I had a fantastic time in Darwin, where I interned at Aboriginal Peak Organisations of the Northern
Territory (APO NT) for five weeks in June/July 2019 as part of the Aurora Internship Program. I had
many new experiences, learnt from great mentors and made a lot of new friends.
APO NT is an alliance between the Northern Land Council, Central Land Council, and Aboriginal
Medical Services Alliance of the Northern Territory (AMSANT). While APO NT itself is quite small, it
shares an office with AMSANT so there were always lots of people around. It is a very friendly and
The work I undertook largely involved creating a framework to accompany APO NT’s Partnership
Principles, which underpin partnerships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal organisations. I took
over this work from a secondee from the Department of Social Services in Canberra, who was
leaving APO NT the week I arrived.
Creating the framework involved conducting research, writing literature reviews and scoping papers,
drafting key actions and strategies to guide organisations in implementing the Principles, and
drafting supporting documents to assist organisations to implement these strategies.
During my internship, I also wrote a submission to the Northern Territory Government on proposed
changes to the Northern Territory’s Local Government Bill, drafted correspondence, wrote a
communications strategy for APO NT’s Aboriginal Governance and Management Program, and took
minutes in various meetings. I enjoyed having a variety of work to do and felt that I had a genuine
experience of what it would be like to work at APO NT full-time.
My work at APO NT was very rewarding, as I felt that I was really contributing to their work. It was
exciting, albeit daunting, to be given a lot of responsibility from the outset of my internship. It was
great to be thrown into the deep end, as there is no faster way to learn than on the job.
I was proud that on the last day of my internship, my supervisor asked me to distribute my work to
the three APO NT organisations for feedback. The plan is for the framework to eventually be
published as a guide for partnering organisations to use.
Aside from this work, my colleagues at APO NT encouraged me to make the most of my time in
Darwin by attending various other events. This included the NAIDOC march, where I was invited to
march with APO NT/AMSANT. I was also able to attend a hearing of the Royal Commission into Aged
Care conducted at the Supreme Court.
It was a jam-packed five weeks, with many social events also happening in Darwin. The other Aurora
interns and I went to a ukulele folk festival called MUFF on our first weekend, which was lots of fun!
I also visited Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks, which were spectacular. Territory Day and the
Darwin Fringe Festival were also highlights.
Aside from these events, there are lots of other great things to do in Darwin. I loved visiting the
many markets on weekends, going to the Deckchair Cinema, having sunset picnics at the Nightcliff
jetty, waterfront or Mindil Beach, and drinks and live music at Browns Mart. Darwin is full of life!
Finally, one of the very best things about my time in Darwin was the people I met and worked with. I
became great friends with the other Aurora interns in Darwin and I am sure that we will keep in
touch. My colleagues at APO NT really made me feel like I was part of their team. They were always
very happy to share their stories and I loved learning about their varied experiences. By the end of
my internship I felt at home at APO NT and was sorry to say goodbye.
If you are interested in working at APO NT or at another Aboriginal organisation in Darwin, I strongly
encourage you to apply for an internship with them. Being away from home and working full-time, I
was able to immerse myself in the experience and see what it would be like to work and live there.
My internship was organised through the Aurora Project Internship Program, which can be found