Joseph Cruickshank

Social Science
Summer 2018


I was fortunate to spend 6 weeks of my 2018 summer working at the National Native Title Tribunal (NNTT) in the Cairns, Brisbane and Perth offices as part of the Aurora Internship Program. Having expected to be based in Cairns for 6 weeks, I was pleasantly surprised when the opportunity arose to work in the offices in Perth and Brisbane.  

The NNTT is a Commonwealth Government Agency established under the Native Title Act 1993 to help reach native outcomes by agreement. With a background in Geography/Economics, I was somewhat confused about my acceptance into a tribunal. Nonetheless, I soon realised I was part of an organisation with teams in mapping, legal, business, research and communications. With my background I fitted within the Geospatial team.  

The time I spent at the tribunal was interesting and varied. The Geospatial related work included assisting with producing the services of the Geospatial department to the various clients, which included the creation of notification maps and search requests. In addition to these tasks, I was also personally assigned a project of digitalising historic maps onto a user-friendly online portal, where I was able to view maps from Capital Cook’s era to present day.   

I feel many resources were invested into my personal growth and development. Time was allocated for training and learning purposes, particularly regarding issues of Native Title itself, as well speaking to various other team-members in other divisions. I had the amazing opportunity to visit my colleagues at the Perth and Brisbane offices, where I continued my allocated work, travelled, and conversed with the various other team-members.   

During my time at the Tribunal, I gained valuable experience with the Geospatial sector, as well as first-hand insight into the intricacies of the Native Title process. I would strongly encourage any person with an interest in issues of social justice and that seeks an experience of significance and value to apply for an Aurora Internship.