All the way back in February this year, I accompanied Alice Gorman on her field work at the former Orroral Valley Tracking Station in Namadgi National Park, Canberra. Also along for the ride was Rob Koch (Tafe SA) and Ian Moffat (ANU).
Of course, we happened to make the 15 hour car trip to Canberra on one of its wettest weekends since 2002. The average rainfall for February is 55.4mm – that weekend they received 104mm. The rain did not however curb our enthusiasm, we donned our rain coats and went about recording and mapping the site using differential GPS and geophysical techniques.
The Orroral Valley Tracking Station, operational from 1965, was established as part of NASA’s Spacecraft Tracking and Date Acquisition Network (STADAN). The station closed in 1985, and today is visible only through the foundations of the buildings, a ‘footprint’ left as a reminder of the past.
Over the past few months I have been partaking in a Practicum as part of my Masters in CHM. This has involved looking into the history and use of Microlock networks, Minitrack stations and Baker Nunn cameras (all used in the tracking of satellites) at Orroral Valley and within Australia. Hopefully, this will assist Alice in her attempts to record and document the site so that an in-depth understanding of its contribution to Australia’s space history can be established.
Stay tuned for my results…
This master class was conducted by Andrew Collett. Andrew is a highly respected Adelaide lawyer with extensive experience in the areas of Aboriginal heritage, native title, administrative, personal injuries and industrial law. In his early career he worked as a solicitor and barrister for the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement and was retained as junior counsel to act for all Aboriginal interests before the Royal Commission into British Nuclear Tests in Australia. He was subsequently retained as counsel by the traditional owners of the Maralinga Lands.
Andrew has also been retained as counsel for Aboriginal people and organisations in the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, the Hindmarsh Island Bridge Royal Commission, Children in State Care Inquiry, various native title claims (including in the Federal Court proceedings for the De Rose Hill Native Title Claim) and in the first South Australian “stolen children” action. In 2007 Andrew was also the Assistant Commissioner in the Children on APY Lands Inquiry. During his career Andrew has held a number of significant roles including: Chairperson of the South Australian campaign against racial exploitation and as a member of the Law Society of South Australia’s human rights and Aboriginal issues committees.
In this master class Andrew shared his expertise and teaching students about:
How to locate heritage and related legislation;
How to read and understand various pieces of heritage legislation from around the country and how they differ;
How to understand how other legislation interacts with heritage legislation (e.g., environmental and native title legislation);
Various case studies that demonstrate the importance of working within relevant heritage legislation; and
How heritage professionals may interact with the courts in their careers and issues relating to expert witness issues.
|Andrew Collett (fifth from right) with staff and students at the master class
It has been an interesting semester and it is a little sad to be at the end of my directed study (or at least the end of this stage of the study).
I delivered my presentation in person to industry partner representatives early this morning in Tweed Heads. It was exciting to get positive feedback on how the report will progress their current agenda.
Trying to ensure my presentation was available for the Presentation Day last week in Adelaide had been such a saga (and I still do not know if it arrived and was in a format that could be used), it was nice to face an audience and interact with them today.
Working back with NSW DECCW for the last 3 months has been a rewarding and challenging experience. When I worked there last (19 months ago) I was employed as an archaeologist. This time my position is as the Aboriginal Heritage Planning Officer. I am enjoying the shift in focus of this position away from the scientific aspects of Aboriginal heritage management towards cultural significance of the values. I work in the Environmental Protection and Regulation Group and find it reassuring that input into the process of accessing potential impacts and management options is diligent in ensuring it is informed by Aboriginal knowledge holders of the Country in which the values occur.
The semester is finally drawing to a close and for my final blog post I just wanted to talk about what I have learned or what I have gained from doing this directed study topic.
First of all is the greater appreciation that I have for historical research and the history of European settlers in Adelaide. Coming into this topic, I must admit that I was not totally interested in historical archaeology and I thought that it would not be as an involving project as it eventually turned out to be. Continue reading
So much is changing in Aboriginal cultural heritage protection and regulation in NSW it is little wonder I missed the date for my 3rd blog post. Apologies to all. The Omnibus bill went before the Upper house on Monday night. It was accepted with very minor changes. The amended version must go back before the Lower house but never the less is progressing towards applying in the not too distant future.
In the words of Director General in April this year:- “This Bill, introduced in Parliament on 25 February 2010, is the first phase of broad Aboriginal Cultural Heritage reform, It will implement Government’s decision to make changes to the National Parks and Wildlife Act and improve enforcement and operation of the regulatory provisions relating to Aboriginal cultural heritage.
Government has also committed to considering a stand along piece of Aboriginal cultural heritage legislation and a Working Party is being established to develop proposals over the next two years” (DECCW 2010).
The new reforms will provide for the imposing of much more appropriate penalties for impacts on Aboriginal cultural heritage in NSW.
I cannot help but wonder where the new changes will take us. It appears to me that many Aboriginal people have spent a lot of years attempting to move archaeological and scientific thinking towards a holistic understanding of our environment. Acknowledgement of the cultural landscape. The connection between the natural and the cultural and the evidence of that continuing relationship.
Separating the two values of Aboriginal life for protection and regulatory purposes: the natural resources and the cultural use of them may not be the step forward that many seek.