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Christine prepares for the next chapter

Study | Newsroom

As Christine Angel tells it, the moment she visited the University of Tasmania Cradle Coast campus in 2003 she felt like she had found her tribe after feeling out of step with the world.

Born in Queenstown, Christine left school in Burnie at the age of 15 and then ‘life got in the way with children and a job and family’.

But after years working as a paralegal and following the closure of the paper mill in Burnie she noticed an advertisement in The Advocate  newspaper for the University of Tasmania.

Christine Town and Gown
Dr Christine Angel leads the Town and Gown walk for the University of Tasmania 2022 Cradle Coast campus graduation ceremony, holding the University's Black Rod.

“There was an ad and it said ‘A cappuccino and a degree in tourism? If you’re interested come to the Cradle Coast campus on Mooreville Road’ and I thought ‘Oh, there’s a university in Burnie?’,” she recalls.

“So I went up there and I found the most amazing people, like Professor Trevor Sofield who was so enthusiastic, and Rosie Wasson who was on the front counter and gave the happiest welcome in the world, and I just knew I’d found my tribe. So, I went and signed up that day and gave my notice at work.”

Christine quickly completed her bachelor’s degree in Tourism (2007) and then began a Bachelor of English with Honours. In the meantime, she went from continuing to work part time as a paralegal to taking on a position with the University with the teaching staff.

“No one at the Cradle Coast campus was offered the chance to do honours in English back in 2008. So I commuted for a year to do my honours in Hobart.

“It was so much fun, I had two projects and the main one involved the visitor books at Cradle Mountain. The tourist books were from 1906 when Waldheim (Forest Home) Chalet first was constructed up until 1956. Nobody had ever examined them.

“I got a scholarship through the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery and I had access to these stunning books with all of these wonderful signatures and comments. People would be snowed in for days and so they wrote these stories in the books and I got to see not only how the area evolved, but also how the government policies and the war affected who visited.”

The research culminated in her Honours thesis ‘Writes of Passage: The Waldheim Chalet Visitors’ Books as Liminal Texts’.

Inspired by the historical research Christine decided to undertake her PhD in English through the School of Humanities. The title of her thesis was ‘The Woman Who Did: Janet Achurch, Ibsen, and the New Woman’.

She said that after doing her Honours in English it ‘just felt right’ to go on and do a PhD.

Christine Angel conference
Dr Christine Angel at the 2022 Celebrating the Impact of Regional Research and Education Conference.

“Janet Achurch was an English actress who had Ibsen’s A Doll’s House translated from Norwegian to English back in 1887,” she said.

“She brought the play to Australia for a tour. It was a most fascinating journey for me writing about the tour, I learnt a lot about the theatre, and I got to read all the original newspapers articles from the two years, 1889-91, when she toured.

“It was incredible. There was shock about a woman bringing this play to the stage and it was interesting to see the public opinion and how it changed over time as she toured. It was a fascinating story.”

Christine’s teaching career began as a tutor for a Graduate Certificate in Business, before she took over the postgraduate unit and eventually becoming part of the University College when it began.

She was a student coach, worked on pedagogical development for the associate degree program and scholarship/research.

With the University College Pedagogy of Practice-Based Teaching and Learning team she has been focused on experiential education. It has meant being involved with curriculum design in consultation with the team and discipline staff.

Christine, who finishes up at the Cradle Coast campus on December 21 said she is looking forward to doing some new things.

She has even hinted at the idea of undertaking more study but said, that no matter what, some travel will definitely be on the cards.