Ngaut Ngaut Interpretive Project

The project I am working on for my Directed Study involves the creation of an interpretive brochure focusing on the Ngaut Ngaut (Devon Downs) rock shelter which is located near Nildottie, a small town 45 minutes drive from Mannum. My industry partners for this project are both Dr Amy Roberts, a lecturer here at Flinders, and the Mannum Aboriginal Community. Lyn Leader-Elliott is also providing advice for the project.

The Ngaut Ngaut site is extremely significant for a number of reasons. To the Aboriginal people of the Mid Murray, Riverland and Mallee the Ngaut Ngaut site provides a tangible link to their cultural beliefs and traditions. The site features hundreds of engraved motifs in the limestone cliffs.
Ngaut Ngaut was the first site to be stratigraphically excavated in Australia. This was undertaken by Herbert Hale and Norman Tindale in 1929. Hale and Tindale’s findings were important in that they provided clear evidence regarding the considerable antiquity of Aboriginal occupation of Australia. Prior to this, it was assumed that Aboriginal people were relative newcomers to the continent. While Hale and Tindale interpreted the recovered artefacts as evidence of successive waves of cultural migration and invasion, later archaeologists, namely Mulvaney in the 1950-60s, convincingly argued that the available data represented regional technological and economic changes over time.

My task is part of a larger project which Amy Roberts has undertaken in partnership with the Mannum Aboriginal Community to provide better interpretive materials, both on and off-site, to the tour guides that regularly take visitors to Ngaut Ngaut rock shelter.So far, I have mainly done a good deal of reading regarding the site and its history. I have also compiled a number of example brochures into a folder. I took this folder along when myself, Amy Roberts and Lyn Leader-Elliot attended a consultation meeting at Nildottie with some of the Ngaut Ngaut tour guides this past Monday. I’ll detail this meeting in my next post.

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One response to “Ngaut Ngaut Interpretive Project

  1. >Hi Alex – I'd love to see your brochure when it's done! Kitty