ACU (Australian Catholic University)


Issue 9, Winter 2013


National prize for outstanding ACU nurse

Annabel Pike has won the Outstanding Graduate Nurse Award at a national awards ceremony.

Annabel was named the winner at the Hesta Australian Nursing Awards in Melbourne, where she was selected for “her holistic approach to patient care, exceptional technical and clinical skills, and for showing leadership in her role as an intensive-care nurse”.

Annabel studied at ACU’s Brisbane campus, entering through the Early Achievers Program. She was then involved in the University’s Student Ambassador leadership program and has been a committed contributor to various community activities. Annabel works at the Mater Private Hospital, one of Brisbane’s largest hospitals, and was named last year as the hospital’s Graduate of the Year.

The Outstanding Graduate Award recognises a nurse or midwife who has provided exceptional patient care, improved quality care processes and improved their own skills while demonstrating their value as a team member.

“The nomination itself was truly humbling, but to be announced as the national recipient was simply overwhelming,” Annabel said. “I love my job and all its diversity and hope to be able to make a positive difference to healthcare for a long time to come.” 

Annabel has shown a particular interest in the health and welfare of young children, and includes Hear and Say, Save the Children and Queensland Cancer Council as causes she is committed to. She has already taken steps to further her qualifications, and is enrolled in the Queensland Health Transition Program for Intensive Care Nursing – a one-year course she hopes to complete in six months, in order to go on to a Graduate Certificate and Masters Degree.

Attorney-General visits ACU law students

The Honourable Mark Dreyfus QC MP gave an address to the inaugural law class in Melbourne and spoke about his career in law, his current role as the Attorney-General of Australia and the benefit of pro bono legal work experience.

“I was delighted to hear that ACU’s Law course incorporates pro-bono work, as some of the most satisfying aspects of my legal career have involved pro-bono experiences with various environmental, community and Indigenous groups,” he said.

“One of the priorities of my role as Attorney- General is that people have access to justice – and this means much more than just having access to legal services. Access to justice is a broad concept encompassing the way the legal system works, the way our laws work together, and the way in which a government relates to its citizens.”

Mr Dreyfus was appointed as Cabinet Secretary as well as Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency in 2010. He took on additional responsibilities in 2011 when he was appointed as Parliamentary Secretary for Industry and Innovation.

He was promoted to Attorney-General in February 2013, with additional responsibilities as Special Minister of State, Minister for Emergency Management and Minister for the Public Service and Integrity.

The Executive Dean of ACU’s Faculty of Law, Professor Brian Fitzgerald, said that recognising the role lawyers can play in their communities through pro-bono service is an integral component of ACU’s law programs. 

“All students are required to complete a minimum of 240 and as much as 320 hours of pro-bono legal professional experience throughout their law program. This allows students to give back to their communities and make a difference while gaining practical legal experience,” Professor Fitzgerald said.

Sharing your ride

ACU is encouraging students and staff to take up sustainable travel options.

Travelling to and from the University by car can have far-reaching consequences; it can affect local communities, the environment and an individual’s health, wellbeing and finances. That is why the University has signed up to Jayride, an online carpooling website, which makes it easy for staff and students in NSW to find and share their rides. 

Carpooling is a good option for ACU, as it helps with limited parking, reduces the cost of travel and is a great opportunity to make new friends. 

This is just one of the initiatives that have come from the Green Transport Policy Management Committee (GTPMC), which was established on the Sydney campuses in 2012. By encouraging use of public transport, carpooling, cycling or walking, GTPMC aims to reduce the number of single-occupant cars travelling to the Strathfield and North Sydney campuses to fewer than 30 per cent.

GTPMC is working to increase the availability of infrastructure such as bike racks and showers. Some early results have been very promising. At ACU’s Strathfield Campus, a commencing student survey showed that 35 per cent of new students drove to the campus in 2013, down from 41 per cent who drove in 2012 and 47 per cent in 2011. 

For more information on this carpooling initiative on the Strathfield Campus, visit, or for North Sydney Campus information visit

Governor-General Opens ACU art exhibition

Her Excellency Quentin Bryce AC CVO launched Gifts of the Artists at the McGlade Gallery in Strathfield.

Mrs Bryce was the guest of honour among distinguished guests that included artists Patrick Mung Mung and Betty Carrington, Sister Rosemary Crumlin RSM OAM – who first recognised the great beauty and cultural significance of the art – Josephite Sisters Annette Arnold and Theresa Morellini, and Director Indigenous Associate Professor Nerida Blair. Director of the Centre of Indigenous Education and Research 

Professor Nereda White also launched Sister Mary Cresp RSJ’s book God’s Good Times. Associate Vice-Chancellor Professor Marea Nicholson hosted the event.

The exhibition is a rare collection of art from the Warmun community in the East Kimberley, featuring precious works from some of Australia’s best-known Indigenous artists. George Mung Mung’s famous Mary of Warmun wood carving was the star attraction of the exhibition.

The works included spectacular paintings and landscapes, as well as striking sculptures and digging sticks. It is a very significant collection of early Warmun art highlighting the crossover between the cultural folklore of the Gija people and Catholic teachings that they have melded into their own unique spiritual tradition.

The works track the history of the involvement of the Josephites at Warmun over the last 40 years. Many of these paintings and artefacts have never been seen outside Mirrilingki, the Retreat Centre at Warmun. 

Most were gifts to the Sisters of Saint Joseph, who live in the community, and some are pieces the Sisters have purchased. The collection was brought to Sydney for safe storage and conservation and is being presented for first time. Mrs Bryce spoke warmly of the relationship forged between the Sisters of Saint Joseph and the Gija community and how this was reflected in the art.

“This stunning exhibition of Warmun community art will surely please all viewers. Here are works by some of Australia’s leading Indigenous artists – paintings whose natural earth colours and minimalist lines evoke the spare, handsome country of the Kimberley, artefacts that reflect traditional ways carvings inspired by deep spiritualism. Many of these precious works are significant for their ‘two way’ motifs and symbolism representing a meeting of Christian and cultures.” 

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