Panel: The Problem with Women in Power

by Nareen Young

I was one of four panellists at Future Women’s inaugural event in Sydney last Thursday night on ‘The Problem with Women in Power’.

Future Women is a new organisation that has been established to promote gender equality. It was really nice to be asked to be a panellist as part of such a prestigious group and clearly punters wanted to hear the panellists as it was completely packed out!

It’s important that our views are heard in mainstream spaces and this was a great group of interested women (and a few men). The discussion, lead by Jamila Rivzi, centred on issues for women who hold positions of power and I was able to draw on my experience over the years as CEO of two organisations. There was a really interesting discussion about gender equality vs gender equity and I was able to bring my intersectional perspective to that.

Here is the facebook link to the highlights from the night:

untitled (gidyirriga) 2018

Jonathan Jones

Jonathan Jones is a Researcher with Jumbunna, his latest works untitled (gidyirriga) 2018 is on show at Australian Centre of Contemporary Art, Melbourne.

Sound Design Luke Mynott, Sonar Sound; voices Karma Dechen, Renna Dechen, Beth Delan, Jenson Howard, Lilia Howard, Taj Lovett, Mincarlie Lovett, Phoebe Smith, Ben Woolstencroft and Mae Woolstencroftfrom Parkes Public School; with thanks to Dr Uncle Stan Grant Snr AM, Uncle Geoff Andersonand Lionel Lovett


untitled (gidyirriga) 2018 ceramic figurines, sponge-stamped synthetic polymer paint, wood, stereo soundscape dimensions variable

Commonly known as a budgie, the budgerigar is a small seed-eating parrot endemic to Australia. They are around 18cm long and are green and yellow to blend in to the arid regions of Australia. As a species they are about 5 million years old. Widespread throughout mainland Australia, today they have become the most popular bird to keep and are the third most popular pet in the world, after dogs and cats. They are promoted as ‘easy to keep’ and can be trained to talk. Since the 1950s budgies have been exported around the world and bred in captivity. This breeding has seen a variety of ‘mutations’, including in colour and size. There are at least 32 primary mutations, enabling hundreds of possible secondary mutations. Birds taken to shows and exhibited are known as ‘English budgerigars’ and are over double the size of wild ones with fancy feather shapes and colours.

The word ‘budgerigar’, like many Australian words, is a corruption of an Aboriginal word. In Wiradjuri we call them gidyirriga (like many birds their calls will teach us their names). Budgerigars are social birds and prefer to live in flocks. Large flocks can be seen throughout Australia’s interior and, like other noisy flocking birds, lead you to water sources.

Budgerigars are not only a popular pet but the subject of a decorative ceramic figurine movement. Collectable sculptures of the budgerigar have been made by many factories including Royal Crown Derby and Beewick in England, Ernst Bohne & Soehne and Goebal in Germany, and Bing & Grondahl in Denmark, along with a number of other unknown factories around the world. Budgerigar figurines have been collected worldwide. Because of mass-production the relief features of the figurines become streamlined to accommodate the ceramic moulds, causing the bird to mutate. It’s sometimes unclear if these sculptures are inspired by the birds themselves or have become imaginary depictions. Neck hackles swell, birds are enlarged and garishly painted; the beauty of the subject is lost.

Growing up with my great-grandmother I remember objects like this. Cast animal figurines like these budgerigars were part of her world. I remember playing with them and the sound of high-fired porcelain clinking. I quickly learnt how to be gentle.

As we move into the 21st century the protection Aboriginal knowledge and our intellectual property, the bedrock of our cultures, will be paramount. Our knowledges, which have sustained us for over 60,000 years, will be vitally important if we are to live for another 60,000 years. Our knowledges are embedded in our country. How our knowledges are implemented, respected and acknowledged will be essential to Australia’s relationship to Aboriginal communities. Knowledge can be duplicated, mutated, disrespected; or it can be used gently with respect.

This work is made up of over 60 budgerigar figurines that have been collected over many years. They have come from all across the world. I’m interested in the process of collecting both within a western and Aboriginal framework. The figurines are on show at the Australian Centre of Contemporary Art, Melbourne and are set against a hand-stencilled wall design using a stamp made from domestic sponges. This design speaks to both murruwaygu, or south-east cultural markings, and the designs seen on crocheted doilies. The design itself is an elongated diamond or gum-leaf design.

Accompanying the budgerigar figurines and wall design is a soundscape created in collaboration with Wiradjuri and non-Aboriginal children from Parkes Public School, in rural NSW. Children include Karma Dechen, Renna Dechen, Beth Delan, Jenson Howard, Lilia Howard, Taj Lovett, Mincarlie Lovett, Phoebe Smith, Ben Woolstencroft and Mae Woolstencroft who are engaged in learning the Wiradjuri language under the leadership of their teacher Lionel Lovett and local language champion Uncle Geoff Anderson.


untitled (gidyirriga) 2018 ceramic figurines, sponge-stamped synthetic polymer paint, wood, stereo soundscape dimensions variable

Meet our Film Interns

There is a new wave of Indigenous filmmakers to watch out for, Wonnaruah sister’s Maddison Coles and Georgia Coles and Kerrod Meredith-Creed from Gunggari/Dharumbal country. All three are current Australian Film Television and Radio- BA in Screen Production students here in Sydney. All three were selected to undertake an internship through Jumbunna Research Unit at UTS to shoot a Music Video for Koori Radio’s Young Black and Deadly program.

Young Black & Deadly (YBD) is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander fast track youth music program run by Gadigal Information Service Koori Radio and located in Redfern, Sydney. The program is for young Indigenous musicians between the ages of 12 and 18 looking to gain quality music industry experience. The musicians selected get a release of their music compilation (EP)  and a professionally produced music video.

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When Gadigal approached Pauline Clague at Jumbunna about doing a music clip of the YBD crew, she decided to create the same concept with the young Indigenous filmmakers and created an internship program with some young students. The program will run up to July and give the students a hands on experience with Production and Editing. She is hoping to roll out other internships leading up to Winda and other projects that Jumbunna will do in the future in film.

The shoot day was a height of activity, starting in the Gadigal studios before climbing the rooftop to shoot the choreography of the whole YBD crew overlooking Redfern and the CBD. It was an especially windy day, that caused balloons to pop and food to get cold and we were all chasing around the black, red and gold balloons whilst shooting the lunch party scene. We then headed down to cope street and filmed against the graffiti, and down the street, with neighbours coming out to look at the singers. The young singers loved that they were creating a crowd and a fan base as locals were engaged with the song and watching the clip being made. Our team were professional and keen to get the shots done.

The team now start in the editing process and in July they deliver to Gadigal Information Services the finished product.

Georgia “I really felt a real sense of community, being part of this project. I feel like  when people are gonna listen to the song they are going to feel the same”.

Maddison  “This whole experience has been absolutely incredible! Seeing our people follow their dreams is such a beautiful thing, I really can’t wait to see to see the final cut”.


Amanda’s International research to the Centre of Criminology, Oxford, U.K.

Amanda Porter is a Senior Researcher at Jumbunna IIER she visited the Centre for Criminology as a part of her Post-doctoral Research. Her book “Unsettling Security: Policing, Imperialism and the Myth of Public Safety”.


Amanda Porter and Robert Jefferies at the Water Police Museum

Tell us a bit about your recent trip, what were you doing at the Centre for Criminology?

My main reason for going to the Centre for Criminology was to complete the archival component of the research for the first chapter of my book, which about the history of state and non-state policing. I was interested in looking at the relationship between policing and imperialism and the development of the modern police in England and the colonies.  While completing the fellowship I was able to meet with archivists at the Water Police Museum, historians based at the West India Committee, at the London Docklands Museum as well as scholars working on the ‘Bentham Project’ at University College London (, a project involving 150 volunteers transcribing the works and correspondence of Jeremy Bentham. I was mainly interested in the correspondence between Jeremy Bentham and Patrick Colquhoun, who were two key figures in the setting up the Thames Water Police, the forerunner to the modern police. But I believe the biggest player, and the most neglected in terms of the history of the police, has been the West India Committee, which a collective of plantation owners who lobbied on a number of issues in the 18th century, one example being the establishment of a private police force.

Why does looking at this history matter?

I think a lot of the accounts of policing history are sanitised but they also limit our imagination in terms of ways out of the problem. For many policing scholars and criminologists the solution is to ‘recast the Peelian principles’ but in my mind the myth of the police as originating from a desire to uphold public safety is dangerous not only because it overlooks certain truths in history and the present.

And I think now more than ever we need to take a critical look at the history and operation of the police and ask some hard questions: do the police provide ‘public safety’ and if so, to whom? When you look at the circumstances of recent deaths in police custody—particularly the death of Ms Dhu or Ms Maher—it seems clear that the police did much more than fail to provide safety or fail to protect these women.

In the six months you were in England, did you have some time out and sight see around Oxford?

Well I arrived just in time for Winter, so it was pretty dark, cold and wet most of the time. On the positive side: I guess that I had perfect writing weather most days, ha! No but on a more serious note, I was very grateful for the opportunity to buckle down and just focus on my book—I am fortunate to have this time just to concentrate on my writing, it is very decadent in a way.

Finally, Did the research in those old places give you new ways of looking at the policing issues back in Australia, how do we merge tradition and new practices?

I find old places like that a bit eerie to be honest. Oxford especially, it was bitter-sweet for me. The correspondence between Bentham and Colquhoun has only just been transcribed as part of the Bentham project and a lot of the archival material about the West India Committee and their role in the establishment of the police has been neglected by policing scholars. So on an intellectual level it was fascinating. But on a personal level it was pretty tough. The Pitt Rivers Collection at Oxford University currently holds hundreds of ancestral remains which are yet to be repatriated and it made me feel uncomfortable. Being there really put policing and its deep links with imperialism in perspective for me.


The Bentham Correspondence

Amanda would like to thank the University of Technology Sydney’s Research and Innovation Office for the International Researcher Development Grant which enabled her to complete the visiting fellowship. She would also like to thank a number of scholars who provided assistance and material on the archival portion of this project: Robert Jeffries at the Water Police Museum, David Wells at the West India Committee, Martin Quinn and Tim Causer at UCL, Lucia Zedner and Alpa Parmar at the Centre for Criminology, Oxford University and volunteers working at the Metropolitan Police Historical Collection, the Water Police Museum and the London Docklands Museum. She would like to extend her thanks to the team at Jumbunna Institute of Indigenous Education and Research, especially the leadership of Distinguished Professor Larissa Behrendt, for providing a creative and critical environment from which to conduct this work.


By Matthew Walsh


Photo courtesy of UN. The Permanent Forum (2018)

The Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, was held from April the 16th to the 27th.

This year Jumbunna attended the Permanent forum for the first time as an Academic Institution. This year’s theme was “Indigenous peoples’ collective rights to lands, territories and resources” a subject that has been discussed, advocated for and fought for by Jumbunna for a number of years.

It is inspiring to see the sophistication of First Nations in the International forum as they seek justice and assert self-determination against the sheer volume of injustice taking place. To hear as one of the opening addresses President Evo Morales of Bolivia, the first Indigenous person elected as President in the republic, a message on self-determination and the success of multi-pluralism of coloniser and first peoples law and government was inspiring.

An inspiring space at the forum and a driver for the proliferation of thought and exchange of ideas took place at the UNPFII side events. These events included conversations around the standing rock campaign  and the use of social media as a tool for correcting the false narratives of police forces (see this link) as just one example.

Alarmingly many nation states continue to place that they are doing good work, despite much evidence to the contrary. The story portrayed in relation to child welfare in particular is at odds with the realities of many of many communities.

As part of our expansion into the International advocacy space Jumbunna wishes to reaffirm its commitment to facilitating that the truth be told. In the coming years we hope to, through the transmission of voices from community to the UNPFII shine a light on the truth.

If you would like more information on the UNPFII or UNDRIP in 2018 follow any of the following links:





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.

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