The Anatomy of a Post-colonial Truck Stop: Some Dilemmas Facing Four Public Servants

By Colin Francis Baker, Chloe Parkinson, Lloyd Griffin and Sandra Baker.

Published by The International Journal of Civic, Political, and Community Studies

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This dialogue analyses and illuminates the lived experience of a school principal, a classroom teacher, a special needs tutor and a local government manager as they follow directions emanating from a plan to transform a postcolonial truck stop Aboriginal community, with its remnant transplanted traditional culture and its social services dependent economy into a modern small town with an Anglo Australian culture and economy. It is a record of the lived experience of professionals in the service of postcolonial state and local government agencies tasked to implement a joint State and Federal Government policy to fund remote disadvantaged towns to bring them into line with mainstream (read non-Aboriginal) towns in terms of essential services, infrastructure and planning known as the “Growth Town Initiative.” It is a dialogue that seeks to examine the impact of the “Growth Town Policy” on those tasked to implement it. By examining the interaction of some of the protagonists in an officially orchestrated culture clash, the dialogue seeks to provide insights into an evolving Australian postcolonial situation.

Keywords: Postcolinialism, Neo-colonialism, Globalism and Localism

The International Journal of Civic, Political, and Community Studies, Volume 10, Issue 1, 2012, pp.29-40. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 488.922KB).

Dr. Colin Francis Baker

Principal, Elliott School, Northern Territory Department of Education, Elliott, Australia

Colin Baker has perused a dual career in education and the military in Australia Canada and Papua New Guinea. In PNG he had extensive experience in remote community schools, a period on the staff of the PNG University of Technology and a Papua New Guinea Defence Force training establishment. From 1999 to 2007, together with his wife Sandra, he ran a small school serving the Mungalawurru Aboriginal Community in Central Australia. He is a graduate of the Universities of Sydney, Calgary and New England and his 2010 doctoral dissertation is titled A phenomenological Study of a Small School serving a remote Aboriginal community. He is currently the Principal of Elliott School.

Chloe Parkinson

Teacher and Masters Student, Northern Territory Department of Education, Charles Darwin University, Elliott, Australia

Chloe Parkinson was raised in Brisbane in a middle-class Anglo family, attending public schooling before spending a gap year in Eastern Europe. She graduated from the University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Education (Secondary) in 2008. Chloe accepted her first teaching position in 2010 in a remote Indigenous community. She is currently completing a Master of Education degree. The area of research is the application of the Australian Curriculum to an Indigenous school. She is currently the teacher in charge of the middle school class at Elliott School.

Lloyd Griffin

Office Manager, Barkly Shire, Elliott, Australia

Lloyd Griffin is a 31 year-old Anglo Australian male, born and bred in Brisbane. He was a media analyst from 2002–2009 before moving to Elliott. He is currently completing an arts degree majoring in journalism. While studying he has been employed by the Barkly Shire Council as the Office Manager in Elliott for the past 18 months. Effectively he is second in charge of the large, outback, local council region that includes the growth town of Elliott. This has provided an opportunity for freelance journalism related to a very sensitive area of the Australian society and economy.

Sandra Baker

Special Needs Tutor, Barkly Group School, Elliott, Australia

Sandra Baker perused a career in nursing from 1964 until 1979 when she moved into the management of academic conferences for the University of New England. In 1999 she accompanied her husband Colin in a venture involving the running o a small school serving a remote Aboriginal community. She became intensely interested in the relationship between the health of the community and the learning outcomes of the school. She presented the paper “Two Educational Imperialists Confess” at the Humanities conference in Cambridge and commented on the documentary Bush School for the Discovery Channel. She is currently working with special needs children at Elliott School.