The ANU College of Health & Medicine and the ANU College of Science offer Indigenous students the opportunity to take on a one-or two-year traineeship.
The trainees will work in a specific function within Science Administration for four days a week and spend one day a week training, with the aim of building a career-path to full-time work at ANU as a professional staff member.
Where does an ANU researcher go when they need to get a meteorite cut?
Or a specific part tailor-made for their solar car?
Or specialised equipment to drill coral cores?
These are all requests which the workshop has fulfilled, contributing their expertise in mechanical engineering to ground-breaking research and development at ANU.
The workshop manufactures, maintains and modifies components for scientific instrumentation and experimentation; supplies parts and materials; and consults on design.
Today I am greeted at the workshop by apprentice Brooke Roy, who shows me around.The room is filled with unrecogniseable machines in all shapes and sizes, some that look like they date back to the 50s. Metal is grinding, whirring and hammering, and a tank in the corner is bubbling with water. Despite this, the room has a relaxed vibe. It’s kind of like being at a mechanics shop, except the staff are actually making the parts.
Despite the novelty of working on objects like meteorites, Brooke says she feels right at the home in the workshop.
“I grew up making things and building things with my Dad. We would pull apart bikes and make new ones together. So I always knew I wanted to do something with my hands, and I knew for sure that I never wanted to work at a desk!”
She shows me some of her personal creations she has made since working at ANU: beautifully crafted hammers, clamps, welded boxes. We talk about what it’s like being a part of the workshop.
“The people here are great. I work with someone different every day to get a range of expertise. One day Carl might show me something, and then the following day Andrew might go over it again. So I can see how things are done differently to get the same result.”
Working together, the team produces parts which end up all over the world.
The equipment for drilling coral cores was built for Professor Nerilie Abram, a coordinating lead author of the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. Professor Abram used the tool to inspect growth fluctuations caused by climate change.
And the parts for the solar car will now travel with it from Darwin to Adelaide for the Invictus Solar Car Challenge.
“Engineering students came to us with the drawings of what they wanted, and then we worked with them to turn it into a reality,” Brooke explains.
Reflecting on Brooke’s childhood building things with her Dad, I ask her if she chats to him about her work at ANU. She responds with a smile on her face:
“I come home and say ‘I cut a meteorite today, what’d you do?!”
Brooke Roy is the university's first Indigenous apprentice through the ANU Indigenous Apprentice Program.
Find out more about the program and The Research School of Earth Sciences Engineering Workshop.
The third and final unveiling of artworks by Indigenous artists has taken place at the ANU Colleges of Science; Health and Medicine.
Dale Huddleston and the Riverbank band performed as five new Indigenous artworks were presented, which will find their place in the Robertson building’s SHM Administration hub area for many years to come.
Lead singer, Dale Robert Huddleston, was not only a musical guest of honour but also one of the local artists whose work was on display. A proud Ngardi and Wiradjuri man, the incredibly talented Huddleston family contributed three artworks for display.
Professor Russell Gruen, Dean of the College of Health and Medicine, provided the opening words.
“This is the final in a series of events where we celebrate these artworks, which are all sourced locally here in Canberra while being linked to many parts of our nation—in keeping with the national role of our University—through the origins and stories of the artists themselves from various parts of the country.”
An initial unveiling was held in the Peter Baume building, where local artist and Nyiampaa woman Sarah Richards presented two paintings named Kindness and Strength.
The second instalment occurred at the ANU Research School of Earth Sciences, which featured artists Dale Huddleston, Gregory Joseph, Richie Allan, and Lynette Talbot.
The final event at the RN Robertson building featured works by Rayne Huddleston, Peggy Hector, Megan Daley, Dale Huddleston and Linda Huddleston.
“It was great to support local indigenous artists - I didn’t realise how under-supported they were,” explains Rachelle Hammond, who is a Marketing Officer at the ANU Joint Colleges of Science, under the Indigenous Professional Staff Traineeship Program.
Rachelle and fellow trainees Tylah Saunders and Shaye Graham were in charge of choosing local artwork and coordinating the series of unveilings.
“It has been really fun, and meeting a lot of local Indigenous families and working and supporting with them has been amazing,” Rachelle says.
“My favourite part of the process has been seeing local Indigenous artists coming together, and being supported. Building space for them by showing their work, and seeing them network, is really important.”
Tylah Saunders from the ANU Joint Colleges of Science is the 2018 ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year.
Meet Rachelle and Tylah, the first trainees to participate in the ANU Joint Colleges of Science Indigenous Professional Staff Traineeship Program.