The investiture, held at Wadeye, Northern Territory was very moving....within a very cultural context. The main language groups sung and danced and made a presentation to Tess: a beautiful painting, a mat and printed cloth. A group of Tiwi people was also present and they sung for Tess.
The Bishop opened the ceremony with a prayer at the invitation of Deacon Boniface. Boniface then spoke on behalf of the people and thanked Tess for all she has done for them. Tess thanked his Honour the Honourable John Hardy OAM for visiting Wadeye to invest her with the Order of Australia Medal. She then addressed the people in their language and they responded with a resounding acclamation. Then the dancing and local presentations took place. Following the dancing the Honourable John Hardy OAM invested Tess with the Medal and a short resume of her service to Indigenous communities, was read out. A simple luncheon followed. Darwin guests left Wadeye at 2pm.
by Sr Mary Stephens
MEDAL (OAM) OF THE ORDER OF AUSTRALIA IN THE GENERAL DIVISION
Sister Teresa Anne WARD
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Convent, Wadeye NT 0822
For service to Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory, particularly as a linguist and educator.
Teacher Linguist, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Thamarrurr College, Wadeye, since 2009.
Teacher/Teacher Linguist, Wadeye, (Port Keats), Northern Territory, 1978-1983. Established the Literature Production Centre and developed materials in the Murrinhpatha language, in conjunction with the Indigenous community, for the bilingual program.
Developed Tetun language literacy and in-service teacher programs, in conjunction with the Mary MacKillop Institute for East Timorese Studies, Dili, East Timor, 1997-2008. (From 1997-1999 due to visa constraints and the political situation in East Timor, ground work for the programs was mostly completed in Australia and then subsequently on-the-ground in East Timor from 2002-2008).
Teacher/Teacher Linguist, Murrupurtiyanuwu Catholic School, Nguiu (now Wurrumiyanga), Bathurst Island working in the Tiwi language, 1986-1991 and 1971-1977. Developed vernacular materials in the Tiwi language for the bilingual program.
Teacher, Kayser College, Nauru, 1984-1985.
Teacher, St Mary's Primary school, Darwin, 1968-1970 Awards and recognition include:
Recipient, Education Award for Women in the Northern Territory, Northern Territory Council for Human Rights, 2012.