Vale, Harold James Furber
Nov 16, 2021
Services: Desert Knowledge Precinct
A joint statement from the Desert Knowledge Precinct partners – Desert Knowledge Australia (DKA), the Centre for Appropriate Technology (CfAT), and Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education (BIITE) – and Ekistica:
Harold was the Desert Knowledge Precinct’s Intercultural Elder-in-Residence, and a chief advocate for the site.
Proud Arrernte man and trailblazer Harold Furber passed away peacefully on Friday, 5 November.
Harold was part of the Stolen Generations, and a member and advocate for the NT Stolen Generations Aboriginal Corporation; an adept football player who played for North Adelaide Football Club; and a well-known activist in the Aboriginal land rights movement. He held prominent positions at many Central Australian organisations such as the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress, Tangentyere Council, Yipirinya School, and the Central Land Council; and dedicated himself to championing positive outcomes for Aboriginal people.
Harold held a Batchelor of Arts (Public Administration) from the University of Canberra, and a Diploma in Community Development and Social Work from the South Australian Institute of Technology (now the University of South Australia).
In addition to the numerous initiatives, projects and organisations he was involved in, Harold invested over two decades of his life advocating for and contributing to the development of the Desert Knowledge Precinct. Its existence is a testament to his unwavering dedication towards ensuring positive outcomes for Alice Springs and remote Australia.
Harold was a member of a number of steering committees associated with the development of key partners in the Desert Knowledge movement, including the Cooperative Research Centre and DKA. His work also supported the creation of an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA), which underpins the Precinct’s management.
Harold engages in the Precinct’s collaborative Edutourism program by learning to fly a drone.
As a member of the Stolen Generations and the Precinct’s Intercultural Elder-in-Residence, Harold was committed to building a space where everyone was welcome, where people could come together and work towards a common goal as a community. He believed in creating a space for learning, knowledge sharing, economic development, and innovation for the community of Alice Springs. He initiated the creation of the Precinct’s ‘Garden of Reflection’, a memorial for the Stolen Generations, and a place for contemplation and remembrance.
Harold was also instrumental to the creation of the Desert Peoples Centre, a joint initiative by CfAT and BIITE, created to support positive outcomes for Indigenous Australians through education and training. Although his work with First Nations peoples extended far beyond Australia’s borders, as he travelled around the world to learn from and work with First Nations leaders and representatives from Canada, the Philippines, the United States and New Zealand. A symbol of one of these alliances is visible on CfAT satellite ground stations at the Precinct, which displays artwork by the Lakota people from North America.
Harold addresses a group visiting the Precinct in 2020, and shares stories about the site’s history. (Photo credit: Andre Sawenko / Arid Lands Environment Centre)
Harold’s legacy lives on, not just at the Precinct, but in the numerous Central Australian projects and initiatives he was involved in over the past 40 years. He is survived by his three children, Declan Furber Gillick, Melanie Marron and Patricia Marron; and his sisters, Margaret Furber, Toni Arundel and Trish Kiessler.
The Desert Knowledge Precinct is extremely grateful for the impact Harold has had on the site, and is honoured to have worked with him. We extend our condolences to all his family and friends.
Vale, Harold James Furber (8th August 1952 — 5th November 2021).
* Harold’s funeral will be held at the Desert Knowledge Precinct on Friday, 19 November at 10am, and is open to all family, friends, colleagues, and well-wishers to attend. RSVPs are encouraged via text only to 0401 077 483. *