Aboriginal heritage sites mystery solved
The mystery of Yinhawangka heritage sites buried deep in a Pilbara mountain range and only seen by bushwalkers decades ago has ended, thanks to some determined historical detective work.
The Yinhawangka Aboriginal Corporation wanted to learn more about traditional sites in the Nyimili Range between Tom Price and Paraburdoo as part of a community project.
In October Pilbara News ran an article calling for information from local bushwalkers active in the 1970s, who were the only known people to have come across the sites. Their discovery prompted the Department of Aboriginal Affairs to register them in 1975.
When no one came forward, the corporation tried other avenues.
Articles from former Pilbara newspaper Hamersley News stored at the State Library of WA revealed the bushwalkers were in fact the Hamersley Range Bushwalkers Group, established in 1974 and based in Paraburdoo.
The corporation found some of their original correspondence about the sites and was able to contact their former secretary.
Landgate records also showed that group was responsible for suggesting the gorge’s name of Bushwalkers Gorge, as well as Mt Truchanas which they named after Tasmanian environmentalist Olegas Truchanas.
Yinhawangka Aboriginal Corporation implementation manager Andrew Eastick said it had been a major research effort because the Nyimili Range was largely undiscovered.
“In that whole Nyimili Range there are only two features that are actually named, and that is Bushwalkers Gorge and Mt Truchanas,” he said.
“It’s very rugged. Our work has been completed for the moment and a significant number of additional sites of Aboriginal activity have been identified.”
Mr Eastick said the sites had important heritage value.