Our Bernadette – In Memoriam

Our dear friend and highly valued team member, Senior Archaeologist Bernadette Allen, tragically and unexpectedly passed away in September 2020. Bern was a much-loved wife to Shane, daughter of Diana and Michael, Aunt, and friend to many. She was a brilliant woman and a true individual, with a wicked sense of humour and a love of dancing, music, walking her beloved dog Woofter at the beach, and all things vintage and kitsch. Her stories always entertained. Her support was always there when needed. She lived her life with a healthy dose of cynicism, but always with positivity.

Bern was a fantastic archaeologist, formidable, highly intelligent, generous, honest, and oh so loyal. Bern excelled at her job, and was most at home in the field, digging a hole, lugging buckets of dirt to the sieve, bashing through the bush, telling jokes and keeping the peace, and generally getting the job done with no fuss and all fun. Working with Bern was the easiest thing in the world. Her respect for Aboriginal people and their culture and heritage was evident in her interactions with everyone she worked with and the care she took in her work. She was one of the hardest working people we have had the privilege of knowing, and we are so proud and honoured to have had her as our colleague, but more importantly to have called her our friend.

Bern is always in our thoughts, and we are so grateful to have had her in our lives. It is important that we honour her memory in a way that she would appreciate and approve of. In that spirit Virtus Heritage is offering a yearly award in Bernadette’s name to an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person of any age, to participate in a week of work experience with us at our office in Kingscliff, NSW or a field site in NSW or QLD. This may take the form of working on a particular project, participating in an excavation or GPR survey, or learning a skill such as artefact analysis or historical research, with mentorship tailored to your area of interest.

Like Bernadette the candidate should embody the same Virtus Heritage core values of respect, integrity and diligence. We will be accepting Expressions of Interest (EOI) from October 20th (Bernadette’s birthday) and will close on December 12th. EOIs should include your name, age, contact information, a short sentence about yourself, your interests and suitability as a candidate.

EOIs can be sent to Dr Emma St Pierre at e.stpierre@virtusheritage.com.au or Dr Mary-Jean Sutton mj.sutton@virtusheritage.com.au. For more information please contact us at the above email address or at admin@virtusheritage.com.au.

Vale Bern.