Initiative providing big reward for Annette on Groote Elyandt 


When Charles Darwin University all-rounder Annette Harrison arrived on Groote Eylandt with her husband, she knew the quickest way to meet people in a tight knit community.

‘I applied to the Alyangula Recreational Club for a job’, she said.

Her outgoing nature, perseverance and job enjoyment is seeing positive results for students on the largest island in the Gulf of Carpentaria, 630 kilometres north east of Darwin.

Since moving two and a half years ago, Annette has worked closely with the local Groote Eylandt Mining Company to develop the IT and business skills of many Indigenous people.

She has seen Indigenous students from local communities gain skills and confidence and move into diverse areas of the mine including mining, workshops and administration.

‘Getting people to say “I can do that” is very rewarding,’ she said. ‘These students are now taking up great jobs at the mine and setting examples for others in the community.’

She is supported by CDU staff, Professor John Haynes, Head of School of Information Technology, Professor Dennis Clarke, Head of School of Law and Business, and Zane Hughes of the Indigenous Academic Support Unit.

Annette says it is critical to be seen in the different Indigenous communities across the island on a regular basis.

She extends her reach to other schools of the University when local communities request training in diverse areas such as horticulture and driver training.

Success for Annette lies in the achievements of her students and a recent graduate typified her motivations.

The student was offered an administration position with a major contractor for the mining company after completing her Certificate I in Information Technology part-time.

‘She was working in the check-out at the local supermarket and studying IT part-time,’ she said. ‘And was so happy with herself to get the new position.’