First Nations Speaker Series


This inaugural First Nations Speaker Series is a joint online program between the NSW Judicial Commission, the Law Society of NSW and NSW Bar Association celebrating First Nations culture and identity. The program has been developed to highlight the range of positive contributions made by First Nations peoples to Australian society, to encourage ongoing engagement of legal practitioners with the experiences of First Nations peoples and further understanding of cultural perspectives across a range of disciplines.

The series features insightful talks featuring authors, researchers, creators, innovators, knowledge holders and storytellers. In a year that has been marked by many challenges and memories of the 30 years since the Royal Commission Into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, this series will enable us to listen and hear from leading knowledge holders as they share their work and understandings of culture and identity and its significance and relevance to modern practices and thinking.

The program of multi-talented speakers includes thought leaders and authors Dr Tyson Yunkaporta and Uncle Bruce Pascoe, innovative Astrophysicist Ms Karlie Noon and scientist, language expert and author Aunty Frances Bodkin.


Thursday 12 August Dr Tyson Yunkaporta

Thursday 19 August Ms Karlie Noon

Thursday 2 September Aunty Frances Bodkin

Thursday 9 September Uncle Bruce Pascoe

Time: 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Venue: via webinar (joining instructions will be sent closer to the date)

RSVP: If you would like to attend the webinars, please RSVP by 10 August here

About the Speakers:

Dr Tyson Yunkaporta is an academic, an arts critic, and a researcher who is a member of the Apalech Clan in far north Queensland. He carves traditional tools and weapons and also works as a senior lecturer in Indigenous Knowledges at Deakin University in Melbourne. Author of Sand Talk, Dr Tyson Yunkaporta looks at global systems from a unique perspective, one tied to the natural and spiritual world. In considering how contemporary life diverges from the pattern of creation, he yarns with people, looking for ways to connect images and stories with place and relationship to create a coherent world view, and he uses sand talk, the Aboriginal custom of drawing images on the ground to convey knowledge. In Sand Talk, he provides a new model for our everyday lives. It’s about how we learn and how we remember. It’s about talking to everyone and listening carefully. It’s about finding different ways to look at things.

Ms Karlie Noon is a Gamilaraay woman who was born and raised in Tamworth, NSW. She grew up with very little interest in school but a big interest in mathematics. For Karlie, her maths journey started when she was 8 when she began playing maths games with an older Aboriginal lady who was a close family friend. Little did anyone know she would be the first Aboriginal person on the East coast of Australia to graduate with a combined Bachelor of Mathematics/Bachelor of Science. An astronomer, multiple award winner, 2019 Eureka Prize nominee, and one of the 2017 BBC's 100 Women. She is researching Astronomy and Astrophysics at the Australian National University, Australia.

Aunty Frances Bodkin is a descendant of the D’harawal people of the Bidiagal clan. She is an Elder, a scientist, an educator of D’harawal knowledge and holds a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences with five majors, including Environmental Sciences, and further postgraduate degrees. Combining the knowledge passed down from her Aboriginal mother with her university education she holds a holistic understanding of the natural environment and ways to care for it. Aunty Frances has published three books on D’harawal culture, stories and natural resources. She is an active member of Wollondilly Aboriginal Advisory Committee and has played a key role in the Campbelltown Hospital, Campbelltown TAFE, Mount Annan Botanic Gardens (part of the Australian Botanic Gardens) and what is now the UWS Campbelltown Campus.

Uncle Bruce Pascoe is an Aboriginal Australian writer of literary fiction, non-fiction, poetry, essays and children's literature. As well as his own name, he has written under the pen names Murray Gray and Leopold Glass. Since August 2020, he has been Enterprise Professor in Indigenous Agriculture at the University of Melbourne. Uncle is best known for his work Dark Emu: Black Seeds: Agriculture or Accident? (2014), which reexamines colonial accounts of Aboriginal people in Australia and cites evidence of pre-colonial agriculture, engineering and building construction by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. He has won numerous awards and has worked as a teacher, farmer, fisherman, barman, fencing contractor, lecturer, Aboriginal language researcher, archaeological site worker and editor. Bruce is a Yuin, Bunurong and Tasmanian man, and currently lives on his farm in Gippsland, Victoria.

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