Cultural collection nationally recognised
Nearly two decades of tireless work sourcing and archiving history has paid off for a Pilbara indigenous group, which has been confirmed as having an archive of national significance.
The Juluwarlu Aboriginal Corporation archives were last week officially recognised as creating a collection of great significance for local people, as well as in State and national discourse, by the National Library of Australia. Juluwarlu archive manager Noelene Harrison said it was humbling to have the work recognised.
“We’ve got copies of old tapes, police records from 1863 onwards, we’ve been collecting community stories and we also collect old footage and photos from wherever we can get it from,” she said. “We never stop collecting.” Ms Harrison said the archives had been useful in keeping the Yindjibarndi language strong through the school, radio, books and online streams.
On a visit to Juluwarlu earlier in the year to assess the collection’s significance, consultant archivist Jen Ford said she was yet to find a similar collection.
“This so far is the only one I’ve come across that connects everything together — oral histories, movies, photographs, film of people on country and of country
itself, ” she said. Ms Ford’s report received by Juluwarlu last week gave top marks to the historic, research, social and spiritual value of the archive.
“It is refreshing to see an organisation that understands the significance of the connectivity of its archival collection to its core work,” the report noted.
“The continued collection of such material is invaluable so that an authentic history of Yindjibarndi traditional and current lifestyle and culture is preserved and used by the Yindjibarndi themselves and for research by others.”
Juluwarlu chief executive Lorraine Coppin said she never expected the archiving project to reach such heights.
“When we started this project, it was all about collecting information from elders before it was lost,” she said.
“Now we got this information, what do we do with it, so we started piecing it all together and saw some of this could be used for knowledge and passing it down to the next generation. “We can go back through our digital archive now and listen to our elders even though most of our elders are gone, we have them there now in our archives.”
Ms Coppin said the assessment would help Juluwarlu when it came to applying for grants.
Juluwarlu Aboriginal Corporation chief executive Lorraine Coppin and archive manager Noelene Harrison with Michaela Woodley, 2, and Tazeren-Denna Lockyer, 5.