Janine Farrell Roberts.
Born in England but brought up as Irish
due to influence of grandfather from Falls Road in Belfast who taught
her mother the rebel songs.
Tertiary Studies. 1961-63 A First in Philosophy. 1964-67 Masters Degree Theology. 1967-70
studied at LSE & Bedford Colleges, London University. Elected representative
of Sociology students, runner up President 1968. 1970 Hons.. Sociology (B.Sc.)
Then traveled 1970-71 overland to Australia.
National Director of IDA - coordinating educational campaigns on third world
issues - funded by aid agencies, World Council of Churches Program to
Combat Racism, Methodists, Catholics and other bodies.
1975-78. Worked to help protect
the lands of the Wik Aboriginal nation in N. E. Australia. Published a study
of Shell's proposed 800 sq. mile bauxite strip-mine. Took part in Aboriginal
occupation of the mining camp then went with Aboriginal deputation to Holland.
This secured a televised agreement by Shell not to go ahead without Aboriginal
agreement. This land is still hunt-gathered and still has its traditional
1976 Edited and co-authored
"The Mapoon Books". The
Mapoon Aboriginal community had lost their tribal lands to a mining consortium
that wanted it as part of a 1000 square mile aluminum (bauxite) strip mine.
The Mapoon settlement was burnt to the ground while they were still there.
Raised funds and public support and the Mapoon community returned to their
land - where they are still living.
Humphrey McQueen, a leading Australian
historian, reviewed these books as "the
finest, best researched and through study appearing in the Whitlam
Set up Aboriginal support organisations around Europe.
Directed edit with permission of shortened campaign version of the
film "Ningla-a-Na" on treatment of Aborigines in Queensland.
"From massacres to Mining: the Colonisation
of Aboriginal Australia"; published War on
Want in UK. It was translated and published in Netherlands and
Germany. Excellent press including a full page in "The Guardian" in
I979 Initiated and researched ITV (Granada) World in Action
programme "Strangers in their Own
Land." This lead to the discovery that a
British mining company had bulldozed Aboriginal tree platform graves,
burning the corpses with the trees.
Appointed Mining Impact
Consultant to the National Federation of
Aboriginal Land Councils.
Commences work advising Aboriginal
communities having to deal with diamond prospectors. The first joint
meeting of the N.W Australian ( Kimberly) Land Council and the North
Queensland Land Council is called to hear her reports of overseas
support and discuss strategy.
Aboriginal elders invite her to
Oombulgurri Reserve where they have already throw out De Beers. While
she was working with the senior Elders, the Australian Government
ordered the police in by helicopter to remove her as she did not have
a newly required permit from the State Government.
Reason for fuss: the world's biggest
diamond deposit has been discovered nearby at Argyle.
much expanded edition of "Massacres to
Mining: the Colonisation of Aboriginal Australia." (publ. Dove (Now Harper/Collins)) Book launch covered on
all major TV evening news programs. One of Australia's best known
authors, Xavier Herbert wrote in "The National Times":
"There is no doubt about Jan Roberts'
feelings in the matter. Yet she handles her history with restraint
that makes it a work deserving to be a classic in our history. Every
revelation... is authenticated from official records but without
marring the dramatic impact on the reader that is usual objective
writing." (This was his first review since
Commenced to write freelance for "The
Age"in Melbourne. Her first article is
full page , advertised on television and nationally syndicated. It is
entitled "This is the largest diamond
deposit in the world, it is Australian, and the South Africans are
seeking control." Next day the Prime
Minister commented that the South Africans would never get
Initiator and Researcher for BBC "Everyman" documentary on
Aboriginal spirituality in the diamond rush area. Title is
"A Plain and Sacred Right."
As the first journalist to get inside the
then secretive Argyle diamond lease, she has a three part series
published in "The Age' on the international diamond industry.
Co-Produced and co-directed with Aboriginal Elder Robert Bropho,
television documentary "Munda
Nyuringu"This was the story of the last
great gold rush into Kalgoorlie as seen by Aboriginal people. The
film's launch was favorably covered on the main TV evening news
This won a Nomination as Best Documentary,
a Jury Commendation in Lisbon and was exhibited in major
international festivals. It received front page film of the week
treatment in the "Sydney Morning Herald".
book "Jack of Cape Grim" - an account of how a group of 5 Tasmanian Aborigines
(including the famed Truganini who was supposed to be the last
Tasmanian) fought settlers and three military expeditions on the
outskirts of the newly established Melbourne.
committed to a three part series written by her on the international
diamond cartel. The series was called "The
Research Daisy Bates - an Irish woman and writer who lived with Aborigines in
Central Australia for over 30 years. This entailed driving alone some
3,400 kilometres across deserts, camping with Aborigines, retracing
Daisy's travels from her accounts and Aboriginal memories.
BBC's Panorama program hires her as a producer and sends her to Moscow
because she has unique access to a meeting of western intelligence
operatives and the KGB.
She broke internationally the
on the arming of Iraq by the White House. She assists with the
unmasking of the Foreign editor of the Daily Mirror as an
arms-merchant for the Evening Standard.
November 1991. "The Diamond
Empire" goes into pre-production. It is
shoot in five continents and is transmitted in the UK, Canada and USA
Beers tries to ban her film in the diamond rush area of Arctic
Canada. Their heavy handed action leads to the Federation of Trade
Unions, the Sierra Club, Ecology North and the Dene Indians bringing
her. to Yellowknife to show her film She is asked to advice Dene
Indians on diamond mining.
1995. She commences researching
her book "Glitter and Greed"
in South Africa and Namibia. She stays in Townships as the guest of the Mineworker's
Union. She is the first person banned from the diamond mines by De Beers since
the 1988 Emergency - but she gains entry to these mines nonetheless. Her film
is shown in these mines.
She is the guest key note speaker at the
first post apartheid "Diamond Mineworkers Conference for Southern
co-produces the investigative TV program "Monkey Business" for Channel 4's
Dispatches series on how a monkey virus contaminated the polio
vaccine and is now in many human cancers.
1998-9 further writing and researching on the international
diamond trade and many other topics - including for "Glitter and Greed."
2001 Testified at the US Congress in Washington DC on Human
Rights and the Diamond Trade - and the role of diamond merchant and Democrat
party funder, Maurice Tempelsman
To Contact Jani Roberts