Friday, October 18, 2013

New book tells tales of Relationships Australia’s beginning in the NT

Relationships Australian NT is a service that Territorians can depend on in trying times, yet a new book chronicling its 40 year history shows it too was lucky to survive Cyclone Tracy.

 In 1977 Secretary Alan Schreiber accounts, ‘The Darwin Marriage Guidance Council has gone through a very difficult and trying year. By about the middle of the year we lost the services of our Director, who was our only counsellor. The only lay counsellors that had served us, all left after the cyclone. After repeated and very costly advertising for a replacement, all applicants were found unsuitable.’

 The tale of the organisation’s recovery and other trials and tribulations will be unveiled at the launch of A history of Relationships Australia Northern Territory on the occasion of its fortieth anniversary on Monday 21 October.  

 Researched and authored by local historian Mickey Dewar, the book accounts for the organisation’s beginning in 1973 when it was deemed ‘the needs of the Northern Territory population at that time were so urgent that the normal requirement for a state council to self-fund for the first few years of operation were waived’.

 "In the beginning, the Marriage Guidance Council was an organisation which sought to provide advice and counsel for married couples living in Darwin who were separating,” Ms Dewar said.

 “Forty years later it is now a reflexive, multi-faceted support service providing assistance to the people of the Northern Territory across diverse areas of social need. This book is the story of how these changes took place.”  

 Renamed in 1995, Relationships Australia NT today has a broader emphasis on helping children and families in need and working with disadvantaged people.

 “We provide assistance to families in various ways including strengthening relationships, mediation, counselling and support for people going through difficult times,” Relationships Australia NT Marie Morrison said.

 “We also provide specialised services such as professional development and training through formal and informal courses, partnerships and community based programs for migrants and refugees, and culturally appropriate services for Aboriginal families, delivered by Aboriginal staff members.

 “Increasingly we’re also working with young people and have programs to divert them away from crime and disadvantage, through restorative justice community programs.”

 The launch of A history of Relationships Australia Northern Territory on the occasion of its fortieth anniversary will be held at Relationships Australia NT, ground floor 43 Cavenagh Street on Monday 21 October at 5:30pm, preceded by the organisation’s AGM.

 The public are invited to attend with light refreshments and canapés available. Please call to RSVP on call 8923 4999.

 For more information please visit


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