Oorala’s founder to return for 25th Memorial Lecture

Published 09 September 2011

lynette-rileyLynette Riley, the founder of the Oorala Aboriginal Centre at the University of New England, is returning to UNE to deliver the 2011 Frank Archibald Memorial Lecture. The event will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the annual lecture series that Ms Riley established in 1986 – the year of the Oorala Centre’s foundation.

The lecture, at 7.30 pm on Friday 16 September in the Oorala Aboriginal Centre, will be titled “Influences on Aboriginal lives – a personal reflection. What affects Aboriginal community engagement?”

Lynette Riley (pictured here), a Wiradjuri and Gamilaroi woman from Dubbo and Moree, is now a Senior Lecturer – and Academic Coordinator of the Koori Centre – at the University of Sydney. During her career of more than 30 years in Aboriginal education she has been actively involved in finding new solutions and bringing about lasting change in the community.

These initiatives include the development of an Aboriginal adult literacy course and an Aboriginal resource library at Tranby Aboriginal College in Sydney, where she worked from 1982 to 1985 as Head Teacher (Skills Education). At TAFE she undertook a research project that resulted (in 1995) in an Aboriginal Arts and Cultural Practices course.

As the founding Director of the Oorala Aboriginal Centre (1986-1992) she developed an Aboriginal Studies program with an Aboriginal Studies major in UNE’s Bachelor of Arts degree program, and introduced Aboriginal perspectives into study programs within each of the University’s Faculties.

Her involvement in research projects has led to the development of long-term programs and capital development including the Mobile Library for western NSW in partnership with the Dubbo City Library and an Aboriginal Resource Centre attached to the library on the Dubbo TAFE campus.

Ms Riley has been instrumental in the development of new approaches to working with Aboriginal people, resulting in initiatives including the Western Institute of TAFE’s Aboriginal Education Strategic Plan (1994), the Aboriginal Education Review (NSW Department of Education and Training, 2004) and the Aboriginal Student Gifted and Talented Program (NSW Department of Education and Training, 2005).

She established UNE’s Frank Archibald Memorial Lecture series to honour Frank Archibald, a revered member of the Armidale community, who passed away in 1975. He was renowned for his knowledge of – and interest in – all Aboriginal issues, particularly the education of his people. Speakers in the lecture series during the past decade have included Jackie Huggins, Deborah Cheetham, Noel Tovey, Rachel Maza Long, Dianne Roberts and Gary Oakley.

People intending to attend the lecture can let the organisers know by phoning (02) 6773 3909 or by e-mail to events.pr@une.edu.au before Wednesday 14 September.