Nyssa Meyer

Native Title
Summer 2014

For six weeks during early 2014, I had the opportunity to undertake an Aurora internship via the Aurora Native Title Internship Program, at Native Title Services Victoria (“NTSV”). NTSV is the legal service that represents Victorian native title claimants. I made NTSV my first preference because I wanted to see if I would enjoy working in a legal environment specialising in native title law.  Although I quickly realised that native title law was (unsurprisingly) much more complicated than I had thought from my two weeks of studying it in property law, I discovered that native title and Indigenous rights are fascinating areas of the law.  

Aurora warned me to go in with an open mind and to expect a variety of work – from filing to legal research. While I did undertake some administrative tasks at NSTV, the majority of my internship was spent working with the legal team. I was asked to do a variety of tasks, from writing a research brief to be used in an upcoming negotiation, to looking through the minutes of almost twenty years of meetings to work out when a claimant group decided to reduce their claim boundaries. I also attended a directions hearing at the Federal Court. The constantly changing nature of the work meant that my 6 week internship flew by.  NTSV made a genuine effort to provide me with interesting work and succeeded.

The highlight of my internship was attending two different native title group meetings on country. These meetings gave me a valuable insight into how the native title process impacts upon traditional owners.  It was also an opportunity to develop my understanding of the significance of the land to Aboriginal people. Hearing the stories and history of the group at these meetings is something I will never forget.  If anyone undertaking an internship has the chance to go on country, I strongly recommend it.

Choosing to do this internship through Aurora was one of the best choices I could have made. I learned a variety of practical legal skills and enhanced my knowledge of native title law and the issues relating to Indigenous rights. I also had the chance to work with some amazing, dedicated and passionate people at NTSV.  I highly recommend applying for the Aurora Internship Program; it will be an unforgettable experience