5 October 2020

After seven decades, Woroni continues to hold ANU's feet to the fire

| Dominic Giannini
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aMBUSH Gallery Kambri

Woroni – 70 Years of Outrage and Activism is open at aMBUSH Gallery Kambri. Photo: Supplied.

Woroni, the ANU’s student newspaper, has been punching well above its weight since it first hit the presses at the ANU in 1950, from interviewing Prime Ministers such as Bob Hawke to uncovering student corruption stories that were then picked up by larger Canberra media organisations.

Now the septuagenarian has complied its biggest stories and covers from the last seven decades into Woroni – 70 Years of Outrage and Activism, at aMBUSH Gallery Kambri.

Woroni was born out of the student union movement and often pushed the boundaries on social justice issues and progressivism, including covers of figures having sex and naked cartoons in the 1970s and 80s.

The paper – now released three times each semester in a magazine format – has been speaking truth to power ever since, Editor-In-Chief Isobel Lindsay-Geyer said.

Woroni has been at the ANU since its inception. We have been witness to some big changes at the university and have held the university to account when needs be,” she said.

Isobel Lindsay-Geyer and Josie Ganko

Woroni Editor-In-Chief Isobel Lindsay-Geyer (right) and Deputy Editor-In-Chief Josie Ganko (left) spent hundreds of hours on the exhibition. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

“For 70 years we have been representing students and giving them a voice. Countless people before me have put in thousands of hours into Woroni which shows the long tradition that we have here for representing student interests and advocating for change.

“The exhibition also demonstrates that we have a long history of harassing the ANU, working with them and against them.”

The exhibition came together from hundreds of hours of sifting through archives, photocopying, designing and printing over the last few months, on top of studies and continuing to produce content for Woroni‘s website, Isobel said, helped along by Deputy Editor-In-Chief Josie Ganko.

The irony of working for a student newspaper at a university where there is no dedicated journalism degree or major was not lost on Isobel and Josie, who both started working with Woroni on the side before becoming enthralled by it.

Months later, all that hard work and dedication culminated in a full house on opening night, with all three sessions completely booking up.

The newspaper was first published on 23 May 1947 under the title Student Notes: Canberra University College Students Association but changed its name to Woroni – meaning mouthpiece in an Indigenous language – on 14 February 1950.


Woroni was first published under that name in 1950. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

Although the exact language is unknown, it is thought the word was taken from the Wadi Wadi nation in northern Victoria.

The exhibition is open daily from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm on weekdays and 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm on weekends until Sunday, 1 November. Admission is free.

Visit www.ambushgallery.com for more information, and follow aMBUSH Gallery on Facebook and Instagram for exhibition updates.

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