Author(s): Murray Seiffert
Why would the Church Missionary Society in faraway Victoria decide in 1906 to establish a mission to Aborigines in a tropical North Australian location where malaria, tuberculosis and leprosy were common, and the only available transport an occasional boat or horseback? This question so intrigued Murray Seiffert that he has sought answers from contemporary records. In this centenary year of the formation of the Roper River Mission (Ngukurr), a review of the early years of the mission, begun by three white men from the south and three Indigenous missionaries from Queensland, is timely.
Murray Seiffert has been a regular visitor to Ngukurr for over a decade. He has also worked closely with Ngukurr people while he was Academic Dean at Nungalinya College, Darwin. Formerly a senior lecturer at the University of Melbourne, Dr Seiffert's first professional experiences with Aborigines was as a high school teacher in the 1970s. He holds degrees in agricultural science, education, theology and sociology.