
recent postgraduate students are clear
the description of Territory issues.
and informative as well as imaginative.
With clear and purposeful ‘think pieces’
The breadth and vitality of this
from such key contemporary com-
collection will undoubtedly convince
mentators as Mandawuy Yunupingu,
readers that cross-cultural research
Tim Flannery, Glenn Withers, Paul Dibb,
is very much alive in Australia, and
Andrew Wilkie and Gillian Cowlishaw, this
that it continues to produce high
volume will be of interest to policy makers
quality outcomes that enrich our
and concerned members of the public.
Dr Tess Lea is director of the School for Social
Crossing cultures is a valuable addition
and Policy Research within the Institute
to the literature for all those interested
of Advanced Studies at Charles Darwin
in analysing both contemporary and
University. Dr Bill Wilson is a senior advisor,
historical cultural processes.
Support and Equity Services at Charles Darwin
University; an historian and expert in issues of
politics and policing.
48 alumni Origins

Edgar Dunis A lifetime of chance

Edgar Dunis, an alumnus of CDU and a major donor to the University, escaped war torn
Europe and came to Australia by chance; and chance has dictated the turns his life has
taken ever since.

above When close to retirement, Edgar joined Top End city. By chance, a contractor died suddenly during
Edgar Dunis with his painting and sculpture classes at the a major upgrade, and Edgar was thrown back on his own
portrait by Darwin
Darwin Community College, a pred- resources to complete a major refurbishment of Darwin’s
painter, Alison Dowell.
ecessor of Charles Darwin University, generators. The city’s power supply continued without a
text and finished his part time studies with hitch and residents were none the wiser.
Nigel Turvey
a Bachelor of Arts degree; a natural
Typifying many people who have come to the Territory,
progression for a man whose life had
Barry Ledwidge Edgar has had a full and rewarding life in Darwin. Apart
been sculpted by chance.
from helping to keep the city running, he built his own
Born in Latvia between the world home from scratch, surviving cyclone Tracy. Edgar was a
wars, Edgar trained and worked as an founding member of the Real Fruit Council which promoted
electrical engineer under Russian and the Territory’s fledgling mango industry, and his creativity
then German occupation, escaping bloomed in his higher education studies. Edgar was also a
Riga by chance just as the Russians founding member of the Darwin Visual Artists Association.
invaded once more. Like many dis- At the age of 86, he is still sculpting and preparing to show
placed persons in Europe at the end of his 100 or more sculptures made from mangrove collected
World War II, Edgar came to Australia after cyclone Tracy.
by chance; he thought he was going to
He may have arrived in Darwin by chance, but his contribu-
Canada or New Zealand. And by chance
tion to the growth of the Territory is by design. Edgar is a
he ended up in Darwin; he thought he
major donor to Charles Darwin University and recently
was going to Melbourne.
created an unusual bequest – two scholarships for visual
Edgar’s training in electrical engineer- arts students in the form of a bank share portfolio. Two
ing was an invaluable asset to Public $5000 scholarships will be funded by the shares every year.
Works in Darwin, which was growing He has previously donated industrial land to the university.
rapidly post-war and had an insatiable
hunger for electrical power. He helped
install and then continually upgrade
the diesel generators that powered the