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Vincent Lingiari

Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture

The Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture commemorates the Wave Hill Station walk-off led by Vincent Lingiari with his Gurindji people and other groups in August 1966. A significant act by those involved; it was a catalyst for Aboriginal people, not only in the Northern Territory but across Australia, to have their rights to traditional lands recognised and for those lands to be returned.

The Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lectures, established in 1996, have included presentations by Sir William Deane (1996), Gough Whitlam (1997), Dr Yunupingu AM (1998), Patrick Dodson (1999), Malcolm Fraser (2000), and Professor Marcia Langton (2011).

CDU proudly hosts the Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture, a significant tradition of this University, to commemorate the Anniversary of the ‘Wave Hill Walk-Off’, and as part of the Gurindji Freedom Day Festival events.

The event is now held annually at CDU’s Casuarina campus amphitheatre and is free and open to the public. 

22nd Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture flyer


The 22nd Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture 2023 with keynote speaker Professor Stan Grant Jnr.

View the recording of this thought-provoking lecture titled Two kinds of time: how we can meet each other again in Australia.

View the lecture

Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture archives

The Lecture series was established in 1996 by the then Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation (CAR) and was held at the then ‘Northern Territory University’, which became today's Charles Darwin University (CDU). Later in 2007, CDU became the sole custodians of the Lecture, following the disbandment of CAR in 2000. 

Transcripts and/or recordings from 1996 to the present are currently available below.

21st Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture (2022)

The Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture was held for the first time on Gurindji Country, the birthplace of Aboriginal Land Rights, in the heart of the Northern Territory.

The annual Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture, which commemorates the historic walk-off from Wave Hill Station in 1966 by Aboriginal station workers and their families was delivered at the Freedom Day Festival held at Kalkarindji/Daguragu (Wave Hill).

Delivering the Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture on August 26 was author, union official and advocate for the Uluru Statement from the Heart, Thomas Mayo, a Kaurareg Aboriginal, and Kalkalgal, Erubamle Torres Strait Islander man who lives on Larrakia Country in Darwin.

20th Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture (2020)

The 20th Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture titled “Our Legacy of Activism, Advocacy and Calls to Action” features two former keynote speakers, Senator Patrick Dodson and Professor Dr Marcia Langton AO, along with the acclaimed author of ‘Dark Emu’, Professor Bruce Pascoe.

This year’s lecture saw a departure from tradition in these global pandemic conditions to offer a new digital format and a discussion panel, to honour and celebrate the legacy of this nationally significant commemoration.

Together with John Paul Janke (NITV Host) leading the discussion, these highly distinguished speakers reflect on the legacy of activism, advocacy and action from their unique perspectives informed by their life journeys, career paths and experiences.

About the key speakers

PROFESSOR MARCIA LANGTON AM: Anthropologist and Advocate

Prof Dr Marcia Langton AO is a descendant of the Iman people of Queensland. She is anthropologist and geographer, and since 2000 has held the Foundation Chair of Australian Indigenous Studies at the University of Melbourne and is the Associate Provost.

Prof Dr Langton has published in the fields of political and legal anthropology, Indigenous agreements and engagement with the minerals industry, and Indigenous culture and art.  She has contributed to policy development and been a public intellectual and advocate for Aboriginal rights.

Senator Patrick Dodson

Senator Dodson is a Yawuru man from Broome in Western Australia. He has dedicated his life work to advocating for constructive relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples based on mutual respect, understanding and dialogue. He is a Senator for Western Australia, and is Shadow Assistant Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

He has extensive experience in Aboriginal Affairs, served as a Commissioner in the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. And as mentioned, he was inaugural Chair of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation and Co-Chair of the Expert Panel for Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians.

Prior to his endorsement by the Australian Labor Party as a Western Australian Senator in March 2016, Senator Dodson was a member of the ANU Council, Adjunct Professor at the University of Notre Dame (Broome) and Co-Chair of the National Referendum Council. He is a recipient of the Sydney International Peace prize.

Professor Bruce Pascoe

Professor Pascoe is a Yuin, Bunurong and Tasmanian man, currently living in Gippsland, Victoria.

Prof Pascoe has published widely in both adult and young adult literature. He has won numerous awards, including the New South Wales Premier’s Book of the Year Award in 2016 for Dark Emu and the Prime Minister’s Literature Award for Young Adult fiction for Fog a Dox in 2013.

His children’s titles Mrs Whitlam and Young Dark Emu have been shortlisted in the Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards. In 2018 he was awarded the Australia Council Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature. 

His 2014 book Dark Emu, which cited accounts of early European explorers, colonists and farmers, he compellingly argues for a reconsideration of the hunter-gatherer label for pre-colonial Aboriginal Australians.

The adapted work that turned into 'Young Dark Emu', now brings an alternate, more accurate history of Indigenous culture and agriculture to a younger audience.

Most recently he was appointed Enterprise Professor in Indigenous Agriculture at the University of Melbourne.

19th Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture (2019)
The Minister for Indigenous Ken Wyat
The Hon Ken Wyatt AM

The 2019 lecture was titled ‘Looking Forward, Looking Back’ delivered by the Hon Ken Wyatt AM, Minister for Indigenous Australians, on Thursday 15 August.

Minister Wyatt’s lecture reflected on his thoughts that like a pendulum, the journey of Indigenous Australians has swung with the political and legal winds of change, at times, coming back to the centre of stillness, of homeostasis, where we find ourselves a little further down the road and bracing for the next wind that blows Indigenous Australians in a new direction.

About the key speaker

Hon Ken Wyatt AM, who was appointed as the Minister for Indigenous Australians in 2019, making him the first Aboriginal person to hold the federal ministry, and the first Aboriginal person to sit in cabinet. In 2010 he was also the first Indigenous person elected to the House of Representatives

Minister Wyatt is a Noongar man, and as the son of a Stolen Generations member, he has worn his culture proudly throughout his time in Parliament, and in his maiden speech, he wore a traditional kangaroo-hide cloak of the Noongar people and paid tribute to his mother, who died before the National Apology to the Stolen Generations.

He has had an extensive career in health and education and has made an enormous contribution to the wider community in training and mentoring young people. This was recognised in 1996 when he was awarded the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list. In 2000, he was awarded a Centenary of Federation Medal for ‘his efforts and contribution to improving the quality of life for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and mainstream Australian society in education and health’.

Lecture resources:

18th Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture (2018)
Josie Crawshaw

The 18th Annual Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture titled ‘The right for Australia’s First Peoples to be self-determining requires a collective mind shift’ was delivered by Ms Josie Crawshaw on Wednesday 15 August 2018.

In her lecture Ms Crawshaw reflected on the impact of the Wave Hill strike had on a high point in Australia’s history - the 1967 referendum - and shares the story of her Gurindji mother’s –Nawurla’s advocacy, persistence and resilience informed her own life’s work.

Josie provided a critical analysis of policy conceptualisation and identifying meaningful structural reforms that recognises First Nations Peoples in Australia’s Constitution, and pose the question of "Can a modern Australia recognise the rightful place of its First peoples of this country as a collective responsibility of all Australians to again say YES?"

About the key speaker

Josie is a proud Gurindji woman born in Darwin on Larrakia country.

Josie’s work life spans over five decades and includes advocacy, activism and service delivery. Josie’s focus is the recognition of Australia’s First Peoples and their rights and redress through a national Treaty. More recently this involves calls for the Treaty to be affirmed and protected in the Australian Constitution.

Her life’s work of advocacy and activism has been informed and enriched by her global exposure to how Indigenous collective and individual rights have been exercised in other locations, particularly around their political, financial, social, and business development entities. This included a six-month research fellowship visiting Native Indian and Inuit communities, villages, and reservations that have signed Treaties or Land Settlement Agreements with their respective nation states.

Another large body of international work spanning a fifteen-year period was as an NGO delegate to the United Nations Working Group in Geneva to negotiate and draft the United Nations Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which was ratified in 2007 by 150 nation states including Australia.

Josie has taken these learnings and advocated for the application of these rights to be implemented here in Australia through her time as an ATSIC Commissioner and in the numerous executive roles, she has held in both the public and NGO sectors. Josie’s work includes policy and program development in health research, employment and training, early childhood services, interpreting and language maintenance, child protection and safety services, and land rights.

Josie’s most recent position has been the National Co-Chair of the Statement from the Heart Working Group, an outcome from the Uluru Constitutional Recognition and Reform Convention held at Uluru in May 2017.

Lecture resources:

17th Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture (2017)

The 17th Annual Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture titled: "Our Hope for the Future:  Voice. Treaty. Truth" was delivered by Ms Pat Anderson AO on Wednesday, 16 August 2017.

In her her lecture, Ms Anderson reflected on her personal history and experience as an advocate for social justice during the last half-century of struggle for the recognition of the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

About the key speaker

Chair of the Lowitja Institute and co-chair of the former Prime Minister’s Referendum Council, Ms Anderson is recognised nationally and internationally for her leadership and campaigning for advancing the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in education, health, early childhood development, and violence against women and children.

Pat sat on many boards including the Advisory Board for Menzies and the International Advisory Board for Flinders University.

She previously was also Chair for many organisations including the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory and Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health.

Pat also co-authored the Little Children Are Sacred Report, a nationally significant report on the abuse of Aboriginal children in the Northern Territory.

In 2014, Pat was appointed Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to the Indigenous community as a social justice advocate, particularly through promoting improved health, educational and protection outcomes for children.

Pat was awarded the Public Health Association of Australia’s Sidney Sax Public Health Medal in recognition of her achievements, and she was awarded the Human Rights Community Individual Award (Tony Fitzgerald Memorial Award).

She is an Aboriginal advocate for social justice and winner of the 2016 Human Rights Medal, and in congratulating Ms Anderson, the then President of the Human Rights Commission, Professor Gillian Triggs, commended her work with the Lowitja Institute saying,

“Pat Anderson has played a leading national role in building collaborative relationships between researchers, Aboriginal communities and health service providers.”

Lecture resources:

16th Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture (2016)
Larissa Behrendt

The 16th Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture was titled 'Fifty Years Since Wave Hill Vincent Lingiari and the Heartland Legacy' delivered by Professor Larissa Behrendt on Thursday 11 August 2018.


Fifty years ago, Vincent Lingiari led an Indigenous walk off from the Wave Hill station that has become one of the most important political moments in contemporary Australian history. It was a protest movement that did not just have deep symbolic value but also had a profound intellectual base.

But there are also roadmaps forward that Lingiari’s political vision laid out that are equally relevant today. At its heart is the understanding that Indigenous people have to be playing the central role in the direction their future takes. This self-determination and agency will lead to the best outcomes for Indigenous communities.

Importantly, Lingiari’s vision for the future saw not just the importance of socio-economic equality, it also recognised the importance of strong Indigenous communities and cultures.

Today, when policymakers will often claim that Indigenous cultures are part of the problem, it is important to reflect on the role that Lingiari saw them play as part of the solution. In particular, Indigenous knowledges have a critical role to play in innovation, sustainability and resilience. Acknowledging and respecting this wisdom will not just offer important opportunities moving forward but should reinforce the central place of Indigenous people in Australian society.

About the key speaker

Prof Behrendt is a Eualeyai/Kamillaroi woman. She is the Professor of Indigenous Research and Director of Research at the Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning at the University of Technology, Sydney and a practicing barrister.

She has a Bachelor of Law and a Bachelor of Jurisprudence from the University of New South Wales and a Master of Laws and a Senior Doctorate of Jurisprudence from Harvard Law School. She is admitted to the Supreme Court of the ACT and NSW.

She is also a Graduate of the Institute of Company Directors course and has a Graduate Diploma in Screenwriting and a Graduate Diploma in Documentary Directing from the Australian Film, Radio and Television School.

Larissa is a fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences of Australia and a foundation fellow of the Australian Academy of Law. She was the Chair of the Review of Higher Education Access and Outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People. 

Larissa has been actively involved with arts organisations and with the creative industries. She is a board member of the Sydney Festival and a member of the Major Performing Arts Panel of the Australia Council.

Larissa wrote and directed the feature documentary, Innocence Betrayed, which was broadcast on NITV on August 6, 2014. She has written and directed several short films including Clan that won best documentary at the Shorts Festival in Adelaide and the Canberra Short Film Festival. Her films Fred Maynard: Aboriginal Patriot, Who’s Afraid of Jason Wing? and Djon Mundine: In the spirit of Bungaree have all screened on NITV. 

She won the 2002 David Uniapon Award and a 2005 Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for her novel Home. Her next novel, Legacy, was released in November 2009 and won a Victorian Premier’s Literary Award. Her most recent publication is Finding Eliza: Power and Colonial Storytelling.

She is a member of the Metropolitan Aboriginal Land Council, was awarded the 2009 NAIDOC Person of the Year award and in 2011 awarded NSW Australian of the Year.

Larissa is the host of Speaking Out on the ABC Local Radio network.

Lecture resources

15th Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture (2015)

the 15th Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture was titled “Custodianship in the 21st Century” delivered by Mr Jeff McMullen AM, renowned journalist, author and filmmaker, on 6 August 2015.

Mr McMullen’s lecture focused on It explored the Indigenous connection to country and pay homage to the wisdom of Vincent Lingiari an Indigenous elder who led the walk-off at Wave Hill cattle station in 1966, in Kalkarindji, Northern Territory, against what he describes as a ‘critical time in Aboriginal Land Rights History’.

About the key speaker

Jeff McMullen, a Journalist, author and film-maker for five decades, he is probably most well-known to us all as a reporter for Sixty Minutes and Four Corners, an as the foremost foreign correspondent for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

As well as serving as a director of the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience and the Engineering Aid Australia - Indigenous Summer School program.

Jeff worked for 14 years as Honorary CEO of Ian Thorpe’s Fountain for Youth, establishing early learning and the Literacy Backpack program in 22 remote communities and he was a foundation Trustee of the Jimmy Little Foundation.

In 2006 Jeff was awarded an Order of Australia (AM), for service to journalism and efforts to raise awareness of economic, social and human rights issues in Australia and overseas, as well as service to charity.

He is the author of A Life of Extremes – Journeys and Encounters and has contributed articles to In Black & White.

Jeff was also one of the contributors to ‘The Intervention: an Anthology’ which is an extraordinary document, and CDU was extremely proud to host the NT launch. This important book was a collaborative effort by twenty of Australian’s finest writers, thinkers and activists, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, alongside powerful statements from Northern Territory Elders. The work brings a new dimension to one of the most unprecedented actions by a government in Australian history – the 2007 NT Intervention.

Lecture resources

Partnership - The 2015 Vincent Lingiari lecture was proudly presented in partnership with National Indigenous Research and Knowledges Network (NIRAKN)

14th Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture (2014)

The 14th Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture was titled 'The Economics of Indigenous Survival' delivered by Sir Tipene O’Regan, Co-chair of New Zealand’s Constitutional Advisory Panel, on 21 August 2014.

The lecture focused on the challenges faced by Indigenous minorities in developing economic and governance models capable of sustaining the heritage and cultural identity of Indigenous people on an inter-generational basis.

About the key speaker

Sir Tipene O’Regan is Co-chair of New Zealand’s Constitutional Advisory Panel and a former Assistant Vice-Chancellor of the University of Canterbury. He chairs the Centre for Maori Research Excellence at the University of Auckland and is Upoko, or traditional head, of the Awarua Runaka of Ngai Tahu – the major tribal group in the South Island of New Zealand.

Sir Tipene is a Distinguished Fellow of the Institute of Directors and a Fellow of the University of Auckland.

He holds three honorary degrees: a D.Litt from the University of Canterbury and two Doctorates of Commerce from Lincoln University and Victoria University of Wellington, respectively.

He has held a number of long-term appointments in the New Zealand heritage sector and retired after 29 years as a Member of the New Zealand Geographic Board.

Sir Tipene’s academic interests have been focused largely on Maori traditional history and Treaty history matched with a strong interest in wider Pacific history and comparative culture contact experience.

From 1985 to 1998 Sir Tipene led the Ngai Tahu Claims culminating in the Treaty Settlements in 1998, and from 1986 to 1992 he was involved in the Treaty Fisheries Claims. He was the architect of the Treaty Fisheries Settlements of 1989 and 1992.

In more recent years he has written and lectured on the evolution of the Maori intergenerational economy and on the development of Indigenous governance.

Lecture resources

13th Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture (2012)

The 13th Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture was titled 'Stronger Smarter Aboriginal Policy Reform: like Vincent, we know how to wait...' delivered by Dr Chris Sarra, Executive Director of the Stronger Smarter Institute on 16 August 2012.

In the 2012 Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture, Dr Sarra traced the antecedents of his Stronger Smarter philosophy to the extraordinary and historical leadership of Vincent Lingiari and the Gurindji people who took an unprecedented stand for access to their traditional lands, and were patient beyond measure before finally succeeding in achieving their goal.

About the key speaker

A visionary educator and former principal, who holds a doctorate in Psychology, Dr Sarra has made significant contribution to, and continues to advocate for, Indigenous education based on 'high-expectations relationships'.

The youngest of 10 children, Chris experienced firsthand many of the issues faced by Indigenous students throughout their schooling. Entering university Chris found inspiration from various lecturers and mentors, who encouraged him to go beyond the expectations the system usually held for young Indigenous students.

He completed a Diploma of Teaching, a Bachelor of Education and a Master of Education. In recent years Chris completed a PhD in Psychology with Murdoch University. In the late 1990s, Chris took on the challenges of Indigenous education as the Principal of Cherbourg State School in South East Queensland.

Through strong leadership and clear vision, he facilitated many changes at the school which saw increasing enthusiasm for student learning through dramatically improved school attendance and increased community involvement in education. Under Chris’ leadership, the school became nationally acclaimed for its pursuit of the Stronger Smarter philosophy.

Chris has received many awards and much recognition as his ideas, enthusiasm and vision have taken hold nationally and internationally. Chris is now the Executive Director of the Stronger Smarter Institute which is pursuing improved educational outcomes for Indigenous children through engagement with principals, teachers, community leaders and government. The Institute’s work is based on the Stronger Smarter philosophy which espouses a strong and positive sense of what it means to be Aboriginal in today’s Australian society and that Indigenous students can achieve outcomes comparable to other students.

Chris believes that the power teachers have to inspire their students should never be underestimated.

Lecture resources

12th Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture (2011)
Proffessor Marcia Langton

The 12th Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture titled 'Culture, custom, modernity and health: a nexus of factors in the status of Aboriginal children' was delivered by Professor Marcia Langton, Foundation Chair of Australian Indigenous Studies, University of Melbourne.


The most vulnerable citizens of the Northern Territory are Aboriginal babies. Unable to feed themselves and given insufficient nutrition for normal growth, at the very beginning of their lives they suffer hunger and they are unable to develop normally. Growth failure or growth faltering is the principal manifestation of malnutrition in children

These babies are caught between two tides of history. On the one hand, they have been swept up by the tide of the past. Their parents and ancestors were the victims of such a disruption of normal life, brought about by colonisation, enforced segregation in managed reserves and missions, removal of children from families, extreme exclusion from the economy and poverty, that they were deprived of the knowledge or commonsense of parenting duties and responsibilities, from feeding weaning babies to basic hygiene. On the other hand, they will be swept along by an ill tide into an unhappy future.

Already biophysically affected by undernourishment and growth faltering, their capacity to take up opportunities for a happy, productive life will be limited. They are very sick children with an uncertain future.

Their experience is one of suffering from birth to adulthood, and if they make it beyond adulthood, from there on their lives are similarly blighted.

In this Vincent Lingiari Lecture, I ask: how should we respond to improve measurable, identified problems without entrenching passivity and dependency and worsening the situation, or making these expensive interventions permanent? The agency and sense of responsibility of community members is a vital ingredient in their success.

The critical question is: How to involve family and community members in health interventions so that they are taking responsibility for their own health and that of their children?

About the key speaker

An anthropologist and geographer, Professor Langton has made significant contributions to Indigenous studies at three universities, government and non-government policy and administration. Her work in anthropology and the advocacy of Aboriginal rights was recognised in 1993 when she was made a member of the Order of Australia.

Marcia Langton has held the Foundation Chair of Australian Indigenous Studies at the University of Melbourne since February 2000. She is in the Centre for Health & Society in the School of Population Health of the Medical Faculty.

She became a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia in 2001 and was awarded the inaugural Neville Bonner Award for Indigenous Teacher of the Year in 2002. She was awarded a PhD from Macquarie University in 2005. She is also a member of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS), a member of the Board of the Cape York Institute for Policy and Leadership and Chair of the Museums and Galleries of the Northern Territory Board. In 2011 she became a member of the Expert Panel on Recognition of Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians.

Lecture resources:

11th Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture (2010)

The 11th Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture was titled 'The Challenges of Human Rights for Indigenous people'  and was delivered by Professor Megan Davis.

prof Megan Davis

In the absence of entrenched rights in the Constitution and the state's failure to adequately implement and honour international human rights obligations, the vexing question for many Indigenous peoples is: are rights relevant to our daily lives?

This lecture mapped the history of Indigenous engagement with the United Nations and the international human rights system. In doing so it reflected on recent achievements such as the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. However this lecture raised the challenges of the international human rights system for Indigenous peoples and limitations of the Indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination as recognised in international law. This lecture advocated a transformation in the way Indigenous people think and speak about human rights.

About the key speaker

Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous, and a Professor of Law, at University of New South Wales. Megan also serves as a Commissioner on the NSW Land and Environment Court under the NSW Aboriginal Land Rights Act.

This year Megan Davis was elected as an independent expert of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues based in New York. She is the first Indigenous Australian and first Aboriginal Australian woman to be elected by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to a UN body. Her three year term begins in 2011.

Megan’s academic scholarship has focused on Indigenous legal issues in constitutional law and Indigenous rights in international law. Megan has been an international human rights lawyer for over 10 years and this has included the drafting of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Megan is the Australian member of the International Law Association’s Indigenous Rights Committee writing an expert commentary on the Declaration. She is also a former United Nations Indigenous Fellow of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.

Megan recently completed a doctoral thesis at the Australian National University on the right to self-determination and Aboriginal women. This year Megan was also awarded the 2010 NAIDOC Scholar of the Year. Megan is an Aboriginal and South Sea Islander woman from South East Queensland.


10th Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture (2009)

The 10th Vincent Linriagir Memorial Lecture titled 'Wuŋuli Dhärranhana: Making enduring records work for Indigenous cultural survival' was delivered by  Indigenous elder, musician and scholar, Joe Neparrŋa Gumbula, and Associate Professor Gracelyn Smallwood, from James Cook University, on Saturday, 15 August 2009.

Professor Gracelyn Smallwood

Dr Gumbula's lecture drew on his consummate knowledge of Yolngu law and heritage. It incorporated live traditional music performed in conjunction with women and men of his family including Lapuluŋ Dhamarrandji, Gawura Ganambarr and Dhamanydji Gaykamaŋu, and also captivating multimedia materials prepared by Dr Aaron Corn.

Associate Professor Smallwood is a Birrigubba-Kalkadoon woman from Queensland, who is recognised for her work in human rights, and Indigenous health and higher education. Her lecture was entitled Human Rights and Indigenous Culture.

The lectures were preceded by a performance of the Yanajanak song series from the Awurnbarna (Mt Borrodaile) region of north-west Arnhem Land led by the current custodian, Charlie Mangulda.

The book Exploring the Music of Yothu Yindi with Mandawuy Yunupingu, written by Dr Aaron Corn, was also be launched.

The lecture was part of CDU's Eighth Annual Symposium on Indigenous Music and Dance, which brings together Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers and performers from across Australia.

About Joe Neparrŋa Gumbula

Joe Neparrŋa Gumbula is descended from a long line of prominent Yolŋu leaders whose contributions to dialogue and understanding between Indigenous and other Australians date from the 1920s, and is a foremost authority on international collections of material culture from Arnhem Land.

Dr Gumbula is best known to local Indigenous audiences as an eminent traditional musician, and a longstanding member of the seminal Yolngu band, Soft Sands. Yet over the past decade, he has also earned international renown as a leading authority on holdings of Yolngu cultural heritage in collections worldwide.

In 2007, he became the first Yolŋu leader of a research project funded by the Australian Research Council, and he currently works as a Research Fellow in Curatorial Studies at the University of Sydney.

Dr Gumbula frequently advises major state collections including Museum Victoria and the National Film and Sound Archives, and tours internationally as a director and musician with traditional companies such as the Gupapuyŋu Dancers.

He was awarded the Doctor of Music honoris causa (honorary degree) by the University of Sydney for his contributions to scholarship and intercultural exchange in 2007.


Yanajanak is a songset from the Awurnbarna (Mt Borrodaile) region of north-west Arnhem Land.

It is said that the songs were originally performed by mimi spirits living in the vicinity, who taught them to humans.

They have been passed down to the current custodian, Charlie Mangulda, by his fathers and grandfathers, all members of the Amurdak – speaking Bunitj clan. Yanajanak is renowned across a wide area encompassing Arnhem Land and beyond, and its singers are in much demand for funerals and Marnurrng ceremonies.

This presentation will include performances of a selection of Yanajanak songs and related dances, as well as a brief talk discussing the songs’ origins, history and social context.

9th Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture (2008)

The 9th Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture was titled “Song, Story, History”, delivered by Mr Carmody using guitar, music and storytelling, on Saturday 16 August 2008.

Kev Carmody

About the key speaker

Mr Carmody, acclaimed Indigenous singer-songwriter, best known for co-writing with Paul Kelly the iconic song “From Little Things Big Things Grow”, which traces the events of the Wave Hill Station walk-off and is solidly canonised in Australian protest-song culture.

The lecture was part of celebrations for the 7th Annual Symposium on Indigenous Music and Dance held at the University from 16-17 August 2008. The Symposium brought together Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers and performers from across Australia.

8th Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture (2007)

The 8th Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture was titled '40 years since the Referendum: Learning from the past, walking into the future' and was delivered by speakers The Honourable Fred Chaney AO and Dr Sue Stanton, on Saturday 11 August 2007.

Marking 40 years since the Referendum, the 2007 lecture was a discussion of current Indigenous-related issues and events.

About the key speakers

The Honourable Fred Chaney AO

fred chaney

The Honourable Fred Chaney AO is the Co-Chair of Reconciliation Australia. He was born in Perth in 1941 and practiced law in New Guinea and Western Australia.

He was involved in the Aboriginal Legal Service in a voluntary capacity in the early 1970s before entering the Senate in 1974. He was Leader of the Opposition in the Senate from 1983 to 1990 and was Member for Pearce in the House of Representatives from 1990 to 1993. His ministerial appointments included Aboriginal Affairs, Social Security, and Minister Assisting the Minister for National Development and Energy.

After leaving parliament he undertook research into Aboriginal affairs policy and administration as a research fellow with the Graduate School of Management at the University of Western Australia from 1993 to April 1995. He was appointed part-time member of the National Native Title Tribunal in 1994, full-time member in April 1995, and Deputy President in April 2000.

In February 1995 he was appointed Chancellor of Murdoch University and in January 1997 was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia.

Dr Sue Stanton

Dr Sue Stanton

Sue Stanton is Kungarakan-Gurindji born in Larrakia country, Darwin, Northern Territory. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (History) from the Northern Territory University (now Charles Darwin University) in 1995 and completed an MA (American Indian Studies: Law and Policy - International Indigenous Human Rights Law) from the University of Arizona in 1997.

Prior to her appointment as Associate Professor, School of History and Politics, Faculty of Arts, University of Wollongong (2005), Sue was Head of the Aboriginal Centre at Wollongong. She completed a political internship at the Australian National University in 1995 while working in the office of the Hon. Margaret Reynolds, Australian Parliament, Canberra.

Sue was granted a Fulbright Scholarship in 1995 and undertook postgraduate studies in the USA. Before completing her MA in American Indian Studies, Sue participated in a number of programs in the States, including the Minority Leaders Fellowship Program in Washington DC, and completed the academic component of that program, Study of race and poverty in urban USA, at South Western University in Washington DC in 1995. She also completed two internships in Washington DC as part of this program – one with the National Urban Coalition (urban coalition advocacy and education group for inner city minority groups); and in the Office of Rev. Jesse Jackson at the National Rainbow Coalition.

On her return to Australia, Sue was a research fellow and later Director at the Centre for Indigenous Natural and Cultural Resource Management, Northern Territory University from 1997 until 2000.

Lecture resources:


7th Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture (2006)

The 7th Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture was titled ‘Into the Light’ delivered by Linda Burney MP 

Linda Burney

In this oration, she argues for truth in the telling of Australian history and reflects on the strength of quiet leadership.

About the key speaker

Linda Burney MP

Linda Burney is the first Aboriginal person to be elected to the NSW Parliament and also the first woman to deliver the lecture which honours the memory of the Gurindji strike leader.

As a proud member of the Wiradjuri nation, Linda was the first Aboriginal person to be elected to the NSW Parliament and the first Aboriginal woman to serve in the Australian House of Representatives. Linda’s commitment to Indigenous issues spans more than 30 years.

She became The Hon Linda Burney MP, Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services, Shadow Minister for Indigenous Australians, and Member for Barton, in 2016.

Elected as federal member following a 14 year career in the NSW Parliament as the Member for Canterbury, which during her political career saw her serve as minister in a number of senior portfolios including as minister for Community Services and later as Deputy Leader of the Opposition.

Following her election to the Federal House of Representatives she was immediately appointed as Shadow Minister for Human Services, and she has since been appointed Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services and Shadow Minister for Indigenous Australians.

Lecture resources:


6th Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture (2002)

The 6th Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture was titled ‘A Blast from the Past: An activist’s account of the Wave Hill walk-off’ delivered by Brian Manning on Friday 23rd August 2002.

Brian Manning


But his legacy is still there in the freehold Gurindji country. It is in the hands of the Gurindji People to decide what they will do in their own time.
When the time comes it is incumbent on the nation to assist their economic advancement and social development as a significant gesture in the spirit of reconciliation. That will be a most appropriate way of saying ‘Sorry’.

About the key speaker

Brian Thomas Manning (13 October 1932 – 3 November 2013) was an Australian trade unionist and political activist.

As a waterside worker, Manning was a member of the North Australian Workers Union (NAWU), the union which also covered pastoral workers. Manning arranged the transport of supplies from the union to support the Wave Hill strike, initially at Victoria River, using his TJ Series Bedford truck.

As Manning recounts it, the initial journey was a difficult sixteen-hour journey on the rough corrugated road, travelling at only fifteen or twenty miles an hour at times and putting stress on the truck and occupants. Meeting with Lingiari and speaking with the strikers, Manning promised to support them for the duration of the strike, a significant undertaking, as a previous strike by the Gurindji in 1953 had failed through lack of support.

The truck was used in other ways to support the strike, such as transporting others from Hooker Creek to join the action. Manning recounts how his presence was greeted with hostility from a senior Darwin based Welfare Department Executive Officer and from the local police officer.

Manning used the first visit to organise details of ongoing support. Back in Darwin he organised an ongoing roster using the truck to carry supplies, although he reports that over a dozen or so trips the original timber tray on the truck, “literally shook to pieces”. He also worked with the NTCAR to organise wider awareness of and support for the action around the country. He was elected as a delegate to the Waterside Workers Federation’s All Ports Conference in Sydney, where he was instrumental in a decision to levy $1.00 per member nationally to support the Gurindji action.
In 2016 the National Museum of Australia in Canberra announced it would be acquiring the truck to become an exhibit in the museum. In 2016 the National Museum of Australia in Canberra announced it acquired the truck and it has become an exhibit in the museum.

5th Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture (2000)

The 5th Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture ‘The past we need to understand’ was delivered by Malcolm Fraser on 24 August 2000.

Malcolm Fraser

In his Lecture, Mr Fraser retraces the path of Australian race relations and laments the terrible impasse we've reached. 


About the key speaker

Malcolm Fraser

Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser (1975-83 ) was Australia’s 22nd Prime Minister, serving from 1975 until 1983. Fraser came to office in tumultuous circumstances. Having provoked a constitutional crisis by refusing to pass the Whitlam government’s budget through the Senate in October 1975, Fraser became Prime Minister on November 11 after Whitlam was dismissed by the Governor-General.

Lecture resource:

4th Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture (1999)

The 4th Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture was titled ‘Until the chains are removed’ delivered by Patrick Dodson.

Pat Dodson


Mr Dodson's lecture focused on reconciliation and the relationship of Aboriginal Australians to the wider community and the Government.  In this speech, he talks about the need for constitutional reform, for a treaty, and for an end to Indigenous disadvantage. 

About the key speaker

Patrick Dodson

Patrick Dodson is a Yawuru man from Broome in Western Australia. He has dedicated his life work to being an advocate for constructive relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples based on mutual respect, understanding and dialogue. He is a recipient of the Sydney International Peace prize.

Patrick has extensive experience in Aboriginal Affairs, previously as Director of the Central and Kimberley Land Councils and as a Commissioner in the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. He also served as inaugural Chair of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation and as Co-Chair of the Expert Panel for Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians.

Prior to his endorsement by the Australian Labor Party as a Western Australian Senator in March 2016, Patrick was a member of the ANU Council, Adjunct Professor at the University of Notre Dame (Broome) and Co-Chair of the National Referendum Council.

Lecture resource:

3rd Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture (1998)

The 3rd Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture was titled  ‘Marngi nanapurru dhiyakku dhawu'wu yuwalk yana : we know these things to be true’ delivered by Dr Yunupingu AM, on 20 August 1998.

Galarrwuy Yunupingu


“It’s really all about two laws—Yolngu and Balanda—and the struggle we have had for Yolngu law to be recognised … Two hundred and ten years ago my ancestors were living here on this land. We had our own system of government, law and land tenure … although Yolngu law has stability, stays the same, the Balanda law changes all the time and can wipe away our rights with the stroke of a pen. When the two meet, unless there are special measures made to help each law speak to each other and understand each other, we can get it very very wrong.”

About the key speaker

Dr Yunupingu AM is an elder of the Gumatj clan at Yirrkala on the Gove Peninsula and is a prominent leader in the Northern Territory. He was Chaiperson of the Northern Land Council and served on many government and community committees and industry boards. Mr Yunupingu is Chairman of Yothu Yindi Foundation.

He was educated at the Yirrkala Mission School and helped his father draft the famous Bark Petition of 1963. Subsequently, Yunupingu was the court interpreter for the unsuccessful Gove Land Rights Case. He was elected chairman of the Northern Land Council in 1977 and played a key role in negotiations surrounding the Ranger Uranium Mine. He was not opposed to mining as long as it was conducted on the traditional owners’ terms, with fair distribution of profits and respect for land.

In 1978 he was honoured as Australian of the year and in 1985 was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his services to the Aboriginal community. In 2013 he received the NAIDOC Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2015 he was honoured by the University of Melbourne with an Honorary Doctor of Laws (LL.D.).

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2nd Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture (1997)

The 2nd Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture was titled 'Dragging The Chain’ was delivered by Gough Whitlam on Friday 29 August 1997.

Gough Whitlam


About the key speaker

Gough Whitlam

Edward Gough Whitlam AC QC (11 July 1916 – 21 October 2014) was the 21st Prime Minister of Australia, serving from 1972 to 1975. The Leader of the Labor Party from 1967 to 1977, Whitlam led his party to power for the first time in 23 years at the 1972 election. He won the 1974 election before being controversially dismissed by the Governor-General of Australia, Sir John Kerr, at the climax of the 1975 Australian constitutional crisis. Whitlam remains the only Australian prime minister to have been removed from office in this manner.
Whitlam stepped down after losing again at the 1977 election, and retired from parliament in 1978. Upon the election of the Hawke Government in 1983, he was appointed as Ambassador to UNESCO, a position he filled with distinction, and was elected a member of the UNESCO Executive Board. He remained active into his nineties. The propriety and circumstances of his dismissal and the legacy of his government have been frequently debated in the decades after he left office.

Lecture resource:

Inaugural Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture (1996)

The Inaugural Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture was titled ‘Some signposts from Daguragu’ and was delivered by Sir William Deane on Thursday 22 August 1996.

Sir William Deane

“The past is never fully gone, it is absorbed into the present and the future. It stays to shape what we are and what we do” 
Sir william Deane discussed the symbolic events at Daguragu and a number of “signposts” on the path towards true national reconciliation. He made observations around Whitlam’s speech and events that include acknowledging the past “injustice and oppression” suffered by the Gurindji; mutual recognition for some redress; the rejection of “any policy of complete assimilation and integration” with recognition that choice was essential, and that the role of government should be to assist the Aboriginal peoples “to achieve their goals by their own efforts” . He observes that reflected in Vincent Lingiari’s words, both groups should “go forward…as friends and equals”, with the understanding that steps and policies would be taken in the future to redress past wrongs. The signposts point to the principles of Reconciliation and self-determination.

About the key speaker

Sir William Patrick Deane AC, KBE, QC (born 4 January 1931) is an Australian barrister and jurist who served as the 22nd Governor-General of Australia, in office from 1996 to 2001. He was previously a Justice of the High Court of Australia from 1982 to 1995. 

In August 1995, the Labor Prime Minister, Paul Keating, announced that the Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia had agreed to the appointment of Deane as Governor-General to succeed Bill Hayden. Deane retired from the High Court in November and was sworn in as Governor-General on 16 February 1996. Less than a month later the Liberal/National coalition led by John Howard defeated Keating's government in the 1996 Australian federal election.

He is also a Patron of Reconciliation Australia and of the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association. The A.C.T. Government appointed him as Patron of the National Capital's 2013 Centenary Celebrations. He is a former Patron and Chair of international aid-organization CARE Australia and a member of its advisory board.

Deane was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) on 10 August 1982, a few weeks after being appointed to the High Court. On Australia Day 1988, he was made a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC). He is also a Knight Commander with Star of the Papal Order of St. Gregory the Great and a Knight of the Venerable Order of St. John.

In 2001, Deane was awarded the Sydney Peace Prize "for his consistent support of vulnerable and disadvantaged Australians and his strong commitment to the cause of reconciliation".

Lecture resource:

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