Alice McNab

Winter 2019


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

welcoming workplace.


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