Territory education icon retires after 25 years 


One of the greatest proponents of higher education in the Northern Territory, Professor David Carment, is about to retire after 25 years in the sector.

The long-time Professor of History with Charles Darwin University’s School of Creative Arts and Humanities is set to retire at age 58, taking with him memories of an institution that has grown from humble beginnings.

Professor Carment was first appointed to what was then the Darwin Community College in 1983.

“My office was in a converted warehouse in Winnellie with paper thin walls, which meant that any confidential discussions with colleagues and students had to be conducted in the parking area,” he said.

“Heavy rain on the flat tin roof produced a deafening noise that halted any teaching until the rain stopped. The students, though, were terrific and I learned much from them.”

Professor Carment has been a force in the development of post-school education in the Territory and said he believed that despite higher education facing considerable obstacles, it was progressing well.

As President of the Academic Board at the University College of the Northern Territory, Professor Carment was a member of the Interim Council for the new Northern Territory University (NTU).

Later on, as Dean of the NTU's Faculty of Law, Business and Arts, he was associated with the establishment of Charles Darwin University.

“The Territory was most fortunate to have outstanding educational leaders such as Jim Thomson, Ken McKinnon and, most recently, Helen Garnett, who were dedicated to the creation of a first class institution,” Professor Carment said.

“The University and its predecessor institutions allowed and encouraged me to pursue my interests in the Northern Territory's cultural heritage, history and politics, which provided a focus for both my teaching and research.”

Although travelling extensively, Professor Carment still regards the Territory as the most fascinating part of the world.

“I was fortunate that my interests allowed me to go to just about all parts of the Territory, including remote Aboriginal communities.”

“The University also encouraged my involvement in some fascinating community and professional activities, particularly with the Australian Historical Association, the Historical Society of the Northern Territory and the National Trust. I served as President of all three of these.”

Although now based in Sydney and on the verge of retirement, Professor Carment said he hoped to continue an association with CDU.

“Charles Darwin University is a fine institution and I am extremely confident about is future.”