Double graduation celebration for the Austin sisters

Published 11 September 2019
Austin sisters, Anneliese and Nerissa Anneliese (left) and Nerissa Austin at home in Palm Beach.

Doors to previously unexpected adventures are set to open for the Austin sisters of Palm Beach when they graduate from Southern Cross University this week.

Older sister Anneliese is heading to Papua New Guinea in October to continue a research project that aims to improve opportunities for rural beekeepers to expand the country’s honey industry.

Nerissa, meanwhile, has her sights set on securing a contract to teach in rural and remote Queensland next year.

“I never imagined I would end up making a difference, delving into humanities and social sciences off the back of a science degree,” said Anneliese, who will be awarded a Bachelor of Environmental Science at the University’s Lismore campus.

The Palm Beach resident’s next degree, a Bachelor of Science with Honours which she has already started, is the catalyst for her trip to PNG.

Their mother has travelled from Far North Queensland to celebrate her daughters’ graduations.

“Mum is a registered nurse and does rural work which is how she’s ended up in Cooktown,” said Nerissa, who will be awarded a primary teaching degree.

“She says the lifestyle is great in Cooktown. It’s inspired me to pursue a rural teaching contract there.”

Nerissa said initially she was uncertain about being a teacher.

“But when I did my first placement I loved it. I was hooked.”

The pair is excited to be graduating together.

“Being able to support each other through our degrees has been such a help and to end up graduating at the same time is very special,” said Anneliese and Nerissa.

“We are both looking forward to using our skills in our respective fields.”


Graduation details

Two graduation ceremonies will take place on Friday September 13 at the Lismore campus.


School of Arts and Social Sciences

School of Education

School of Environment, Science and Engineering

Gnibi College of Indigenous Australian Peoples

School of Law and Justice

SCU College

Southern Cross GeoScience

Southern Cross Plant Science



School of Business and Tourism

School of Health and Human Sciences

Media contact: Sharlene King 0429 661 349 or