Introducing Teresa McCarthy

Teresa is the archive officer for the Congress History Project – Congress Arrurlenge (meaning Congress from a long time ago).

Teresa was born in Alice Springs but spent her early years growing up in Nauiyu (Daly River) community, Mulak Mulka country. Her childhood was spent swimming, fishing and hunting and she found it hard to make the change from this to town-living when she moved back to Alice Springs when she was 9 years old.

After finishing high school, she went to Darwin to attend the Northern Territory University (now CDU), where she studied a Bachelor of Arts with majors in anthropology and sociology and a minor in politics. During uni holidays she would return to Alice Springs and work at Central Land Council (CLC) where she had a cadetship in the Anthropology Unit.

After graduating she continued working with CLC for nearly 20 years in various roles including community development, archiving and records management, both in town and remotely.

When the Congress History Project – Congress Arrurlenge archives officer position was advertised, Teresa was excited to apply.

“I wanted to be part of telling the important story of Congress because it is important to Central Australians and in particular to the Aboriginal community”.

Teresa also has a long personal connection with Congress. Her mother worked as a health worker at Congress for about 17-years and Teresa has fond memories of the staff who worked closely with her mother. Congress was also a big part of taking care of her own health, regularly attending Congress clinics growing up as she had bad asthma as a child.

“It’s good to see people I know in the historical documents, photographs and videos. I feel that I have a connection to the history in this way”.

Teresa’s role involves recording oral histories and she leads the project’s work in cataloguing, preserving and digitising the several thousand documents, printed photographs, photo negatives and videos in the collection. This is key in ensuring this important history is preserved, recognised and respected, as well as being accessible to the Congress community and stakeholders, both current and future.