Hi, my name is Tara Mallie, and I am one of seven Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander architects in Australia. I am of Thursday Island, Torres Strait Islander descendent, born and raised on Darkinjung land on the New South Wales Central Coast. Currently, I have taken leave from my professional career as a graduate architect to complete a Research Masters Degree. I am writing a really, really long essay that examines Aboriginal identity in Australian architecture.
To make sure that I wanted to become an architect, I did a week's work experience with an architectural firm in high school. I have completed the two required degrees for architecture and an additional Bachelor of Arts majoring in Aboriginal Studies. While completing the second degree for architecture, I received a cadetship with the NSW government. This involved being paid fortnightly to study and then in the Christmas holidays I would work to apply and combine the knowledge and skills learnt at university to the professional workplace.
This experience has led to a permanent position where I have worked in the New South Wales Government Architect's Office designing schools to the value of $6 million. As a Research Masters student I have had the amazing opportunity to travel to North Africa to present and publish my work, in addition to travelling to parts of Australia to conduct my own research. Some of the benefits of working for a government department include training opportunities and flexible working conditions. Also, having a professional salary has allowed me to purchase my own home, something that I would not have been able to do without my professional qualifications.
It pays to put your head down and do the hard yards now in high school to receive the amazing benefits and opportunities that are out there. As I believe that if I can go to university, then anyone can go to university in their chosen profession.