Kamilaroi water scientist, Bradley Moggridge, shares his STEM study and career path with us below…
Yaama, I am a proud Murri from the Kamilaroi Nation (North-West NSW), now living in Canberra on Ngunnawal Country. My cultural water (gali in Kamilaroi) place is Boobera Lagoon.
As a scientist, my expertise is in Kamilaroi and Indigenous cultural values of water and the environment. Gali or water is always going to be a key topic for Australia as it is the driest inhabited continent on Earth. But much of our water policy was developed through colonial settler laws, without consultation with Aboriginal people or without using or even considering traditional knowledge – with thousands of generations of observation of this dry old continent.
My career path as a scientist started early with my many questions needing answers, and as a Dux of geology after my HSC, I was off. I changed from geology to environmental science at university when I no longer felt morally comfortable undertaking exploration for uranium on someone else’s country and in a national park. There was a lot of comfort in that switch although I did enjoy learning about the earth and how it was formed.
In 2005 I completed a Master’s in hydrogeology and groundwater management which allowed me to research Aboriginal peoples’ knowledge of and relationship with groundwater. This included how the ancient water of the Great Artesian Basin recharges in north-eastern Australia and moves slowly, deep underground, for approximately two million years, discharging from springs in the southern basin in Kamilaroi country.
My Master’s thesis became the basis for the Aboriginal knowledge and groundwater part of the Australian curriculum Wet Rocks and earned 15 minutes of fame with many stories and interviews including a radio interview with LOE in Boston, USA, following my graduation.
There is growing recognition of the importance of embedding Indigenous knowledge into science managing our natural resources. I have been given a great platform to further tell my story through being awarded the CSIRO Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander STEM Professional Career Achievement award for 2019 and also ACT Tall Poppy of the Year for Science 2019.
I was recently appointed as Associate Professor in Indigenous Water Science while also completing my PhD at the University of Canberra and behind that, as always, I will do what’s best for Kamilaroi people to ensure the impact I have is culturally sound. It is the Kamilaroi methodology that honours my ancestors while challenging the status quo and encouraging future generations to pursue science.
My career has moved from government to consulting, research at CSIRO, back to government and now academia. I was also honoured to lead the then-only Aboriginal water unit in Australia, the AWI, for five years and I have been lucky to travel across the country and listen to some of the oldest water stories as well as travel the globe telling my water stories and journey, raising the voice of Kamilaroi.
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Bradley’s study and career pathway to becoming a Kamilaroi water scientist
- Bachelor of Science (Environmental), ACU
- Master of Science (Hydrogeology and Groundwater Management), UTS
- Indigenous Water Research Specialist, CSIRO
- PhD Candidate, University of Canberra
- Acting Pro Vice Chancellor Indigenous, University of Canberra
Follow Bradley on Twitter @bradmoggo
Author: STEM Contributor
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