Indigenous history goes to print
Saturday, 9th November, 2013
By By Ethan James
After 25 years of loving compilation, the Western Heritage Group is set to launch a book that presents a unique view of the region’s history.
The work, titled “Yamakarra!” details over 300 years of Aboriginal history and will be unveiled at the BH Regional Art Gallery at 2pm today.
Suzanne Hall, President of the Western Heritage Group, said the work is of cultural and historical significance.
“It’s about belonging to the country and getting to know the country again,” she said.
“And it’s a book of heritage for generations to come, so it’s very important to me and our people.
“I’m very proud and emotional and I’d also like to remember the people we lost along the way in the making of this book.
“It was quite complicated to put together but it has all been worthwhile.”
The book is based on the memories of Liza Kennedy (1902-1996), who tells the stories of the Ngiyampaa people whose country lies between Cobar and Ivanhoe.
Due to the late establishment of the grazing industry in the area, the ‘Keewong Mob’ enjoyed independence that outdated many other Aboriginal tribes in south-eastern Australia.
Aunty Liza, as she was affectionately known, grew up with relatives who had been born before white settlement and is able to describe their unique story.
“Her grandfather was born pre-white settlement so her stories go back to times before things were recorded,” said Karin Donaldson, who helped compile the book.
“She was such a great storyteller too, so there are bits of humour and everything.”
The full colour book employs many voices to describe Aunty Liza’s bush trips and memories.
“We just used to sit around the campfire and talk about how we would put it all together,” Ms Donaldson said.
It will be launched by prominent artist Badger Bates, with Elaine Ohlsen, Suzanne and Karin all making speeches.