Dr Kathryn Thorburn

Research Fellow

Email: Kathryn.Thorburn@nd.edu.au

  • Biography

    Kathryn has strong family ties to the Fitzroy Valley, and lived and worked in Fitzroy Crossing for 8 years. Kathryn has a PhD from the Australian National University, awarded in 2011, for her thesis which was a defense of Aboriginal political practice and a critique of the language and precepts of ‘Indigenous governance’.

    She has extensive experience in research across the fields of anthropology, remote child health services and Indigenous community management and history. She has worked as a Senior Policy Officer for the NT Government and at the community development front line as the operations manager for Marninwarntikura Fitzroy Women’s Resource Centre.

    Kathryn is interested in the post-settlement history of the various language groups in the Fitzroy Valley, particularly the development of outstations and identities. She is also interested in the demographics of the Aboriginal population across the Kimberley, and implications of this for service planning and delivery – in particular, the growing demands of the Gen Y sector of the population which represents the majority.

  • Research expertise and supervision

    Dr Thorburn is currently supervising one PhD student and one Masters student.

    • Indigenous community governance and organisations
    • Indigenous young adults in the Kimberley
    • Local histories/narratives
    • Intra-generational transfer of knowledge
    • Indigenous policy and impacts
  • Books

    2011 ‘Indigenous governance’ and Aboriginal political practice: The gulf between in two organisations in the Fitzroy Valley, West Kimberley’. PhD Thesis. Canberra: Australian National University. (http://hdl.handle.net/1885/10205)
  • Book chapters

    • 2008 ‘Mapping expectations around a ‘governance review’ exercise of a West Kimberley organisation’ in Hunt, Smith, Garling and Sanders (eds) Contested governance: Culture, power and institutions in Indigenous Australia pp 331 – 350 CAEPR Research Monograph No. 29 (Downloadable pdf at http://caepr.anu.edu.au/Publications/mono/2008RM29.php)
    • 2007 ‘What sort of a town is Fitzroy Crossing? Logistical and boundary problems of the 2006 enumeration in the Southern Kimberley’ in Morphy, F. (ed) Agency, Contingency and Census Process: Observations of the 2006 Indigenous Enumeration Strategy in remote Aboriginal Australia pp87-100 CAEPR Research Monograph No. 28 (Downloadable pdf at http://caepr.anu.edu.au/Publications/mono/2007RM28.php)
  • Journal articles and proceedings

    • 2017 ‘A regional governance structure for the Kimberley? Twenty-five years on from Crocodile Hole’Australian Aboriginal Studies Journal, Issue 1: pp 86 – 98.
    • 2007 ‘Managing dilemmas in Indigenous community-based organisations: Viewing a spectrum of ways through the prism of accountability’, Balayi: Culture, Law & Colonialism. (https://www.uts.edu.au/sites/default/files/NgiyaSynopsis2.pdf)
    • 2000 Potter, L., Lee, J. and Thorburn, K. ‘Reinventing Imperata: Revaluing Alang-alang grasslands in Indonesia’, Development and Change, Vol 31, No 5, pp 1037-1053
  • Conference papers

    • 2004 ‘Agency and sustaining ‘development’: Two case studies of Indigenous community governance in the Kimberley – Pre-fieldwork seminar’ 2004 CAEPR Seminar Series II, CAEPR, ANU, Canberra, 21 September. Also presented this seminar in November 2004 at the ANU’s North Australian Research Unit in Darwin.
    • 2005 ‘Indigenous community organisations: Appropriate vehicles for appropriate development?’ Proceedings of the Roundtable on Culturally and Environmentally Appropriate Economies, 11–13 October 2005, Kimberley Land Council, Australian Conservation Foundation and Environs Kimberley, Fitzroy Crossing.
    • 2006 “Talking to the People’: Implications of the ‘New’ Model for Sustainable Service Delivery in Indigenous Settlements. Sustainability of Indigenous Communities in Australia: Selected papers from the National Conference held at Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia, 12-14 July 2006. (http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/15444/1/Indigenous-sus_2006.pdf)
    • 2006 ‘Balancing accountabilities within Indigenous community-based organisations: What can it reasonably mean?’, 2006 CAEPR Seminar Series II, CAEPR, ANU, Canberra, 4 October.
    • 2007 Joint presenter, along with Will Sanders, John Taylor and Frances Morphy: ‘Observing the 2006 Census in remote Aboriginal Australia: Preliminary findings’, 2007 CAEPR Seminar Series I, CAEPR, ANU, Canberra, 14 March.
  • Community engagement

    • 2007 ‘Fitzroy Futures Forum: A new approach to partnerships.’ Community Governance – an occasional newsletter from the Indigenous Community Governance Project 3(2):1.
    • 2016, Kinnane, S., Buchanan, G., Thorburn, K., McGrohan, P. Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre Culture Camps Project Interim Evaluation Report. Nulungu Research Institute, The University of Notre Dame Australia.