Understanding Aboriginal perspectives of history and heritage in Wyndham, Western Australia
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 11:52 authored by Bronwyn Lawton
Many members of the government and the general public still view Aboriginal heritage only in terms of a static, pre 1788 way of life. Aboriginal heritage and history, like Australian history since 1788, has never been static. It has been in a continual process of adaptation and evolution. The case study and research undertaken in Wyndham, Western Australia was designed to demonstrate on a small, local scale how Aboriginal history and heritage has evolved and endured. Aboriginal heritage is associated with the distant past, but it is also about the 19th and 20th Centuries, and about yesterday and today. Interviews were designed to facilitate a dialogue between members of the Wyndham Aboriginal community and the researcher, to expose the false paradigm symbolised by the rejection of the Aboriginal heritage claim associated with the Cyprus-Hellene Club (a relatively contemporary building) and to gain a better understanding of one group's views of their history and heritage, a heritage that proved to be firmly grounded in the past, and in a modern, geographical sense of place. There is an Aboriginal history and heritage, very much alive in the minds of the Aboriginal community in and around what many might incorrectly think of as 'Whitefella' Wyndham. It is, in reality, just Wyndham, a site with an indigenous and a non-indigenous heritage. It is a place where two histories - indigenous and non-indigenous, meet with the interaction of cultures. However the Aboriginal history of the area needs to be acknowledged before the creation of a 'shared' history can be considered.