BACKCHAT December 2007 edition

Well almost another year gone.

First of all I want to thank all our great volunteers who have given up their time to come and help out with all the odd jobs in the Office. We have some great new volunteers for the Site Care and Monitoring program, which has just kicked off.We also have to welcome new staff to the Office, Sue Pinckham the new Aboriginal Social Planner for the combined Councils, and the New Trainee position, which will hopefully be filled next week.
Thanks also to Jessica Currie who is working on the Willoughby History Project and to our Consultant Phil Hunt who does a wonderful job when he is here and not running around the world saving animals and the planet and sitting on a mountain waiting for enlightenment.

Thanks to our Aboriginal Heritage Office Steering Committee members Rob Emerson, Daniel Lovett, Susan Butler, Cameron Bennell, Danny Houseas, Jennie Minifie and Jeff Organ.

We should all thank the tremendous support from the Mayors, Councilors, Administrator and General Managers of Ku-ring-gai, Lane Cove, Manly, North Sydney, Pittwater, Warringah and Willoughby Councils. Without their support this Office wouldn’t be protecting the Aboriginal Heritage for all Australians to enjoy and appreciate.
Dave Watts

Willoughby City Council Aboriginal History Project

A project is currently in the pipeline that is researching the Aboriginal history of Willoughby. Initially the project was only intended to research the Pre-European Aboriginal history, however, the project has now been extended to bring the research up to the present day. This has given the project much greater scope. The story now traces Aboriginal history, heritage, culture and spirituality from the time of the dreaming, through large-scale environmental changes, Pre-European times and early European contact, coexistence and conflict.

A consideration of more recent times allows the project to consider the work of Aboriginal people and organisations in the area today and more contemporary issues. An attempt is being made to reach a wide audience of all age groups and interests. Fictional short stories that should appeal to younger readers are being interwoven throughout the research in an attempt to take the reader on a visual journey of what life for Aboriginal people may have been like hundreds of years ago. The project will be completed in 2008.
Jessica Currie

Site Care Program Kicks Off

This month we kicked off the Site Care program with two training sessions at our new office in Northbridge. Despite the renovations and the office looking more like a storage unit, our enthusiastic volunteers showed that they are more than ready to help us monitor some of the thousands of sites in this region. Monitoring will commence in the new year once volunteers are ‘introduced’ to one or two sites in their local area and we’ve run through all the monitoring protocols and procedures.

There are still places available for monitors in most Councils, particularly Ku-ring-gai, Manly, Warringah and Pittwater. We appreciate the kindness of those willing to give up some time to help look after this irreplaceable heritage.

As the t-shirts say, ‘Narri-buawa nung barani marang yura nanga mai’ (Standing up now for yesterday’s First People’s dreaming).
Phil Hunt

The Aboriginal Social Plan

My second day on the job was action packed with the Reconciliation Network meeting in the morning followed by the Launch of the Aboriginal Social Plan at Manly. I found this a really exciting time to start as the plan has scope to make positive change a reality in the Northern Suburbs. The energy at the launch was highlighted with the smoking Ceremony, Bush Tucker and Dancers that all present carried away with them.

In the early days of starting in this position I have been introduced around the different Councils and making contact with the Reconciliation Network members.
I have been able to catch up with some of the Kooris who reside in the Northern suburbs and have a yarn about the Social Plan.

Being based at the Aboriginal Heritage Office is solid. I have been working as a lone Koori worker for many of my professional years and it’s deadly to have some much cultural support, knowledge, connection and energy so close.

Dates for “Yarn Ups” at the Aboriginal Heritage Office for 2008 begin Wednesday 9th January then Wednesday 23rd January both starting at 6pm – 8pm. This will be a great opportunity for me to make myself known to all you mob and to find out about you.
Yarn Ups will be held fortnightly here at the office with a wide range of topics to cover, your ideas and thoughts are welcome.

Christmas in the Bush is on 15th December at Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park Bobbin Head Rd, Bobbin Head 10.30 -4pm. A great day with Black Santa, Fishing Comp, Sport & Activities, Food and a River Cruise. I look forward to having a busy day lending a hand and meeting people.

Stay safe and enjoy the Festive season
Susan Pinckham

& Have a wonderful New Year

From all of us here at the AHO