Home' InDaily : September 8th 2011 Contents 6|Vol22No7August2011
Chance to support Flinders is a gift
As far as conversation starters go, telling
someone that you have bowled to cricket
legends Sir Viv Richards, Allan Border, Steve
Waugh and Imran Khan is sure to get a reaction.
For Mr Simon Blight, newly-appointed Donor
Relations Manager in Flinders Marketing and
Communications Office, recounting his years as
a Test Match “nets bowler” is just one way of
making a connection with people.
“I learnt very quickly in my career that marketing
and business development isn’t so much about
selling – it’s about building relationships and
seeking commonalities,” Mr Blight said.
“Sharing a love of cricket is one way of doing
that. My passion for bushwalking , including
Tasmania’s famous Overland Track that I
completed in January and the sense of
achievement that comes from it, is another,” he
Mr Blight comes to Flinders with over five years
donor development experience in the not-for-
profit sector, primarily with Guide Dogs SA/NT
and Cancer Council SA.
He moved into the charity sector after an
extended stint in key business development
management roles with Channel Nine
Adelaide, the RAA
“The reason I
enjoy working in
sector is that it’s
it is about being
able to make a
that a vision-impaired client who had been
confined to their home for many years is
able to go into the city with a guide dog
provided by the generosity of a donor with
whom you’ve established empathy is
In recent years, Mr Blight has seen a shift in
the nature of philanthropy.
“There are so many charities that seem to be
doing the same thing. Now, there seems to
be much more of a connection between
people and the benefits that their
education has provided,” he said.
“Part of my job is to explain how Flinders
graduates, friends and organisations can
make a difference to the lives of others.
“As they learn to understand they have the
potential to give others the springboard
to a professional career or to community
service that Flinders has given them,
they’re more than happy to put back into
Few things put the importance of peace at the
front of your mind more powerfully than a trip
to Hiroshima, as a group of seven students and
staff from Flinders found during their two-
week visit in early August.
The student participants, comprising
undergraduates Jemma Arman, Adele
Lausberg, Adam Ridley, William Nixon and
postgraduate International Relations student
Kushani Marshall, attended the annual student
seminar and Masters summer school hosted in
Hiroshima by the International Network of
Universities, of which Flinders is a member.
They were accompanied by the Dean of the
School of International Studies, Professor
Malcolm Cook, and the Head of the
International Office, Ms Virginia Pattingale.
The Flinders contingent visited the Hiroshima
Peace Memorial Museum and attended the
Remembrance Day ceremony held at Peace
Park on August 6, at which one of the atom
bomb survivors, or hibashuka, spoke to the
After a background lead-up of seminars and
lectures, the undergraduate students worked
to prepare for a UN-style meeting involving
some 70 students from INU universities in
Australia, Asia and the US on the theme of
“Responsibility to Protect”.
Flinders Law/Arts student Jemma Arman,
who studied an international law topic in
first semester, said that as well as gaining
insights into the theory and practice of what
constitutes acceptable international
behaviour, she found the process of working
in groups with students from other countries
“Learning how to work effectively where you
have language and cultural barriers is really
useful for anyone who’s going to work
internationally, and you really need to get
that experience somewhere,” Ms Arman said.
Ms Pattingale said the INU’s Hiroshima
program provided a unique academic and
personal experience for participants and it is
hoped funding to support increased
numbers of places for Flinders students will
become available in coming years.
A poignant backdrop to student intensives
Student Jemma Arman (inset) and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial
Simon Blight, inset, and on Tasmania’s Overland Track earlier this year.
Storytelling a fitting art for the sciences
All scientists are good writers – they just
don’t get the recognition or support they
deserve, according to Dr Danielle Clode.
Zoologist, Rhodes Scholar and award-
winning popular science author, Dr Clode
joined Flinders’ Department of English and
Creative Writing earlier this year.
She teaches, among other topics, both
professional and creative writing to
“Writing skills are the same whether you’re
writing a scientific paper, a magazine article
or a novel,” Dr Clode said.
“It’s all about clarity, writing in a way that’s
transparent so that the information you’re
trying to get across is conveyed as clearly
and as effectively as possible,” she said.
“Sometimes that can just be functional but
sometimes it can be beautiful.”
She speaks from experience as the author of
six successful books which cross boundaries
between science and literature.
Her first book, Killers in Eden, is the
extraordinary tale of cooperation between
killer whales and human whalers in New
South Wales’s Twofold Bay.
“It’s a fantastic story that’s only ever been
told from the whalers’ point of view and I
wanted to tell it from the killer whales’ point
The book was made into an ABC TV
documentary which is screened regularly in
Australia and abroad.
Voyages of the South Seas, which traces the
history of French exploration in Australia,
won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award
for Non-Fiction in 2007 and has just been
translated into French.
Her next book, Prehistoric Giants: the
Megafauna of Australia was commissioned
by Museum Victoria and was last year
shortlisted in the Children’s Book Council of
“It’s been a huge hit. It’s now on the Premier’s
Reading Challenge lists in a number of
states and has gone into many libraries as
well,” she said.
A Future in Flames, her most recent book
and which explores Australians’ relationship
with bushfires, has received critical acclaim.
It was half-written when the devastating
Black Saturday bushfires struck.
“We were living at the foothills of the
Kinglake Ranges in Victoria at the time. The
fires came quite close. It had a huge impact
on our local community in which quite a
few people died,” she said.
Dr Clode attributes her success to having
the ability to tell a story.
“Telling stories in science is just as
important as being able to collect data
and make sense of it. It’s what you do
with it – how do you construct a story
around some evidence or information?”
Dr Danielle Clode
Prehistoric bird found in fossil treasure
A Flinders University-led expedition involving
the WA Museum has found the fossilised
remains of a prehistoric bird in a cave on the
Initially, it was thought the bones – which are
more than 780,000 years old – were those of
a wedge-tailed eagle.
However, closer examination by bird
palaeontologist Dr Trevor Worthy at the
University of New South Wales revealed they
belonged to an extinct, flightless bird called
Progura – a giant version of the modern
Flinders’ palaeontologist, Dr Gavin Prideaux,
said the almost complete skeleton was
unearthed amidst dozens of bird bones in a
cave known as Leaena’s Breath Cave – about
70 kilometres on the WA side of the border
with South Australia.
“Our initial assessment led us to believe it was
a wedge-tailed eagle, which would have been
a great find given the iconic status of the
modern species,” Dr Prideaux said.
“But after sending some detailed images to
Trevor he confirmed that they were in fact the
bones of a giant mallee fowl – which tells us
that giant mallee fowls lived 1000 km further
west than they have ever been found before,”
“Current dating shows that the fossils are at
least 780,000 years old and probably much
older. Surrounding these larger bones are
literally hundreds of songbird bones, a
situation mirrored through the rest of the
“This cave has been acting as a death trap for
birds as well as a range of mammals and
reptiles for at least a million years, which is
just one thing that makes this one of the
most interesting and unique palaeontological
sites in Australia.”
The discovery was made on only the second
day of the field trip which is a collaboration
between Flinders University and the Western
Video and blogs of the expedition can be
Dr Gavin Prideaux with
780,000 year old bird bones.
Photo: Clay Bryce, WA Museum
Links Archive September 7th 2011 September 9th 2011 Navigation Previous Page Next Page