July 2018 Graduations: College of Arts and Social Sciences

12 July 2018

The first of the July 2018 graduations - for the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences - took place on Wednesday.

In this ceremony, Wiradjuri woman Garigarra Mundine graduated with a Bachelor of International Relations. To commemorate the occasion, Garigarra wore a kangaroo skin cloak, an incredibly significant memento for her both personally and culturally. We asked her about the cloak and its history.

"My cloak was given to me in 2016 by my mother, who made the cloak for me after I was given my totem. Something she does for each of us kids (I'm the youngest of 7) once we have been given our totems.

The cloak is very important to me as it holds my own story. The bird on the bottom left is the peaceful dove, my own totem. Given to me because they are very protective of their family, but you can find them all around the world.

The circles above the bird is my family tree, the bottom circle is for me and my future family, the one above that is my brothers and sisters, then the ones branching off from that one is my parents families and my grandparents.

The symbols in the circles and around the cloak are my family and clan totems.

The brush tail possum (also the little face sticking out the tree) is the Dubbo Clan Totem.

The goanna tracks up the left side of the cloak is the Wiradjuri Totem.

The grey kangaroo is the Riley family Totem.

The morning star at the top of the cloak is the Mundine Clan Totem.

And the emu is to represent my maternal grandmother - this was her personal totem.

The tree is a tree on my uncles property back home, where I was taught how to make a traditional coolamon, which is shown on the missing oval of bark from the front of the tree.

And the people up the side of the tree are the spirits watching over me.

This cloak has come with me across the world, to Italy and to Canada, as my way of keeping my family close to me even when I'm far away from home and to represent my culture on an international platform.

Because it was illegal for so long for us to practice our culture, having these cloaks being made and worn again is very important to myself and my family to showcase that our culture is still very much alive and practiced today."

Peter Lisle, who graduated with a Master of Middle Eastern and Central Asian Studies was this ceremony's student speaker. He has previously completed a Bachelor of Arts (Politics), a Master of International Relations and an Advanced Diploma of Language (Farsi).

From 2003 to 2016, Peter was a member of the Australian Regular Army, completing numerous overseas deployments and serving in various roles around Australia. He currently lives in Canberra and works as a civilian in the Department of Defence.

During his four years of study at the ANU, Peter has enhanced his understanding of geopolitics, sectarianism, terrorism, energy, conflict and Islam to support Defence's strategic policy making.

In his spare, time Peter enjoys long distance running and reading about strategy and military history. Peter and his wife Nicole have three children below the age of seven - Sam, Gus and Alice.