Brittni Dienhoff

Native Title
Summer 2018


There is no simple way to describe my six weeks as an Aurora intern at BGLC. Where would I begin? The passionate and generous people? Experiencing the glorious ‘town’ of Wail? Gaining an insight into the funky native plants that have been around long long long before I was? Finding my very own Aboriginal artefact during an archaeological day out in the field? As you can begin to tell, my ‘legal internship’ went far beyond legal matters.

In saying that, through undertaking research, attending a Gariwerd native title meeting and consultations with the Victorian Government and local council, I gained a true insight into the Victorian native title legal system (and importantly the gaps within it). Importantly it opened my eyes to the fact that whilst cases like Mabo and Wik have happened, there is still a long way to go in respecting the land and ownership rights of Traditional Owners. Perhaps as to be expected, this was not so much through the day-to-day practical tasks but through interaction and spending time with BGLC staff, Traditional Owners and First Nations Legal and Research Services. I am so thankful for Michael Stewart, Brett Harrison, Darren Griffin and Jill Webb whose generosity in time and spirit allowed me to feel comfortable and get the most out of the program. I walked away not only with a greater knowledge and skill set, but also inspired to do more for first nations’ and their beautiful country.

Overall, it is fair to say that my time at BGLC far exceeded any expectations I had of what an Aurora internship could bring. For anyone who is looking for a hands-on and practical experience that will prove an insight into not only their field of study, but the world around them, I could not recommend the Aurora program highly enough.