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New South Wales
University of Wollongong
Bachelor of Creative Arts Honours
Master of Creative Arts Research (Visual Art)
My earlier years were taken up with caring for others - first my brother and sisters, then nursing, and raising my own children. I worked with the aged and disabled for many years before leaving my job to study art.
In addition to my family commitments, while studying at university I worked many different part-time jobs, even having five at once for a while! During my research degree I was a part-time lecturer. I often had to juggle study commitments and deadlines with marking essays and practical assessments for the undergraduates.
In my Honours thesis, I investigated the 18th century concept of the Sublime landscape, and identified synergies in aspects of my art. I had always felt very connected to the landscape, in particular the wonderfully complicated rainforest pockets above the Illawarra escarpment, and I tried to express this feeling through my art.
During my postgraduate degree, I researched the Aboriginal and white settler history of the original Yarrawa Brush in the Robertson district. My major exhibition consisted of large scale etchings and a high-definition digital video of Robertson Nature Reserve, which is a tiny 5 hectare patch of rainforest and is the only remnant of the original Yarrawa Brush that is protected.
It was my passion for the Australian environment that led me to apply for the Graduate Program at DEWHA. I felt a strong urge to be more proactive in preserving our special landscapes and our cultural heritage, and I felt I would have a better chance of making a difference through the department.
My first placement was with the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder (CEWH) section, in the Market Development Branch of the Water Governance Division. Working in this section gave me the opportunity to work in a high-profile area of national significance, in line with the requirements of the $10 billion National Water Plan and the Water Act 2007. My work included policy, legislative, program and management elements. I was responsible for;
In the CEWH Section I developed a national and international perspective on current methods of environmental valuation and how they are used to encourage better management of vital natural resources. I gained a thorough understanding of the issues and challenges faced in sustainable management of the Murray-Darling Basin, and the critical importance of good stakeholder relationships.
Employee Development Section, People Management Branch, Corporate Strategies Division. In the Employee Development Section I was primarily involved in the 2008 Directors' Conference and DEWHA’s flagship Leadership Development Program.
As part of the team working on the 2008 Directors' Conference I;
Through the 2008 Directors' Conference I developed a broad understanding of the planning and execution of major contract event management. Attendance as photographer and administration support at the conference also enabled me to develop a better understanding of the issues and challenges faced and the incredible diversity of work across the department.
As part of the Leadership Development Program I;
Active participation in the Leadership Development Program Residential and Learning Network Group was a fantastic opportunity. The ongoing liaison/discussion throughout the leadership residential and follow up meetings was invaluable, and gave me unique insights into leadership and issues faced at the executive and senior executive level in the department. An added bonus was the opportunity to focus on personal leadership capability and to set goals for further development.
Australian Biological Resources Study (ABRS), Parks Australia Division. The aim of ABRS is to provide, through strategic partnerships, the underlying taxonomic knowledge necessary for the conservation and sustainable use of Australia's biodiversity. Without proper identification of species, we cannot begin to understand how to deal with the effect of climate change and habitat destruction on our natural heritage.
The tasks I am responsible for at ABRS are;
Working at ABRS has given me an understanding of how government policy affects taxonomy and biological collections in Australia. It has also given me an appreciation of the role of strategic thinking in achieving more positive outcomes for our natural heritage.
My final placement is in the Strategic Approvals West Section (SAW), Strategic Approvals and Legislation Branch, in the Approvals and Wildlife Division.
At SAW I have;
Working in Strategic Approvals West has allowed me to contribute to the controversial, high-profile Kimberley Strategic Assessment. Through being involved in the ongoing process of stakeholder engagement and negotiation, increased scientific research and evaluation, I have been able to observe how governments, industry and key stakeholders can work together to ensure that future development is environmentally sustainable.
'the best thing about working for us ... is the environment'