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Pictured: AHWA researchers Duane Kelly and Leanne McDonagh

Photo: Duane Kelly and Leanne McDonagh AHWA regional officers Gnowangerup

The sessions were a great opportunity for people to learn about researching their Aboriginal family ancestry and upcoming AHWA truth telling projects.  

The AHWA team are research experts who help Aboriginal people get access to restricted State Government records about themselves and their direct ancestors, in a culturally safe manner.

These records, which span the period from 1886 to 1972, are closed to the public due to the personal and sensitive nature of the information.

Storylines is an Aboriginal online archive managed and hosted by the State Library.

It features more than 12,000 photos and materials that can help people find information about their family and provides a safe place to share materials about Aboriginal people from Western Australia.

Duane Kelly, one of the AHWA researchers, said that the tour had been an incredibly rewarding experience.

“There was such a great turnout in the Great Southern and Wheatbelt - we had more than 65 people come to the sessions over three days,” he said.

“Some community members were so moved by the ancestral information and photographs we shared that they were almost brought to tears.

“Even though we are based in Perth, it’s really important to us that people who live regionally can access our services. 

“This trip we visited Narrogin, Katanning, Kojonup, Gnowangerup and Albany but we hope to visit more regions later this year.”

Roma Winmar, pictured below with Duane and his colleague Mark Chambers at the State Library, said that accessing AHWA services had reinforced to her how important it was for Aboriginal people to learn and understand where they come from.

"With so many Aboriginal people removed from their country and their people, a lot of young people don't know where they are from. It is so important to understand where we are from and who our mob is," she said.

"The Aboriginal History team have helped me so much, and I have learned so much more about my own journey."

Roma Winmar, pictured with Duane and his colleague Mark Chambers


Page reviewed 27 February 2023