Vale, Harold James Furber

Nov 16, 2021

Services: Desert Knowledge Precinct

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.

Watch Harold’s Stolen Gen­er­a­tions Testimony.

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Harold deliv­ers a Wel­come to Precinct at the 2021 Knowl­edge Inter­sec­tions Symposium.

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.

Lis­ten to Harold speak about the Precinct.

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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.

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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. *

View CAAMA’s trib­ute to Harold.

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