1986 Frank Archibald Memorial Lecture
Future Pathways: Equity or Isolation
Modern Australia began in 1802 with the defeat and death of the Eora warrior Pemulwuy.
Europeans had placed the original Australian population at 300,000 yet more recent analysis indicates that the population was much greater and may have been in the order of a million people. Whatever the original population, its collapse was spectacular.
The causes of the collapse seem to have been a mix of diseases, massacres, and a variety of other depredations, such as the poisoning of foods. To understand some of the reasons for this bulk loss of people, and, indeed, the destruction of the traditional social order, it is necessary to understand principles that operated within traditional Australian society.
By the 1930s a new part of Aboriginal society had begun to take action about their plight. These were the diaspora, the mixed-race people and many of these were assisted by sympathetic European groups.
Professor Eric P Willmot
Professor Eric Willmot is an Aboriginal scholar, educator and engineer. Born in Queensland, Eric completed a Diploma of Education at Newcastle University, which led to work in the Northern Territory, NSW and Papua New Guinea. Eric then returned to Australia and to the ACT where he worked as a teacher and a Commonwealth education officer and became increasingly involved in Indigenous education.
Upon graduating from the University of Canberra, Eric served in a number of key educational leadership positions, including Director of Research at the ANU, Principal of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs, Professor of Education at James Cook University, and Chief Education Officer in the ACT Department of Education
Professor Willmot has over 90 international patents in his name. In 1981 he was named Australian Inventor of the Year and twice won the Medaille d'Or Genève Salon des Inventions in Geneva in Switzerland. In 1984 Eric was inducted as a Member of the Order of Australia for services to Education and the field of Aboriginal Studies
He is best known as an Australian author whose publications include Pemulwuy – The Rainbow Warrior (1987), a landmark publication used extensively in Australian schools and Tertiary institutions.
Eric retired from public administration in 1994 and rejoined private enterprise in the field of engineering research. As Chief Engineer of an engineering research and development firm, Eric carried out significant research in the very different field of controllable variable motion in mechanical engineering rigid body mechanisms. One important outcome of this work was the development of Australia's first and only petrol electric hybrid vehicle.
Venue: Armidale Town Hall