Connor Dalgety

Organisation: 
Stream: 
Legal
Sector: 
Native Title
Location: 
Mt Isa
Round: 
Winter 2017

I was lucky enough to be able to participate in two separate Aurora internships as part of the Aurora Internship Program. My first internship was at Native Title Services Victoria (NTSV) and the second one was at the Myuma Group. I had incredible experiences at both these internships and I am genuinely grateful that I was given the opportunity to take part in the Aurora program. 

The style of internship at the Myuma Group was very different to NTSV but it equally enjoyable. At NTSV the work that I had been performing was for a range of different Traditional Owner Groups. At the Myuma Group, all the work was for the Indjalandji Dhidanu people. This meant that I was able to gain a thorough understanding of a Traditional Owner Group. In addition, the internship was designed in a manner to allow me to learn as much as possible about the culture and history of the Indjalandji Dhidanu people. I learnt primarily through three different formats. Firstly, extensive reading materials were provided. Secondly, Traditional Owners were often prepared to relay oral histories when asked. This occurred primarily when I was taken out onto country. Thirdly, a form of cultural training program was run at the work camp in Camooweal over 3 days. This cultural training program was particularly powerful. It involved learning about the history in the region, Aboriginal culture both generally and specifically about the Indjalandji Dhidanu people and contemporary issues that are faced by Aboriginal people and wider society. Through this training program I was able to gain a basic understanding of the complexity and diversity of Aboriginal history and cultural beliefs throughout north western Queensland. I was also able to witness firsthand the empowering impact that knowledge of history and pride in culture can have on people. During the training program we also had the opportunity to visit a number of sacred sites within Indjalandji-Dhidanu Country. I was able to have a far greater appreciation for these sites because their significance had been explained through the training program. In this internship I was also given the opportunity to work directly with Traditional Owners. This was primarily done through discussing legal documents and relevant laws and drafting other documents for review. 

The mentoring that I received at the Myuma Group was also excellent. My direct supervisor was based interstate but we liaised regularly. She provided really good feedback when I submitted work to her which allowed me to improve my work across the internship. In addition, she clearly cared about my wellbeing and regularly sought my feedback about how the internship experience could be improved. Her attitude was synonymous with that of everyone else that I encountered within the organisation. Everyone ensured that I had all the support I needed and made a conscious effort to make me feel appreciated and welcomed.

During my time at the Myuma group I performed a range of different tasks. Some of these tasks are detailed below:

  • Drafting documents that related to issues involved with the enforcement of Cultural Heritage Management Plans and other rights contained in legislation;
  • Assisting in the negotiation of agreements for exploration activities;
  • Conducting legal research on wider issues that affect the organisation such as taxation law and social security benefits;
  • Drafting funding proposals and business/commercialisation plans; and
  • Shadowing a Cultural Heritage Officer in the field. The Cultural Heritage Officer was primarily responsible for salvaging artefacts in an area where a pipeline is being constructed.