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Taryn’s hard work lands her a legal career

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A man and two women standing in a row, the woman in the centre is holding a certificate.
Taryn Oxenburgh (centre) was recently admitted to the Supreme Court of the ACT. Photo courtesy of Department of Defence.
12 Jan 2017

Taryn Oxenburgh took some risks and is now reaping the rewards as a young Indigenous lawyer. After graduating from James Cook University with Honours, she completed an Indigenous entry program to the Australian Public Service. This was her pathway to a position in the Department of Defence legal team.

More recently she was admitted to the Supreme Court of the ACT, the formal acceptance into the legal profession and is now officially a practicing lawyer.

“Graduating university felt empowering but it also made me realise how much more I had to learn about the Law in practice (rather than theory). It encouraged me to explore career options and further study- I am planning to do my masters in 2017,” Taryn said.

“I’ve always been interested in law and wanted to do something that could benefit the community. Growing up I was saddened by how many Indigenous Australians were incarcerated.”

Taryn is of Ngarigo descent, growing up in Wangkathaa country in Western Australia.

“I’ve built many mentor relationships which helped when I had to take challenging steps,” she said.

“The best part about working for Defence Legal was all the support from both Australian Public Service and Australian Defence Force (ADF) members. I truly felt like part of a team, even when I was on a four week placement.”

Her role in Defence Legal ensures that Taryn’s days are constantly busy. Meetings, drafting wills for ADF members, coordinating legal assistance, and legal policy are a few of the tasks that she faces every day.

In her spare time Taryn plays touch football, undertakes extra study and participates in networking activities and social work events.

Taryn grew up in a close family; she was the third of ten children and often cared for her younger siblings. Her strong sense of family has always been a driving force within her career progression.

“As a role model for my younger siblings I have always been conscious of my career decisions and the law profession/cadetship is one that I would encourage my siblings to do.”

Along with her strong family values, Taryn has always believed in giving back to the community, which is what inspired her to become a lawyer. At 19 years old, Taryn became an Indigenous tutor for children in care.

” I’ve always had a strong sense of community and after recently moving to Canberra I am trying to build the same networks here.”

Finding that same sense of community in her workplace has made it easy for Taryn to become passionate about her new role.

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Story courtesy of the Department of Defence and appears in Defence Magazine - Issue 3 2016.