Heritage and Culture
Congratulations to the 2016 State Winner for Heritage and Culture: Toodyay
150th Anniversary of Newcastle Gaol
Due to the meticulous record keeping of one of Toodyay's original magistrates, coupled with the investigative research of a local historian, Toodyay was able to accurately celebrate the 150th anniversary of their historic Newcastle Gaol, which opened on 12 September 1865. This gaol, which is a central part of the historic precinct, was turned into a museum in 1962 and plays a pivotal role in all of the town’s cultural events and activities.
Many of the town's community groups came together to contribute volunteers and/or funding. There was a lot to do to prepare for the day including the creation of a colonial village.
The program of events included a guided tour of convict depot precinct; a demonstration by the Perth Volunteer Rifle and Artillery Regiment; a trial re-enactment of convict Thomas Shaw followed by his incarceration; a guided tour of the gaol precinct; cutting of the birthday cake; and entertainment and demonstrations by Toodyay Spinners, Avon Wood Turners, the Hand Tool Preservation Society, pottery and more.
The gaol was open for all to view the individual cell displays, the long term colonial life display and a temporary display titled, ‘Love and Scandal.’
In an effort to unite the two separate settlements of Greenbushes and to highlight the town’s connection to its industrial heritage, the Greenbushes Ratepayers and Residents Association, in association with Main Roads and the Shire, initiated a project to install two large metal sculptures on the highway approaches to town. Funding came from a grant through the Friends of the South West Group with assistance from local volunteers, business and industry.
The sculptures were made by local artist Mick Latimer using recycled metals to depict the mining and timber industries and are erected on rock plinths. They are situated near to the north and south road entrances to the Greenbushes town site and the entrance to North Greenbushes. Their placement is intended to attract the attention of drivers travelling along the South Western Highway past Greenbushes and it is hoped that they will also provide an economic boost by drawing visitors off the highway and into the town.
Aboriginal Cultural Experience Day
The Narji Narji people of Merredin organised and ran an Aboriginal Cultural Experience Day aimed at local children. The Shire realised the social benefits of such an event and in collaboration with the organisers and local schools, ran the first cultural experience day last year in line with NAIDOC week.
All schools were invited to join in and 130 students participated. Students were rotated through the following learning modules: language, story time, art, dance and cooking, all of which were organised and led by the Narji Narji people.
Locals were also involved, including members of the Men’s Shed, who made the boomerangs that children painted.
All students took part in the creation of three large art pieces. The artwork tells the story of the Merredin Peak Reserve. It is now a feature at the local visitors centre and is a conversation starter for visiting tourists.
According to feedback, the workshops were exceptionally well run and provided enjoyable and engaging cultural experiences for all the children of Merredin. It has been decided that the Aboriginal Cultural Day Experience will become a biennial event.
The community’s female ranger team, the Kumirrki Rangers, cares for country with conservation work and plays a key role in maintaining women’s sites. Working under the guidance of six elder female cultural advisers the Rangers share their knowledge with others, especially the young girls of the community.
In 2015 the Kumirrki Rangers established an ongoing school project, taking senior students involved in their junior ranger program on on-country trips to learn about traditional medicine plants and bush foods. In early 2016, cuttings were taken from a number of key species to be propagated at the school, including bush medicines and plants used in ceremonies.
Kumirrki Rangers also provide a safe space for the women of the community to practice storytelling, song, dance and art. The Rangers can facilitate trips to collect materials such as grasses for traditional crafts, as well as camps for conducting ‘women’s business’ with young girls and women to pass on culture and tradition, and undertake healing ceremonies.
The work of the Rangers not only exemplifies the significance of sharing cultural traditions and passing on knowledge to the next generation, but the relationships the Rangers maintain across the community including the school and male Paruku Rangers, demonstrate a strong desire to take responsibility for ensuring these practices continue to be valued.
The Port Hedland Historical Society manages the Dalgety House Museum. The museum was open daily and has one staff member funded by the Society. The Historical Committee, which has 12 members, sought advice on the dated museum layout and exhibitions and on receiving feedback has invested funds to renovate the displays and the museum. As a consequence the museum was closed for three months from March 2016 (due to open in July 2016).
However the Historical Society has continued to have a voice in promoting the history of Hedland and is to be commended on its activities in promoting the history of the town through a variety of media and presentations to residents and to visitors. This has included having a stall at community events such as Welcome to Hedland Night and greeting cruise ships visiting Hedland.
Additionally, member Julia Arif visits two primary schools to talk about the town history and individual impact on the town and to encourage children and parents to visit the museum.
The Society has also been involved in promoting the 120 year anniversary of Hedland, coming up in October, by holding a film event at the art gallery close to the museum and holding sundowner events.
Two society members also hold weekly talks on local radio, sharing glimpses of the history of Hedland as well as writing historical articles for the local paper.
The Nameless Festival
The Nameless Festival was held over five days from 5 to 9 August and was managed voluntarily by the Nameless Jarndunmunha Committee. The festival has been held in Tom Price since 1971, and is named after Mount Nameless/Jarndunmunha meaning ‘place of rock wallabies’ by the Eastern Guruma people, traditional land owners.
The theme was ‘Who’s Your Hero?’ and focused on volunteers and services making a difference in Tom Price. The Fire and Rescue Service, army reservists, and Tom Price Cadets manned stalls. The police held push bike speed checks and St John Ambulance gave first aid demonstrations.
It was a community celebration of ‘all things Tom Price’ with an opening street parade, talent show, sundowners market stalls and an art exhibition. Events were free, with the exception of an 18+ music festival featuring musicians such as Oz Rock, the McClymonts, Taylor Henderson and Catch Music. Funding came from Rio Tinto and the Shire of Ashburton ($5,000) and seven local businesses fundraised and provided prizes.
Numbers attending ran into thousands and more than 2,000 people attended the music concert alone. This year the Festival benefitted from newly completed infrastructure, shade sails, undercover and barbeque areas ($3 million project completed in 2015) as well as new sculptural artworks ($150,000) in the popular shopping area. Infrastructure including shade, seats, and paving that enabled increased community participation was also completed.
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