Tag Archives: Student Placements

Aboriginal Heritage Act Review

I am half way through my practicum at the Department of Indigenous Affairs in Western Australia. Presently the department is going through an Act review. This is looking at the act and then seeing whether it applies or is utilised? The lawyer consults with all the members and understands what happens in the department according to the act.

One of the interesting aspects is how Western Australia separates objects and sites in its legislation of protection. One of the problems with this is that it is becoming difficult to understand the role of the DIA in its protection of objects and whether it has the resources to protect thousands of objects.

However the most interesting aspect is how university has prepared me for this type of environment. Mark Staniforth’s Maritime Archaeology unit consistently compared other acts, the positives and negatives and the AHA review meeting looked at various other state government acts. It showed the realities of tutorials at university are not separate from the everyday life that government departments around the country experience day-to-day.

The AHA review runs twice a week with different branches of heritage all getting their say for two hours. It would be good to see with this level of consultation that the Department of Indigenous Affairs legislation becomes all the stronger into the future on the community’s trust in the department to protect the sites and objects of the various indigenous groups around Western Australia.

DIA – Holding onto Indigenous sites of importance

The mining boom state of Western Australia has a small team of dedicated and hard-working staff who seek to preserve Western Australia’s rich cultural history. As part of my Graduate Diploma of Archaeology, I am doing an internship. Understanding the act, analysis of reports and the development of a Powerpoint presentation has been the majority of content that I have learnt for the first thirty hours.

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Directed Study: Lower Murray Archaeological Project, Stone Artifact Analysis.

As part of ARCH8508, I’m currently undergoing a lithic analysis on an assemblage excavated by Mr Chris Wilson (PhD Candidate, Department of Archaeology, Flinders University), from the Glen Lossie Midden and Burial Site (GLMBS) in the Glen Lossie Irrigation Area, located near Murray Bridge, S.A.

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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. Continue reading

Directed Study: SANTS Artefact Collection – Background and Repatriation

On behalf of the South Australia Native Title Services, the primary industry partner in this project, the aim for this directed study report is to research the ten general locations where a collection of stone artefacts are believed to have been found and then investigate methods of repatriation for this collection. Donated by people in Winchelsea, Victoria, this collection was given to the South Australia Native Title Services in August 1998 by a representative, Trevor Abrahams, from the Wathaurong Aboriginal Cooperative. This Indigenous Corporation is based in North Geelong, Victoria and the artefacts within the collection are clearly marked as South Australian. The person who collected the artefacts had some knowledge of stone tool, as can be seen by the labels containing type of tool categories and stone materials.

The ten locations vary in specificity, and are as follows:
· South Australian Desert
· Coongie Lakes
· Coober Pedy
· Young(s) Lagoon
· Wilpena
· Robe
· Beachport
· Southend
· Port McDonald (As Recorded)/ Port MacDonnell (SA)
· Mt Haywood (As Recorded)/ Mount Hayward (SA)/ Heywood (VIC)/ Mount Heywood (WA)

The Discussion/ Results/ Analysis section will be divided in two parts. The first half will be about the locations, including a map of South Australia showing the locations of the artefacts on a map, hopefully identifying any patterns. Each location will then be discussed separately. Topics of interest will include Traditional Owners, raw materials found nearby, well-known artefact types in the area, prior ethnographies, prior archaeological work, and environmental backgrounds. The second section will be about repatriation. This section will include a discussion about repatriation in general, and then focus more generally on stone tools. This section will cover options of repatriation, prior occurrences, issues and recommendations.

‘Love songs and dedications’

As my directed study is almost finished, I thought it worth my while, and of course yours, to publicly acknowledge the people who help and influenced my major project.

Beginning of course with The Ngadjuri Walpa Juri Land and Heritage Association, whom, without their support, I would never have been able to undertake such an interesting project. Vincent Branson, chairperson of Ngadjuri heritage, who has encouraged me throughout and who has had to put up with an endless series of emails, signatures, meetings, fact checking, phone calls, reassurance, etc during the course of the project. My supervisor Emily Jateff, who has shown an enormous amount of patience, and Dr Amy Roberts for her initial help and input. All the people who assisted me with collections, Helen Hopper and Ali Abdullah-Highfold of the South Australian Museum Archive, Suzy Russell at the State Library of South Australia, Mountford-Sheard collection, Laura Winslow at the State Records Office Aboriginal Access Team and Lyn Coad at the native title services of South Australia. Of course Rob Williams who offered supervision whilst I was searching the archives and my uncle Wayne Rosser for the use of his computer and editorial help. All the people who commented on my posts, it gave my posts so much purpose and was incredibly rewarding.

Furthermore, I think these acknowledgments of thanks should also be extended to the old man himself, Barney Warrior, whose past actions have profoundly influenced the lives of the present Ngadjuri people, and indeed many others…..

More than just an autograph

One of the most time-consuming aspects of my directed study has been the endless need for letters signed by my industry partner, both supporting my research and authorising my access to archival material. Whilst this process is time-consuming for both myself and undoubtedly for my industry partner alike, it is inherently important and part and parcel of any research, such as mine. So far these letters have granted me permission to view and survey material that has been stored in such places as, the Tindale collection in the South Australian Museum Archives, The Mountford – Sheard Collection housed in the State Library and Collections held in The State Archives and Native Title Services. The reasons for permissions and support lie in the nature of material I have been consulting with and the subject matter I am being exposed to. Continue reading