Cul­tural col­lec­tion na­tion­ally recog­nised

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Tom Zaun­mayr

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.

Pic­ture: Tom Zaun­mayr

Ju­luwarlu Abo­rig­i­nal Cor­po­ra­tion chief executive Lor­raine Cop­pin and ar­chive man­ager Noe­lene Har­ri­son with Michaela Wood­ley, 2, and Taz­eren-Denna Lock­yer, 5.

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