Thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy School of Education

Faculty of Law, Business, Education and Arts Charles Darwin University

March, 2017

This thesis is a study of the public education system of the Northern Territory for the period 1876 to 2010, in part through first-hand accounts of the events and challenges as experienced by educators who taught in the system, especially since 1960. The study substantiates the narratives of the educator’s lives and work against Commonwealth and Territory reviews and reports, including Annual Northern Territory Department of Education Reports and explores available literature, to provide details of the evolving system throughout the last 134 years. The narratives and literature combine and reflect a view of events that shaped the public education system.

The research aims to understand how the unusual characteristics of the NT in terms of geographical, political and demographical events have impacted on the development of the Northern Territory public education system during a one hundred and thirty three year history to 2010. In essence, this research aims to capture a sense of these times in a place that has seen tremendous educational change and growth amidst considerable political, economic and social development. By examination of this extended period, the historical background which informs the development of education in the Northern Territory can be used to illuminate contemporary events.

The research finds that the Northern Territory public education system has been a system that has tried to adapt to changing circumstances, but in fact continues to reinvent itself, with little consideration and acknowledgement for corporate history.

Although the system has developed in terms of infrastructure; little progress has been made to develop a quality system.

Dr Bennett’s outstanding work can be found online abd is well worth perusing. It is a very detailed, very complete and very readable study.

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