Kylie, Rachael and Paula were really honoured to be included in an on-farm repatriation ceremony at “Karoo” last Wednesday, March 15 2023.  

Shane Herrington from Heritage NSW, a Wolgalu/Wiradjuri man, and a team from Brungle-Tumut Local Aboriginal Land Council, have been working closely with landowners Peter and Mary Hoodless. The final stage of the process was a smoking ceremony and the returning of artefacts, found by Peter and his family over 130 years, to a protected site on the farm. Peter said some of the tools had drawn his eye as they were not local stones and others were different in shape to what he was used to seeing on the farm.

Shane is a talented musician, storyteller, educator and facilitator.  He gave a yidaki (didgeridoo) lesson, discussed the trading history and uses of the tools, the techniques for making them and other items like coolamons, and started a fire using fire sticks. Each item has been catalogued and recorded on the AHIMS database*.  The day was really beautiful and inspiring.  Students from St Monica’s Primary School, Wodonga were there as well as neighbours, Justin Clancy MP, and other folks closely involved over the years like Dave Pearce, John Murphy, Edwina Hayes and Dave Hunter.

Conversations about how to protect sites and artefacts into the future crop up during our chats with members. Advice from Heritage NSW is to keep the items on-farm to preserve the provenance and connection to country. Ideally write down what is known, where and when was it found, the connected family stories etc.

We are hoping more of our members would be interested in repatriation ceremonies and we are actively seeking funding in conjunction with our Local Aboriginal Land Councils (Albury, Wagga Wagga and Brungle-Tumut) and community elders.

Contact Paula Sheehan if you would be interested in finding out more about protecting and registering artefacts and significant sites.

*The Aboriginal Heritage Information Management System (AHIMS) holds information about recorded Aboriginal sites, objects and declared Aboriginal places in NSW. The records are not publicly available.

“How to record Aboriginal sites found in NSW”  information also available on the Heritage NSW websites