AURORA INTERNSHIP: Reflections on a reflective time

A group shot of me with some of the legal team, and a fellow intern Emmy, on my last day.

By: Eloise Dibden, 4th Year Bachelor of Laws and International Development Student

Many of you reading this now are probably wondering what The Aurora Project is and why completing an internship may be of interest to you. If you are unsure, (but curious) don’t worry! I was in the exact same position at the beginning of this year. In short, Aurora assists Indigenous sector organisations increase their capability via interns (like you or me), who contribute to their work.

This is exactly what appealed to me about Aurora. As a penultimate year law student I am seeking some practical experience in areas of law that unfortunately do not receive the attention and resources they deserve, and native title is one such practice area. I was fortunate enough to be placed with the South Australian Native Title Services (SANTS) from the week beginning 25 June until the week ending 20 July. For those with maths skills as underdeveloped as myself, that totalled 4-weeks part-time. Also, for those unfamiliar with the incredible work of SANTS they—among a plethora of other brilliant things—assist Indigenous Australians recognise, protect and develop their native title rights and interests.

During my time I got to develop and refine my legal, research, and administrative skills, as well as being able to observe a number of matters. The other great positive to SANTS is that they operate like a full-service hub of information, so you see the process from native title determination to the establishment and growth of Prescribed Body Corporates (PBCs), which successful native title claimants must register. I was able to gain a deeper insight into all of these aspects by attending a PBC Management Committee Meeting, observing consultations with government departments, and sitting in on a court matter. You learn not only about the law, but also its impacts on individuals and their day-to-day living.

Moreover, to be placed at SANTS for this time was fortuitous because it coincided with NAIDOC Week (8-15 July 2018). A personal highlight was attending the NAIDOC Week Awards, and hearing the stories of those being honoured. It encapsulated the importance of reflecting on the past, the present and the future. Similarly, it was also a time of reflection for SANTS, as they celebrated their 10th Year Anniversary (with a wonderful dinner to which I was generously invited on my last week). I can only be in awe of these wonderful people, and the equally determined people they represent, and their collective strength.

SANTS was such a welcoming and encouraging workspace, with brilliant, supportive (and patient) staff that is responsive to their interns’ aims, appreciate of their time, and not afraid to set a challenge. I encourage any student, whether in the early years of their degree or later down the track, to consider SANTS, and Aurora, as somewhere to gain experience.

I can definitely see native title law as a rewarding area to work in, and would love to further explore what else it has to offer. If you would too, check out the Aurora website for more information about the upcoming summer 2018/19 round:

I would to thank Aurora, SANTS, and the University of Adelaide for their respective roles in facilitating and making my internship the most enjoyable experience I have had to date throughout my study, and for providing me a platform to reflect upon it.

NAIDOC Week Awards of the official Welcome to Country

Craig Allen, SANTS Chairperson, talking at the 10th Anniversary Dinner.

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