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Vale - Julie Therese Wells

By Mickey Dewer

Julie Wells is remembered as a loved friend, academic, historian and teacher Julie Wells is remembered as a loved friend, academic, historian and teacher

Julie Wells is remembered as a loved friend, academic, historian and teacher.

Together with her partner Peter Quinn, they drove to Darwin in the early 1980s. Julie, an honours history graduate from the University of Melbourne had previously taught at Preston Technical College (now part of the North Melbourne Institute of TAFE). Her first job in the Territory was at Casuarina High School (now Casuarina Senior College). Several years later and following the birth of their son Tom, Julie and Peter travelled through Italy.

The family returned to Darwin and Julie began lecturing at the Darwin Institute of Technology now Charles Darwin University. Julie taught across a number of disciplines reflecting her personal commitment and professional expertise: Adult Education, Tertiary Entrance programs and the Aboriginal Task Force, a forerunner of CDU’s Australian Centre for Indigenous Knowledges and Education.

Julie won a scholarship to pursue doctoral studies at the University College of the Northern Territory and gained her PhD in 1995 through the University of Queensland. Her thesis on post-war Commonwealth policy in the Territory, ‘The Long March: Assimilation Policy and Practice in Darwin, the Northern Territory 1939-1967’, documents the legacy this period has had on Aboriginal policy in the Territory and remains a landmark work on this topic. She continued to publish in a number of books and journals.

Julie’s career moved into university administration, first in the Faculty of Education and then as Assistant to the Vice-Chancellor, a role she held for several years working with Professor Ron McKay, Professor Ken McKinnon and Professor Helen Garnett. Julie held these roles during the formative years of Charles Darwin University.

She returned to history as a consultant public historian but was recruited to the Northern Territory Public Service to the position of Director of the Northern Territory Teacher Registration Board. Julie also served on the Board of Relationships Australia (NT).

During minor and unrelated surgery Julie’s illness was discovered, and it was already well advanced. After more than thirty years in the Territory Julie and Peter made the decision to travel south to spend their remaining time with close family. They shared three more years together and in this time Julie continued to publish.

Julie died in the company of her family with her beloved partner of 40 years, Peter Quinn, and her son Tom Wells-Quinn.