Eric Johnston Lecture

The Eric Johnston Lecture is a flagship event hosted by the Northern Territory Library that provides a platform for a significant Territorian to reflect on the Territory’s past, present and future.

First delivered in 1986, the annual Eric Johnston Lecture invites a prominent Territorian to share their reflections and insights. Based around a theme, the lecture provides an intimate commentary on the Northern Territory’s people, social history and development. 

The lecture is named in honour of the inaugural speaker, Commodore Eric Johnston AO, OBE. An Australian naval officer, Johnston rose to prominence because of his energetic and effective performance as chief naval officer during and after Cyclone Tracy. Johnston eventually became the longest-serving Administrator of the Northern Territory, serving from 1981 to 1989. He travelled extensively in the role - no station or Aboriginal community was too remote to escape a visit. He died in 1997.

Presented, recorded or transcribed each year, this collection of past lectures provides a unique opportunity to view the Northern Territory through the eyes of those who have committed their lives and careers to its betterment.

Year Speaker
2018

Kevin Kadirgamar, immigration lawyer, advocate and 2018 NT Young Australian of the Year

Multiculturalism and forty years of Self-Government: Why cities need cultural diversity to thrive

2017

Sister Anne Gardiner, educator and 2017 Senior Australian of Year

Under the Banyan Tree

2015      

Andy Bruyn AM, television executive

Growing pains - The Territory's Teenage Years

2014

Professor Andrew Campbell, natural resource management academic

Myths, Dreams and Stories: Alternative Tracks for Northern Australian Development

2013

Bob Beadman, Indigenous policy expert

Poor Fellow My Country: Indigenous Policy - 50 Years of Progress?

2012

Dr Mickey Dewar, historian and author

Finding a Past We Can Live With - Some of the Challenges of Writing Public History in the Remembering Territory Families Exhibition

2011      

Tom Pauling AO QC, former Administrator of the Northern Territory

Now I'm Free to Speak

2010

Banduk Marika, artist

Land Management and Cultural Responsibility 

2009

Clare Martin, former Northern Territory Chief Minister

Now I'm Free to Speak  

2008

Tom Calma, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice and Race Discrimination Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission

A Human Rights Agenda for the Northern Territory
2007

The Honourable Austin Asche AC QC, former Administrator of the Northern Territory

When We Were South Australian
2006

Judy Nunn, author and actress

Territory

2005

Marilynne Paspaley, actress and businesswoman

Finding the Spirit of Darwin

2004

Bill Bunbury, author

Cyclone Tracy - an ILL Wind?
2003

Associate Professor Martin W B Jarvis, former Artistic Director/Conductor of the Darwin Symphony Orchestra

Under the Stars in Tropical Vienna
2001

Terry Underwood, author, photographer and cattle producer

Nowhere to Somewhere
2000

John Anictomatis OAM, former Administrator of the Northern Territory

A Home Away from Home - the Aegean to Australia

1999

Bob Collins, former member of the Australian Senate, Northern Territory Legislative Assembly, and Leader of the Territory Opposition

Learning Lessons - Indigenous Education in the Northern Territory
1998

Ted Egan, former Administrator of the Northern Territory, singer/songwriter and author

Makarrta - Caledon Bay and Woodah Island Killings of 1932 to 1933
1997

Goff Letts, politician and former member of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

The Great Banteng Muster: The Cobourg Expeditions 1960 to 1963
1996

Mandawuy Yunupingu, musician, educator and leader

New Love Song for an Old Land
1995

Roslyn Poignant, anthropologist, author and photographer

Lost Conversations, Recovered Archives
1994

Miriam-Rose Baumann, school principal

Aboriginal Education
1993

Professor D J Mulvaney, archaeologist and academic

The Search for Collet Barker of Raffles Bay
1992

Dr John Hargrave, doctor and leprosy specialist

The Best of Both Worlds: Aboriginal Health, Then and Now
1991

Sir Paul Hasluck, former Governor-General of Australia, historian, poet

Pioneers of Post War Recovery
1990

R G (Dick) Kimber Bill Bunbury, historian and author

The End of the Bad Old Days: European Settlement in Central Australia, 1871 to 1894
1989

Sir Edward Woodward, jurist

Three Wigs and Five Hats
1988

Dr Ella Stack, former Darwin City Council Lord Mayor

Aboriginal Pharmacopoeia

1987

Professor Charles Manning Clark, historian and author

Writing a History of Australia
1986

Commodore Eric Johnston, former Administrator of the Northern Territory

Operation Navy Help: Disaster Operations by the Royal Australian Navy, Post-Cyclone Tracy