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Coversations with Clare

The NT has seen its fair share of change over the years, its historical timeline punctuated by defining events. The 70s were particularly transformative, physically through Cyclone Tracy and politically through the establishment of the Northern Territory government.

By Tierney Seccull

And what better way to learn about this formative history than directly from the people that were there? Conversations with Clare is a series of yarns in the iconic setting of NT Library, as former Chief Minister and journalist Clare Martin takes a seat with Territory characters to chat through these moments of significance.

Joining Clare in conversation is press photographer Clive Hyde and iconic cartoonist Colin Wicking, former NT Chief Ministers Paul Everingham and Marshall Perron, senior Larrakia Elders Bill Risk and Lorraine Williams, and artists Chips Mackinolty and Therese Ritchie.

Originally planned to roll out three years ago, paused due to COVID, this special conversation series runs over four Wednesdays this month. It came about when the NT Library reached out to Martin to curate a conversational series about the NT, backed by archival imagery.

“The brief was a really wide one. It was ‘you can interview whoever you like’, so I thought about how I could approach it in a way that would be of interest to Territory people, to Darwin people, … that also talks to who we are, using self-government as a bit of a starting point looking back over 50, 60 years,” she says.

Martin says these kinds of live conversational opportunities are really important.

“Personally, I love to reflect on who we are. I’ve been here 40 years and we have such a turnover in our population, that to better know what we’ve been and how we’ve developed, I think is really important to what and who we are now,” she says.

Featuring different guests each week, the conversations are guided and prompted by archival imagery, giving audiences a good visual reference paired with a narrative from the Territorians that lived in these times.

“From virtually nothing a government was developed here, it was really the Commonwealth running the place, so that is a fascinating part of our history. And the events that have shaped us – it’s good to get eyes like Colin Wicking and Clive Hyde on them, and Chips and Therese – talking about the events that have happened over the last 50 years, how they’ve shaped us, and how we’ve railed against them.”

For a good, honest yarn about the Territory, backed by some amazing images from the archives with commentary from colourful local characters, pull up a pew at NT Library and get your history fix.

Conversations With Clare

Thumbnail & inset: Clare Martin working as a journalist in 1994.
Header: Therese Ritchie & Chips Mackinolty, 'Twenty years of self' (detail), 1998, inkjet print, 72x120cm

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