Storylines unearths Aboriginal history

Caitlyn WattsPilbara News
Rosie, Sambo and family at out camp on Pyramid Station, 1942.
Camera IconRosie, Sambo and family at out camp on Pyramid Station, 1942. Credit: City of Karratha Local History Collection

City of Karratha libraries have partnered with the State Library of Western Australia to deliver a project designed to put stewardship of Aboriginal history back into the hands of their communities.

The project, called Storylines, involves a large online database of historic photographs and stories of Aboriginal people.

Participants of the project are trained to use the system to find photos and information about their family, add their own resources to the collection and identify any missing gaps.

State Library of WA project officer and digital mentor Andrew Meredith travelled to the Ganalili Centre in Roebourne yesterday to deliver the free training session and said the aim of the project was to help record and preserve WA indigenous history.

“People don’t necessarily have the knowledge that these items exist, so now they can use this to help build their own family story and reconnect family members and also add feedback of their own lived in experience to the collection,” he said.

“Touring to regional towns is a good way to show people what we’ve got, because I think that’s one of the main benefits with the great size of WA, we cover all corners from the State and it really gives people that opportunity to come and see what we’ve got and they can share their own stories.”

Mr Meredith runs the training in towns across the State and said the overall feedback had been very positive.

“People are very excited to see the images and sometimes there are some really amazing connections that people make,” he said.

“People find photos of their parents that they’ve never seen before or didn’t know existed. Sometimes connections are even made within the room.”

Mr Meredith said the interactive software and online archive of images reduced the barriers that inhibited Indigenous people in WA from accessing such material.

“Before you would have actually had to come down to the library and go through the collection to actually find images, whereas now with the digital platform it really creates a space where people can access these items from anywhere,” he said.

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