Directed Study: Best Practice in Documenting and Managing Song-lines

My directed study is researching and determining the ideal practice when documenting and managing Indigenous Song-lines. This pilot project is being undertaken with guidance from the Aboriginal Heritage Branch, of Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation Division, of the Department of Premier’s Cabinet, in conjunction with the Viliwarinha Yura Aboriginal Corporation, with a focus on Kuyani Song-lines, mainly located on Yappala Station, just outside Hawker, South Australia. The purpose of this work is to research the context of, and methodologies used in the management of, song-lines and their associated material components, in Australian cultural heritage management, and to create effective formats that can be used on various budgets and time scales.

This work actually began half way through last year (2009), and since this time the project has consisted of several meetings, planning the logistics of field trips to Hawker, and four actual field trips. During these trips, the team focused on documenting only one particular Kuyani song-line, because, in fact, many “run through” Yappala Station. The documenting consisted of electronically recording the song-line in both Kuyani and English, and then plotting different components of the story on maps, using GPS points recorded from various sites within the song-line. Artefact scatters and other Indigenous heritage sites, within the song-line, have also been recorded. It was amazing how dense these related artefact scatters were. According to the Aboriginal Heritage Branch, one of the stone tool scatters, that was recorded, was the most dense scatter recorded in South Australia! Some very dense stone hearth sites have also been recorded.

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