Zandria - 2010 Graduate Program



After the completion of my Honours in Archaeology at Flinders University in 2003, I undertook full time work for Artlab Australia, South Australia's conservation centre, as an objects conservation officer. After spending time in the depths of museum basements vacuuming ornithological specimens, climbing scaffolding to repatinate bronze monuments and repairing ceramic pieces for family collections I decided to move overseas and expose myself to other exciting life experiences.

After two year of working in three different countries I thought it was time to study again and so I returned to Adelaide to undertake post-graduate study in Environmental Management and Sustainability at the University of South Australia. Whilst studying I also returned to work for Artlab, as well as volunteering with Conservation Volunteers Australia where I completed Certificate II in Conservation and Land Management. Although a challenging and busy time I definitely found all aspects rewarding and interesting and finally realised that the diversity of my background and interests, and even life experiences were a valuable asset.

With this realisation, and armed with my background in heritage, culture and the environment (and even financial sector), the diverse portfolio of the Department instantly stood out as a place where I could achieve my dream job. Consequently as soon as the applications for the 2010 round were open I applied!

I feel very fortunate that I was accepted as a 2010 Graduate and have continued to relish every opportunity.


First Placement: Cultural Property, Culture Division

My first rotation was in the Cultural Property Section of the Culture Division. During this rotation I found liaising with internal and external stakeholders and assisting in implementing the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage PMCH Act very exciting. I also was given the opportunity to assist team members with compliance and enforcement projects, permit applications and complete ministerial correspondence. A highlight was preparing information to increase public education and awareness of the PMCH Act, specifically in relation to compliance and enforcement. Working with the compliance and enforcement aspects of cultural property was very exciting and definitely sparked a keen interest in this area.

Second Placement: Environmental Water Policy, Water Governance Division

My second rotation was in the Environmental Water Policy Section. I chose this rotation partly because I am from South Australia and have an interest in securing water for our environment, but also because this rotation gave me an opportunity to experience an area of work that involved exposure to new skills and capabilities. During this rotation I was fortunate to work on many different projects such as website maintenance and development, assisting with the Annual Report and other publications which communicated the activities of the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder to key stakeholders, as well as arranging and the coordinating a Monitoring and Evaluation workshop for both internal and external stakeholders.

Third Placement: Natural Heritage West, Heritage Division

For my third rotation I decided that I would like to experience another aspect of the department and was lucky enough to be allocated a rotation within the Natural Heritage West section. This rotation has exposed me to different aspects of heritage, and has allowed me to develop new skills and knowledge in the area of natural heritage. The projects I am involved with include a database analysis of desert regions, which will help identify biodiversity hotspots for further research as part of a Deserts study, as well as the preparation of a research paper which investigates the pre-European settlement history of Indigenous connections to the Strzelecki track. The diversity of this rotation is interesting and has given me the opportunity to create my own deadlines and prioritise accordingly.

Final Placement: Caring for our Country Review Team, Australian Government Land and Coasts

I have found myself working in a review team, whose role is to review the Government's Caring for our Country Initiative. The work is very interesting and I am looking forward to learning a great deal!

'the best thing about working for us ... is the environment'