Indigineous Literacy FoundationSaturday 30 November
Deakin Edge, Federation Square, Melbourne

Time: 5pm – 7.15pm

Registrations now open


Archie Roach. Photo: Adrian CookeFeaturing a very special performance by Archie Roach

We are thrilled to announce that legendary singer-songwriter and First Nations activist Archie Roach will perform at the Opening night of the 2019 AATE National Conference on Saturday 30 November at Deakin Edge, Federation Square. 

Archie is a Member of the Order of Australia for his lifetime contribution to Indigenous arts and culture, and runs the Archie Roach Foundation, which looks to improve opportunities for young First Nations people through art and culture.

Archie's memoir, Tell Me Why. The Story of My Life and My Music, was recently published with a companion CD. Read more



We welcome Larissa Behrendt to deliver the Garth Boomer address at the National Conference Opening night.

Distinguished Prof. Larissa Behrendt is a Eualayai/Gamillaroi woman and the Director of Research and Academic Programs at the Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning at the University of Technology, Sydney.

Larissa Behrendt is a keynote presenter at the 2019 AATE National Conference, 'My story flows in more than one direction: power of story, politics of voice', organised by VATE - the Victorian Association for the Teaching of EnglishShe is a graduate of the UNSW Law School and has a Masters and SJD from Harvard Law School. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and a founding member of the Australian Academy of Law. Larissa won the 2018 Australian Directors Guild Award for best Direction of a Documentary Film for After the Apology. She also wrote and directed the Walkley nominated documentary, Innocence Betrayed.

She has written and produced several short films. She is a graduate of UNSW and Harvard Law School. She has published numerous textbooks on Indigenous legal issues. Larissa won the 2002 David Uniapon Award and a 2005 Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for her novel Home.

Her second novel, Legacy, won a Victorian Premiers Literary Award. She is also the author of Indigenous Australia for Dummies. Her most recent book is Finding Eliza: Power and Colonial Storytelling (2016, UQP). She is a board member of the Sydney Festival and a member of the Major Performing Arts Panel of the Australia Council.

Larissa was awarded the 2009 NAIDOC Person of the Year award and 2011 NSW Australian of the Year. She is the host of Speaking Out on ABC Radio.

As an attendee at the opening night, you are invited to tour the Indigenous collection at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia (Federation Square) with NGV educators at no extra cost. This tour will take place from 4pm-5pm followed by the official conference launch at Deakin Edge, Federation. Limited places available.

Garth Boomer

Garth BoomerGarth Boomer’s life was a triumph, his contribution extraordinary, his premature death in 1993 a huge loss. While many English teachers in Australia may not have met Garth, some not have read his work, and a few not even have heard of him, his influence remains present and powerful – and impacts on virtually all our classrooms, so deeply did he influence the shaping of curriculum and pedagogy in Australia.

After graduating from Adelaide University, Garth taught English, Latin and Mathematics in South Australian State secondary schools before becoming the first consultant in English in South Australia. During and after his time as consultant he wrote a range of texts for English teaching. He took a year off to complete his Masters (with great distinction) at the London Institute of Education in 1972-73 and his evangelical fervour for language and learning took on a new intensity.

On his return he was first an education officer, then an inspector of schools and, in 1980, Director of Wattle Park Teachers Centre (the curriculum and teacher development centre for the South Australian system).

His influence spread very quickly around Australia and overseas and by 1984 when he moved to Canberra to take up the role of Director of the Curriculum Development Centre and then Chairman of the Commonwealth Schools Commission in 1985, he had become perhaps Australia’s most significant English educator ever.

In 1988 Garth was appointed interim Chairman of the Schools Council, one of four councils of the National Board of Employment, Education and Training.

In July 1988 he returned to South Australia as Associate Director-General of Education (Curriculum). He served as President of the Australian Association for the Teaching of  English from 1981-1984, and was also chair of the International Federation for the Teaching  of English for two years from 1983.

No-one has contributed more to the teaching of English in Australia than Garth Boomer:  life-long member of AATE (he was awarded  Life Membership in 1977) who has been  described as a ‘provocative and inspiring  conference speaker, vigorous workshop leader, compelling writer, pace-setting president’.

One of Garth’s secrets as a learner and educator was that he recognised that his own growth  took place in conjunction with others. On many occasions he would quote from Tennyson's  'Ulysses': ‘I am a part of all that I have met' and  he had a fondness for the poem’s final line: 'To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield' which was inscribed on his funeral plaque.

Pedagogy was Garth’s driving focus. His writing captures a seminal revelation of action and reflection for teachers of yesterday, today and tomorrow, and remains to inspire us: The Spitting Image (with Dale Spender), Negotiating the CurriculumFair Dinkum Teaching and LearningChanging Education and Metaphors and Meanings.

Each year, since 1998, Garth Boomer’s contribution to the teaching of English is remembered at the national AATE conference through the Garth Boomer address.