Penelope Bergen

PhD Candidate

Penelope is a full-time PhD candidate looking at non-Indigenous workers in remote Aboriginal communities in the western desert/APY region in the 1960s and early 1970s: from the pioneering days to a new bureaucracy and the legacy of that change for workers in remote communities today. This her my first foray into academia.

Penelope began her professional life as a classical violinist, playing with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, moving to the Netherlands as a full-time chamber musician. Several years later, she was offered a job with Amnesty International in Amsterdam. Penelope then began a career in broadcasting, making documentaries on international human rights issues for Radio Netherlands World Service and went on to become a consultant radio production trainer for the UNDP in East Timor. Her first novel was published in 2006 in the Netherlands. After a decade of no sun in northern Europe, she moved to Central Australia in 2007. Penelope is the proud caretaker of a part-dingo camp dog called Corny. She is the light of her life.

Research Interests

  • Non-Indigenous workers in remote communities
  • From the pioneers to bureaucrats - the legacy of that change for development workers.
  • Development workers

Publications and Resources


Bergen, P. (2006) Een Hemel vol Postzegels [Heaven is Covered with Postage Stamps]. Amsterdam: Archipel.


Penelope has published hundreds of reports as a reporter and program maker for the ABC and dozens as a documentary maker for Radio Netherlands World Service.

Penelope Bergen


Charles Darwin University
Alice Springs NT