Indigenous Staff Network NAIDOC Week Panel

Aurora Milroy, Julia Hurst, Ngaree Blow and Eddie Cubillo


On Thursday, 12 November, the University of Melbourne Indigenous Staff Network held a NAIDOC Week panel discussion concerning the experiences of the panellists as Aboriginal academics at the University of Melbourne. In particular, the panellists discussed what had led them to academia, and the role of Aboriginal academics in leading the University of Melbourne into the future. Melbourne Law School Senior Fellow Eddie Cubillo (Larrakia, Wadjigan, Central Arrente) joined Aurora Milroy (Palyku – Indigenous Knowledge Institute), Dr Julia Hurst (Darug/Dharawal, School of Historical & Philosophical Sciences) and Dr Ngaree Blow (Yorta-Yorta, Noonuccal, Goreng-Goreng – First Nations Health), in a conversation moderated by Siobhan Vivian.

Each of the panellists described the pathways that had led them to working at the University of Melbourne, and the ways in which such work could and was being used to benefit the broader Aboriginal community. Despite different professional backgrounds, all of the panellists agreed that addressing Indigenous disadvantage required holistic approaches, led by the Aboriginal community, combining both the skills on display within the panel, and more besides. Such a holistic approach, combining professional skills, cultural knowledge, and Community leadership, was also considered the key for projects such as Treaty, and Aboriginal self-determination. Perhaps most importantly, each of the panellists also discussed how they dealt with the trauma inflicted upon them when dealing with the kinds of distressing matters that arose in their professional, political and personal lives. All agreed that finding and enjoying the positive aspects of family and Community, and especially getting back to Country, were essential to be able to continue working in such complex and difficult spaces.


  • Siobhan Vivian, Indigenous Development Partner, University of Melbourne)


  • Aurora Milroy (Palyku, Manager of the Indigenous Knowledge Institute);
  • Julia Hurst (Darug/Dharawal, Historian, School of Historical & Philosophical Sciences, University of Melbourne);
  • Ngaree Blow (Yorta-Yorta, Noonuccal, Goreng-Goreng, Director, First Nations Health, University of Melbourne); and
  • Eddie Cubillo (Larrakia, Wadjigan, Central Arrente, Senior Fellow, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne).