Welcome to the official CQUniversity Student Blog – CQUniLife. This blog follows the experiences of a diverse group of CQUniversity students from different countries, studying various programs and at various campuses throughout Australia.
By Malcolm Mann (Darumbal), Leonie Taylor (Djaku-nde & Birri Gubba), Melody Muscat (Bidjara) and Melinda Mann(Darumbal)
NAIDOC began in the 1920-30s and its evolution has shaped our national conversations. However, it’s about a coming together around a range of celebratory activities. These activities traditionally span a week or in some communities can span a month or more. NAIDOC Week is an invitation or an opportunity for the wider Australian community to ‘get-to-know’ and begin to understand and or strengthen their understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
An extract from CQUni’s Greatvine podcast interview with
I grew up in different parts of Queensland and New South Wales. And so when I think about where I grew up, I see that through an Aboriginal lens. I was born on Yugara Country and then not long after I was born, moved back to Darumbal Country where my family are from. We spent a little bit of time, in a small town on Yuwi Country, which is in the Mackay region. I was almost turning 10 when we moved to New South Wales where I lived on Wiradjuri and Barkindji Country until we returned back to Darumbal Country when I was 16. So, my memories of my childhood are surrounded by family and it being a very Indigenous world for me. I didn’t know that back then. That was just my world that I lived in. It was such a beautiful time.
We grew up hunting and fishing and cooking and learning how to do all that from my parents and my grandparents and lots of aunties and uncles that I grew up with or grew up around, and listening and learning from Elders. There was always an Elder around us. We were always either sitting and listening to Elders talking and sharing stories, or we were serving them. We were bringing them teas and coffees and making food for them. My childhood was very much an Indigenous one … even though I went to school with lots of non-Indigenous people.
I grew up in small country towns
and then went to larger schools in larger regional towns, but was always
surrounded by Indigenous people. And it was when I moved to New South Wales, I
realised how the Aboriginal thing kind of works. There are different mobs and
the Wiradjuri mob was different to us and Barkindji mob was different to
That was the start of my
curiosity about what it meant to be Aboriginal. My childhood was just really a
rich cultural experience. I grew up with lots of family, lots of other
Aboriginal people from other groups. I didn’t know at that point in my life as
a young person that I wasn’t just Aboriginal, I was also a South Sea Islander
and those South Sea Islander roots being from Vanuatu and New Caledonia. It
wasn’t until I was a young adult that I started to learn more about what it
meant to be a South Sea Islander. When we moved back to Rockhampton I began
learning more about how Aboriginal and South Sea Islander people have inter-married
and reasons for inter-marriage all the way through the east coast of Queensland
and top of New South Wales.
I think going to small rural
schools was a highlight. Allowed me to form really good friendships with
children from farmers and property owners. Everyone had their own different
connection to Country. I loved it. I loved being able to run around barefoot.
And everybody in the school was connected in some way, they were relatives or
our parents worked together, so everyone knew each other.
I think I developed a bit of
competitiveness in high school because I belonged to a family that was quite
good at athletics and art. We had great representation of Indigenous people as
students excelling in those areas. I’m not an athlete and I’m not an artist,
but I loved reading and writing and the academic side of things. So I became
quite competitive in that. I think it was my way of realising that Indigenous
people could also contribute intellectually and to have a voice intellectually
and be visible intellectually as well.
Melinda Mann was the first in her family to go to university and has recently completed a PhD, looking at the way Indigenous people transition from high school into work or further study. Melinda is currently CQUni’s Deputy Director for Student Life and Wellbeing.
Catch up on episodes from our previous Greatvine podcast series here.
They’re cute, they look cuddly and they are certainly not a bear. The koala – incorrectly referred to as a koala bear by some – is one of Australia’s iconic native animals, but the species has had their fair share of problems in recent times due to urbanisation.
CQUniversity expert in
koalas, Dr Alistair Melzer, heads up a community-funded research program, Koala
Research CQ, which is based at CQUniversity. Alistair is an adjunct research
fellow at CQUni and has studied koalas at the University for more than 20
years. His research also encompasses other aspects of conservation biology
including the management of environmental weeds in national parks and invertebrate
assemblages in grazing landscapes.
The following excerpt has been taken from our recent Greatvine podcast with Alistair.
Sibling rivalry is just par for the course for CQUni Bachelor of Education students Elliot and Bronte Wills. The close-knit brother and sister pair love a good competition, but despite their ambitious natures, they are also very supportive of each other.