Celebrating NAIDOC Week along Broadway. The Banners run from Central to Wattle Street and show images of women and work that has made an impact in our community. Dstingusihed Professor Larissa Behrendt in Law, Aunty Joan Tranter in Education and Alison Bush in Nursing.

This years theme is Because of Her, We Can. Jumbunna IIER, Research arm has developed some banners that are flying from Central Station to Wattle Street, along the UTS curve, showing three women and their career paths that show the importance of the Education of our women.

Alison Bush, like many Indigenous women worked as a nurse and midwife. The pathway she and many in the field of health is a testament to the women that have helped to define the health system into a positive structure for our women.

Alison Bush ‘I only do my job and try to help people to understand each other.’

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“Aunty Joan” Tranter is our elder in residence at Jumbunna and has been a educator for over 30 years. Her influence at UTS has been extensive, working in Equal Opportunity and Employment and a valued part of the education system in UTS, she has also been a mentor and guiding support for the new students coming into UTS.

Distinguished Professor Larissa Behrendt is a Barrister, Law Professor, Chair of Research for UTS, filmmaker, advisor. She leds by example in the Research department, working to impact the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community to strengthen their voice through legal means, education, research and media. She has been a exemplary leader of the work that is done in Post Grad studies and research here at UTS.


The Artist: Tony Thorne is a Palawa man from Tasmania. An animator, visual artist, who has recently created an animation series “Little J, Big Cuz” for NITV which won a Logie for best Children’s television. Pauline and Tony have worked together in communities training animation to Lino print artists to show how to animate their artwork.

The concept was a take on the Rosie the Riverter woman, showing the power of the women to stand up for their mob as well as make a mark in our community through their commitment to helping others thrive.

The banners will be along Broadway from the 2nd July to the 17th of July this year.


Visit to Ōtepoti to create Untitled (D21.281 Galari bargan)

Written by Jonathan Jones

In February 2018 I was lucky enough to visited Ōtepoti (Dunedin, NZ) to research a new site-specific work for Dunedin Public Art Gallery. Part of my research process was to create a work that had meaningful connections. While in Ōtepoti I meet with the local hapu at Ōtakou and Puketeraki, not only to makes connections but to seek cultural approval for the work. The trip also enabled me to connect with Wiradjuri objects held at the local Otago Museum that I had been researching.

These objects, along with a much larger collection of Aboriginal and Papuan New Guinean material had been exchanged in the 1920s by the Australian Museum in Sydney with the Otago Museum for two Maori carved amo (house panels). Included in the traded collection was a Galari bargan or boomerang from the Lachlan River. Today the boomerang is identified by its registration number, D21.281.

The amo are from a wharenui that was collected by Dr Thomas Hocken. The wharenui had long been misattributed as Tumoana-Katore originating from Ngāti Porou in Hicks Bay. The wharenui is today understood to have been commissioned in the 1870s by Chief Karaitiana Takamoana of the Ngāti Te Te Whatuiāpiti and Ngāti Kahungunu from the Hawkes Bay region, although it was never completed and assembled.

In the 1940s, in order to fulfil government funding requirements, which stipulated that all Maori wharenui must be carved, the local Ōtakou community made moulds of the Hawkes Bay amo to create a concrete wharenui and church of their own. Today their beautiful concrete wharenui and church stands uniquely on the Ōtakou peninsular.

Other components of the wharenui were exchanged around the world, including to America and Europe, with what remains currently displayed at the Otago Museum. The ripples of colonisation, imperial collections and the trafficking of taonga (cultural tressures) have had impacts around the world. Colonisation has created new global networks and relationships between Indigenous peoples. How our people make sense of these new relationships is central to decolonisation.

JJ for blog

Untitled (D21.281 Galari Bargan) 2018
Fluorescent tubes and fittings, electrical cable
courtesy the artist and Tim Melville Gallery, Auckland

The bargan (boomerang) is undecorated, which suggests that it was functional. But within these new cultural constructs it moves beyond its functional use to connect the Wiradjuri and Maori peoples. This artwork, untitled (D21.281 Galari bargan), is a physical manifestation of ancestral forms and new relationships. While based on the shape of the bargan it speaks also to the form of the wharenui. Thrown by an ancestor long ago, the bargan has returned with a story to tell.

The project was opening in June and was greatly assisted by the knowledge and guidance of the Ōtakou and Puketeraki Iwi, in particular Ron Bull, Megan Ellison, Suzanne Ellison, Simon Kaan, Natalie Karaitiana, Tahu Potiki, Vicki Lenihan, Nathan Pohio, Megan Tamati-Quennell, Phyllis Smith, Rachel Wesley and James York.

Young Black and Deadly

YBD week 1 c

Pauline Clague with interns Kerrod, Maddison and Georgia  working on prep for the music video shoot with this years Young Black and Deadly winners at Koori Radio

On Saturday 9th of June, the team worked with the Young Black and Deadly winners for 2018 at Koori Radio for a music video clip planning day.

Associate Professor Pauline Clague and Mel Pesa have recruited interns Maddison and Georgia Coles and Kerrod Meredith-Creed who are all studying at Australian Film Television and Radio School, to assist the young aspirational singers to do the music clip for there upcoming album release.

Jumbunna will be working with the interns over the next month to help to deliver for Gadigal Information Services, a cut of the music clip for their to be released album and orginal group song “Don’t Kill The Vibe”

All members of the team were enthusiastic and engaged in trying to dream up possibilities for their clip. Kerry Johnson the co-ordinator for Gadigal has allowed Jumbunna to bring on a Young, Black deadly crew of our own, to support their emerging talent.

Next weekend we will be shooting a deadly film clip  and hope to share the vibe right across the country in a few months time.

Their new track is called Don’t Kill the Vibe and we can’t tell you anymore. You just have to wait for it’s release.

YBD Week 2

Kerry Johnson and Maya Johnson choreographing the dance moves with the Young Black and deadly winners at NCIE in Redfern.

Sorry For Your Loss Launch

It was a cold and rainy night but that did not stop the crowd who came to support the launch for the Sorry For Your Loss Installation at Boomalli Co-operative in Leichhardt on Wednesday the 30th of May, 2018.

This project is an installation piece made up of communal artwork and visual and audio performances set within a cell block. The piece tells the true story of the lives of the women who have died while in custody, pushing back against mainstream narratives.

It was amazing to see the build of the cell and all the elements come together over 3 days.

Click on the link to watch: Sorry For Your Loss Time-lapse


Distinguished Professor Larissa Behrendt and Associate Professor Pauline Clague

Both key creatives Associate Professor Pauline Clague and Distinguished Professor Larissa Behrendt were overwhelmed by the support from all that attended. They voice their feelings about the project.

Distinguished Professor Larissa Behrendt

“This has been really amazing and really overwhelming. I have been going to Boomalli since it opened so it seems surreal to have something actually here but I guess also seeing all of the elements come together finally getting into the space, I had a bit of a walk through before the crowds got here and just feeling the power of the sadness and the tragedy  but also the power of the healing and the rebuilding and the nurturing. It has been really amazing and great to have so many people turn up. It is actually really nice to celebrate Pauline’s vision around the project as well because she conceived it, she drove it and she brought everyone together and it has been fabulous to celebrate that”.

Associate Professor Pauline Clague

“I can’t separate myself as an Aboriginal woman, away from the story. I feel like I am walking with those women every day. There is something like 112 books that was part of the recommendations that was done back in the early 90s and each one of those books represents a life. We wanted to make sure that we honour them, not just as a book that sits on the shelf and gathers dust. We wanted to give them a life and a story that allowed people to not just feel them but be nurtured and comforted by the cultural elements that are around the possum cloak and the weaving and the other elements as well. We hope that we have done the family’s proud tonight”.

DSC_4179The evening was hosted by Koori Radios Blakchat’s presenter Lola Forester. The night was opened with the Welcome to Country and deeply heartfelt words by Donna Ingram. Donna had participated in the possum cloak making week and shared her warmth and support to the project.

The energy in the space was hugely compelling and there were many embraces and tears. The sounds of the cell block filled the air while people moved through the space to walk with the many Aboriginal women who have died in custody.

Conversations from the crowd strengthened the space at Boomalli and I think everyone would agree that this installation wholeheartedly pays tribute to that work and what the families are going through and how much silence around these issues.

The strong impact of this launch was shared by Lola the following morning on Koori Radio with Pauline Clague to share the event and hope that everyone who missed out can come’s along to experience this tribute before the closing of the installation on the 24th of June.


Black Chicks and Cocktails

Let’s Dance

Distinguished Professor Larissa Berendht, Professor Nareen Young and Associate Professor Pauline Clague took the stage in red shoes discussing the times and the effect of David Bowie’s 1983 hit “Let’s Dance”. 
Joined by the women was the cocktail mixologist and designer Emeritus Professor Michael Lavarch.
The theatre was a packed audience who were transported back to the 1980’s in a fun filled lecture/discussion about the times, with a few cocktails and a dance session thrown in at the end of the discussion.
During Black Chics and Cocktails they discussed representations of Aboriginal people in popular culture by overseas artists, the factors that drove Bowie to be vocal during that time, the life of growing up with the spotlight on our people through music and the political impact of the arts in this country, all while sipping on master mixologist Michael’s creation “Michael’s Golden Years”
 Screen Shot 2018-05-31 at 3.03.01 pm
The Team shared the cocktails with the audience and a little cocktail card of the recipe. At the end of the night they played out and got the audience up from their seats to dance to “Let’s Dance”.
The team at Jumbunna ended the night with a bang, bringing the packed house to their feet as the classic dance number reverberated through the halls of the MCA, it was a fun and engaging night that created a great atmosphere that we hope would have made Bowie proud.

Launch and Panel for Reconciliation Week

Jumbunna Research Team as a part of Reconciliation week, is helping to shed light on the growing issue of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders incarceration and Death in Custody levels increasing.

On Wednesday the unit will launch the exhibition “Sorry For Your Loss” at Boomalli Gallery, a collaborative community driven multi sensory installation work.

On Thursday a panel will happen at the Metcalfe Auditorium at the NSW State Library.































The exhibition will continue until the 10th of June 2018.

To reserve tickets for the panel the details are below.

The exhibition is a cell block that once you enter into it, there are elements that help to create a full story of the issues and differing artworks.

Audio Visual piece – is giving the ownership of these women back from being a statistic and placing voice on the stories of our women.

The Possum Cloak was made by the Jumbunna crew and community coming together to tell a story. The 48 panel represent the women we have lost since 1987.

The work that Jumbunna Research has done in reports and coronial support and the like informed the artwork and the reimagining of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal  Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC). It is important that these papers and recommendations don’t just sit on a shelf and gain dust, we have to find solutions and outcomes. The work has been done to work through recommendations, we need to have some action around these Commissions that are done on our communities.

The report was repurposed into artwork around the cell block. We hope people will take time to reflect on the volumes and hours of work our community gave to these reports and the recommendations are still as valid today as they were over 25 years ago.

We hope this exhibition will trigger conversation, and with that in mind the panel on the 31st will be facilitated by Distinguished Professor Larissa Behrendt, one of the creatives behind Sorry For Your Loss.

On the Panel:

– Professor Chris Cunneen one of the leading criminologists specialising in Indigenous people and the law, juvenile justice, restorative justice, policing, prison issues and human rights.

– Dr Amanda Porter  a senior researcher at Jumbunna with a focus on politics of policing and police reform since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.

-George Newhouse, a Human Rights Lawyer who is the principal solicitor of the National Justice Project.

-Craig Longman, Head of Legal Strategies at Jumbunna who runs a teaching clinic supporting ATSI clients and communities in the development and implementation of legal strategies, working with organisations like National Justice Project, Legal Aid to advocate for the community. He is also a barrister.

We hope to utilise this work around the community over the next year.  Lets remove our mob from being statistical data and give them a voice.



Litigation for the Community

The Jumbunna Litigation Research Unit is dedicated to the conduct of research and advocacy at the intersection of Aboriginal communities and the Australian Legal Framework.

Working at the intersection of research, policy and litigation, the Unit uses Research to identify areas in the Australian legal system that both deny justice to Aboriginal communities, and in which change may be achievable.

Once identified, the Unit works with stakeholders to attempt to support and effect change. Working in collaboration with the Research and New Media arms of Jumbunna Research, the Litigation Research Unit has worked with an integrative approach on behalf of the Bowraville and Muckaty communities on major projects seeking to promote the interests of Aboriginal communities.


Jumbunna with Garyaward jumbunna human rights


Transcript of Podcast with Craig Longman

My name is Craig Longman, I’m the head of legal strategies here at Jumbunna Research Unit.

I came to Jumbunna originally through relationship with its director professor larissa behrendt. We worked together on a case down in Narouma involving a number of young aboriginal men who had been interviewed by police and a time of night where they new that there obligation to notify the aboriginal legal service would be ineffective.SO effectively they would send a fax after hours and they new that no solicitor would show up.and they would get to interview these young aboriginal men with no representatives present.So we took that case and really it was through working on that case and working with Jumbunna staff when we where working on the watten defence up on palm island that we started identifying that there is some scope here for some research and some thinking around what kind of litigation and what kind of legal tactics are really effective both at holding the state accountable and also at trying to foster and really assist with the self determination that indigenous nations are executing and that indigenous nations are effecting all over the country on a day to day basis. The large part of coming to Jumbunna was really the ability and the opportunity to work with Larissa, the work that we do and the strategic litigation arena, the work we have done, particularly on cases like Bowraville, has really been driven and guided by a vision that she and I share. and has really been guided by a vision that she shares with all the staff here at Jumbunna about the importance of research that has an impact on the ground and the importance on acting both on your moral conviction but also from a place from respect and allegiance with community.

So the work that we did in Bowraville, and throughout this recording I am going to talk a little bit about Bowraville and it is important to say upfront that when I say we in this context I say both for Jumbunna staff and there are a number of staff that have been and remain involved the bowraville case and other cases and also the students that work with us from the faculty and also recognise the role that the community play strongly and the leadership role that Professor Behrendt plays in the work that we do and how we do that work.


Bowraville came to us, as most cases come to us, with the community approaching Jumbunna, which is how we work. We wait for the community to come and ask us for assistance. That’s a very tragic case. It’s quite old now, but it’s never gone stagnant. It involved the murder of three aboriginal children in the community of Bowraville, Northern New South Wales.

From the moment the children first went missing, before they knew that they had been murdered, the community had gone to the police for assistance. You need to understand the history of a community like Bowraville, where the police … Certainly, at that time, there was a lot of racism in the police force. And not even explicit racism necessarily, where they saw what they were doing, but racism where they just assumed things about aboriginal people and the way that they would act.

So, they let these ideas color how they investigated what was, at the end of the day, a serial murderer out there killing children. That initial investigation was really problematic. A lot of evidence was missed and a lot of connections were missed in the killings that would have changed the way those deaths had been seen. Initially, they were seen as three separate missing persons. And then, it was only when some of the children’s bodies started being found that they realized that it was a serial killing. They initially had child protection police officers involved instead of homicide police officers, for instance.

The community went to the police on numerous occasions and said, “We’re worried about our kids,” and they were told things like, “Well, maybe your child’s gone walkabout,” which is a terrible thing to say to the mother of a four year old child who’s gone missing. The initial police investigation happened. The police had a suspect in those killings, and that person was tried in relation to one killing. The law at the time in New South Wales made it a very difficult task to bring multiple charges on one trial, so one trial was brought. There was an attempt to bring two of the murders in the first trial, and the judge said no.

Then, a second trial was tried later on in 2004, and the judge excluded any evidence of the other two killings. You had a situation where families were sitting in the court, and they’re hearing what is supposed to be, in the minds of any normal citizen in New South Wales, the story of what happened, that goes to the jury and then the jury decides if anyone’s guilty of anything. They listened to this story and the questions obviously rise up and did is, why are they only talking about one child when three have disappeared?

One of the striking things about that case was the community, and the community’s relentless pursuit of justice. Probably, the central message that’s always come from the community in this case is, you, the state, have failed us and you owe it to us to make it good. It’s not enough to just say, “Yeah, we failed.” This person is still out there; this person who took our kids, and it’s your job to find them.

The community kept that struggle up for a long time, and when they came and saw us, a number of things had happened. One of the things that they’d done, which is extraordinary by any measure, was they’d convinced the New South Wales parliament to amend the principle of double jeopardy, which is a principle that says once you’ve been acquitted of something, then you can’t be tried for it again. So, they changed the law. But when they changed the law, they weren’t very clear about exactly what kind of cases would fall within it. So, they’d been to two separate attorney generals by that time to ask the attorney generals to retry this individual on all three murders. Both times, they’d been told no.

The police, after the initial investigation, had conducted a reinvestigation led by Detective Inspector Gary Jubelin, who’s now an Inspector. That reinvestigation was an entirely different thing. Rather than try and conduct it in the way that they would in a non-aboriginal community for instance, the first thing those officers did was went up and sat down with the community and let them know they were in it for the long haul, and built those relationships up, and they started getting evidence then, once the community trusted them. Because they started asking questions, rather than just making assumptions.

So, a lot of evidence came out, and that evidence has been sitting there for a long time. Now when we got involved, we really worked where the community wanted us to work. One of the concerns the community had was that the matter only ever appeared in the media or got any traction when a journalist was writing about it, which they were finding it difficult to maintain that momentum. So we put the story together as the documentary, in the documentary form, and that was predominantly about allowing the community to tell their story about what happened in Bowraville, and to talk about who these children were.

So, rather than looking at it as a case of where the police stuffed up, the documentary was about understanding what the impact on that community was, and one of the lessons that was really clearly learned in Bowraville is, you need to understand what motivates the humanity of a person if you want them to change or if you want them to do something. It’s all well and good to appeal to concepts of justice, or things that are right or wrong, but that doesn’t mean a great deal to someone on the human level. So, once those stories of the children were told, and the stories of the community were told, there was a renewed interest in the New South Wales parliament to reinvestigate the matter. They conducted an inquiry, which also generated a lot of really consolidated evidence that was already there, but also consolidated the story about how we’d found ourselves in a situation where the most notorious serial killings of children in Australian history is not known by anyone.

We worked with the police and we conceived some legal arguments. Now, we did all of this with the use of students, and volunteers and interns, over a number of years, and we wrote an application for the New South Wales police, and they submitted that to the previous attorney general, and that was successful. So, the matter returned before the court of criminal appeal last year and we’re not waiting for a judgment on whether or not this person will have to face their day in court and face the full story of what happened up there.

It became really clear to us, in Bowraville, but also more generally, when we looked at all the work the unit did across the different areas, everybody’s most impactful work started with story, started with what’s the story here. Because everything else, potentially our talk, it’s the ability to tell a story well, as is the ability to craft a legal argument well. They’re all well and good, but you have to understand what the story is that’s going to compel change.

The other thing to say about that too is, there is power in allowing a story to be told, especially in the Australian context where, quite often, a community story of injustice is taken, changed, morphed, bashed about, and then regurgitated in a different format, like a courtroom for instance. We can often see that … Speaking as a lawyer, we see that as professionalism. We say, “Well, this is how that story is presented to the court.” But that’s very disempowering too, because it’s telling you your story is not what matters. This thing that we’ve done to it is what matters.

Bowraville is a really good example of a situation where, there were a lot of people who were willing to use Bowraville as a vehicle for whatever their skill set was. Journalists were willing to write the article, provided the story provided them with a good article. Lawyers would use it and then apply their skill set to it. But, who were the people who were going to come to that place with a perspective, first and foremost, of saying to the community, “We believe you’re right. This was a racist investigation, and nothing happens here. Where can we flow? What cracks can we open up? What levers can we pull? What buttons can we push?

Bowraville was a really interesting experience to me, because before Bowraville, I would have told you that there’s only so many sites of influence that you can have an impact on. The way we worked in Bowraville was, just to sit as an ally. Just do what was asked of us. Allow the community and the families to direct the strategy, and working with the police to direct the strategy. Not is it just a case of this case coming back into court, but we’ve changed the way law schools have to teach their students about cultural issues. We’ve changed the way the police investigate homicides. We’ve had a parliamentary inquiry into a criminal case, which has never happened in the history of New South Wales before. We’ve survived going on four attorney generals in the course of the case.

We’ve also had an impact in the judge’s book. So, when you look at the impact, we’ve impacted the students who are going to be solicitors, the police who investigate crimes, the solicitors who run the cases, the barristers who run the cases, and the judges in front of whom the cases are run, and we did it all not just without silencing the community’s voice, but because the community’s voice was the center of it. We gave up our role as assuming that we were the most profound influencers, and let the story speak for itself. Then, we were just shepherds after that.

Our work here in the clinic is really about a technical expertise that we deploy in conjunction with the research that comes out of the office. We have researchers here that I doing extraordinary work in a number of research areas for instance in nationbuilding ,work in relation to criminology working relation to cultural and resilience in all these areas what we find consistently is is a need for the understanding of the dominant Colonial legal system a critical approach to that in terms of identifying opportunities to have an impact. In the system or even dominant they can’t even be saying because they considered to be the norm. Really what we do in the clinic is work with the team here agitate to hold the state accountable to MPower and to work with the indigenous communities and really to develop professionals through the clinic both have a broader understanding of what their role leaders both as a lawyer to improve the nature of the society within which they live a citizen of Australia and a citizen of the world what obligations arise from that. Really to a large extent that’s not just about helping the community about helping people who pass through the clinic sustainable practitioners that Gonna be happy and healthy and a going to feel that the end of the day and at the end of their careers that they have contributed something to the fabric the world in which they live.



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