Trish Barnard

It's taken some time and a few major detours, but Trish Barnard is finally living the dream.

"I work in anthropology and I manage a material culture collection and conduct research on objects and other aspects of Indigenous material held at other major Australian museums," she said.

"I am passionate about research on Aboriginal historical and contemporary perspectives and embrace opportunities to collate information that will enhance public understanding."

"I also commit considerable time to assisting Aboriginal communities to develop their keeping places or museums."

But her path towards her current role has taken many turns.

"I was devastated when I didn't get into archaeology after leaving school in the 70s so I fell into retail," she said.

"Eventually I was working in the fashion industry doing payroll, and then as a factory manager and I also studied at night at a Sydney TAFE.

"I took a leap of faith and started up a very small business, manufacturing clothing and worked really long hours for 10 years, but with some success and some awards.

"Then I remembered where my real passion was and I enrolled at university in a Bachelor of Fine Art, and committed to volunteering at a gallery on my days off, which landed me a full time job after graduating.

"I worked hard to achieve some milestones and after a few years got a job at the museum, and worked my way up to a Senior Curator position.

"Along that journey, I knew what I wanted and worked with Elders and communities, studied other miscellaneous but relative subjects at uni and read everything possible to develop a good depth of knowledge."

Trish is also a strong advocate for providing opportunities for young people to learn more about their culture.

"I assist young people trying to connect to their heritage and research information for them."

Trish says the key to success is passion.

"Think about what excites you and seek the relative education and training in that area so you get to work in a field you are passionate about," she said.

"I think my story reflects my need to follow my heart wherever it takes me."