Tuesday, July 31, 2012

New England Aboriginal students Oxbridge bound

I missed this one at the end of May, but it also seems to have been missed by the New England media.

On 30 May, the British High Commissioner to Australia, His Excellency Mr Paul Madden, announced in the presence of the Minister for Tertiary Education, Senator Chris Evans, the 2012 recipients of the Charlie Perkins Scholarship, a scholarship that assists Indigenous Australians to pursue postgraduate study at Oxford and Cambridge Universities.

Established in 2009 in memory of Dr Charlie Perkins AO, the first Indigenous Australian man to graduate from university, the scholarship is valued at over £33,000 (AU$53,000) per annum and includes all living expenses and tuition fees. The scholarship programme is managed by the Charlie Perkins Scholarship Trust and jointly supported by the Australian Government, the British Government (through the Chevening Scholarships Programme), Rio Tinto, the Pratt Foundation, the Development Office and Vice Chancellor at the University of Oxford, the Cambridge Commonwealth Trust, the Cambridge Australia Trust, the McCusker Foundation and various other philanthropies and individuals.

The photo from Sydney's Daily Telegraph via the Australian (link below) shows PM Gillard with, from left to right, Lilly Brown, Kyle Turner and Krystal Lockwood. Two of the three recipients belong to New England Aboriginal language groups.

2012 Charlie Perkins Scholarship recipientsFrom Armidale, Krystal Lockwood is a Gumbaynggirr and Dhungutti woman. Gumbangerri territory stretches from the southern bank of the Clarence River down to the Nambucca River valley. Dhungutti territory is occupied the adjoining Macleay River valley to the south.  

Krystal has just finished her Criminology and Criminal Justice degree with 1st class honours at Griffith University. By the way Griffith, Armidale is not just (and I quote)  a "rural town" in NSW. Get real, why don't you!

Krystal has a passion for criminal justice issues and criminological research. Her honours thesis considered the impact of race on judicial decisions to imprison and Krystal is keen to make a difference in addressing the over-representation of Indigenous people in the criminal justice system in Australia.  She has been accepted to the MSc in Evidence Based Social Intervention at Green Templeton College, Oxford.

Lilly Brown grew up in Western Australia but is also is a Gumbaynggirr woman, proud too of her Scottish and English heritage.  She is currently completing Honours in Indigenous Studies at the University of Melbourne (she completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Western Australia (UWA). Lilly’s interests lie in the area of knowledge production and dissemination, educational policy development, the link between knowledge and power, and the value of education as a tool to affect positive social change.  Lilly has been accepted to the MPhil in Politics, Development and Democratic Education at Trinity College, Cambridge, making her the first Indigenous Australian to undertake a postgraduate or undergraduate degree at Cambridge.

The third student, Kyle Turner, grew up in South East Queensland but is an Aboriginal man of Wiradjuri and Irish descent. The Wiradjuri language group occupy the largest of all territories in NSW in the centre and west of the state, extending into the sought. Kyle currently works as a Senior Epidemiologist and Lead Researcher for Queensland Health in the Deadly Ears Program and holds a Bachelor of Archaeological Practice (1st class honours) and a Masters of Applied Epidemiology from the Australian National University (ANU).  Kyle is looking forward to building on his already considerable research skills and to improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.  He has been accepted to the DPhil in Public Health at Jesus College, Oxford.

One of Kyle's parents drew attention to this you tube video on Charles Perkins with this comment: "My son Kyle Turner is going to Oxford University in 2012 because of this great man's legacy and belief in education." It somehow seems appropriate to finish this post with that video.


Monday, July 30, 2012

Northern NSW under twelve boys 11th at Saitama

I see from the Northern NSW Football Facebook page that the Northern NSW Under 12 Boys finished in 11th place at the Saitama International Tournament in Japan. You can find out more details here.

Those elsewhere in Australia are sometimes a little puzzled as to why Northern NSW, the broader New England, as its own state soccer league independent of NSW. Sir William Walkley, Ampol and the New England New State Movement tells the story.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Stories of the New England diaspora 1 - introduction

From time to time I mention the New England diaspora, that large group who lived or were schooled in New England, but then left. No one knows how many of us there are, but in total there are probably more of us than those still living in New England. If you include our children, many more!

I thought that from time to time I should introduce you to some of that broader community, many of whom are still in touch. Apart from general interest, the series has another objective, to show you something of the New England depth that is so often ignored. You see, because we don't actually exist, it is easy to ignore us!

This photo comes from Paul Barratt. It's a scene from a 1965 rugby match between Wright College (UNE) and Armidale City. While I had given up football by this stage, something I regret, in pursuit of other things, I still have my Wright College jumper.

It's a very Armidale scene, isn't is? It looks cold!

As Paul noted on Facebook, taking the ball is Wright College Captain Philip Bailey, who after completing an Agricultural Economics Degree and a Dip. Ed. taught for a while at The Armidale School, then at Gordonstoun, then spent 25 years with Yehudi Menuhin. He has published a 2-volume biography of Menuhin, details of which can be found at www.yehudiana.com. In June, Richard Fidler interviewed Philip on ABC Radio about his experiences with Yehudi . You can listen to the interview here.

Looking again at the photo, the player with arm extending towards Philip is the late Jonetani Galuinadi. This next photo shows Paul Barratt and Jonetani when they both returned for graduation in 1967. That was also my graduation year. Dear, that makes me feel ancient!

Armidale's role as an educational centre drew many from outside to study there. Jonetani was one such, one of many Fijian students who came to the city. Many were strong Methodists, adding greatly to the cosmopolitan feel of the Methodist Youth Fellowship.  

After completed a degree in Botany, Jonetani became a plant geneticist for the Fiji Sugar Corporation, and then later was Chairman of the Fijian Public Service Board and then Minister for Agriculture in the Laisenia Qarase Government. Jonetani died in 2009, aged just 65. You can find a short Fiji Times obituary here.

The Lowy Institute has been running a Meet the Candidates series in parallel with the Papua New Guinea elections. One of the candidates covered was Sir Kina Bona KBE, who until this election was Chairman of the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates Commission and Registrar of the Political Parties and Candidates Commission. Sir Kina was PNG's High Commissioner to London in the late 90s, and Public Prosecutor before then.

Dear that takes me back. Starting in the late 1950s, a number of PNG students came to The Armidale School for their secondary education. Sir Kina was one. There is now an active TAS alumni group in PNG.

Well, that's a start. More later. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Keeping the New England dream alive

In a post on the New England New State Movement Face Book page, Paul Barratt reminded me of one of his past posts - Booloominbah. Pauls' post reminds us that the things that make New England special were not created by the governments in Sydney or Canberra acting in the state or national interest, but by the actions of individuals. David Drummond cared.

If New England is to grow or even survive over coming decades, it will be because we as individuals care. And care we must. Without that, there will be nothing left of those things that make New England New England.

I know that I struggle sometimes to keep the faith. I struggle more to actually deliver in the sometimes turmoil of my personal life. Yet as I study our history, I am reminded every day about people, about individuals. Often imperfect, even sometimes unpleasant, their efforts built what we inherited.

Today, our history is turned too, at best, a footnote. Yet that history is of national and even international importance. Sound extreme, even grandiose? Well, consider this.

Without the new state agitation, we wouldn't have had a university in Armidale. Without that, we wouldn't have had the academic work on all aspects of New England life. Sure, many UNE academics now play modern games and have forgotten their broad regional past, as has the university itself. But think about prehistorian Isabel McBryde.  

The citation for her award in 2003 of the Rhys Jones Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Australian Archaeology justly summarised her work this way:

Her work in New England was remarkable for its extent and depth, and Isabel's examination of the interface of archaeology and ethnography in the region shaped not only the approach taken by many later researchers but also prepared the basis for the arguments about upland regions created by archaeologists such as Sandra Bowdler and Luke Godwin.

That's not a small tribute. And it wouldn't have happened if those of us who cared in the past and now hadn't cared.

Sometimes, our dream seem lost.

As clouds swirl around me, when things seem just so hard, I remind myself that we have a magnificent story to tell, that it is up to us to write the next page in our history.

This story will not be written by the big wigs or fat cats in Sydney or Canberra. It won't be told by prominent individuals. It will be told by thousands of people who care at their level within their constraints. It will be told by a Rod who cares about New England geology, by a Lynne who documents New England life and who cares about Bellingen hospital, by a Janene whose friends don't understand why she wants to work for a local newspaper, by a Paul who retains his links even though the world has taken him far away, by a Greg or Mark who try to keep the new state dream alive.     

We care. We count. Individually, we don't matter. We can be forgotten, ignored. Collectively, we will change things. Forget us at your risk, for we are not going away. You won't see what we do unless you look; both local and social media interactions continue below the horizon. Yet the interaction goes on.

And the photo? This shows a New England archaeologists, in this case me, up a tree!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

It was bloody cold in Ebor!

For those who don't know the Ebor Falls, they lie on the Waterfall Way between Armidale and the coast.

Lynne put this spectacular photo on line. I can only say that it must have been bloody cold! 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Memories of the Armidale-Kempsey Road 1

I started writing this post and then got very embarrassed.

Back on 16 June, Gordon Smith let me know that the Armidale/Kempsey Road had been reclassified as a local road rather than as a road of regional significance. It's bad enough that I have let that email sit for a month, but there is worse. Then I suddenly realised that I had dome something far worse!

Back in January 2010 in response to a post I wrote on that road, Jamie Schmidt wrote to me:

 Hi Jim my name is Jamie Schmidt my ancestor Henry Sauer built several sections on the Armidale to Kempsey road between 1878 and 1881.The section at Flying fox cutting sent him bankrupt as the superintendent asked him to widen it, perhaps unwisely he borrowed to pay for the work but the government refused to pay him.I have a great article from the Macleay Chronicle 28.04 1904 in which he explains some of the difficulties experienced in building the road.

Jamie sent me a copy of the clipping, but I never responded. I put it aside to do so, it got packed in a box and then vanished! Jamie, my apologies. I will write a post on the road, but in the meantime here is a photo from John Caling showing bullock drays on that road. 

Monday, July 09, 2012

Podcast - Social Change in New England 1950-2000

Because of the topic, this is a cross-post on three blogs.

In April of last year, I delivered seminar paper in Armidale on Social Change in New England 1950-2000. While I knew that it was being recorded, I didn't know until last week that it was on line as a podcast.  I had a cold plus too much material, but still it's a record of some of my work.

You will find the podcast here.