Aboriginal-Led Cultural Digitisation Project to Preserve Local Collections

Four NSW Aboriginal cultural centres and keeping places will lead the way as cultural collection digital champions thanks to an $800,000 Creative Capital investment by the NSW Government.

The funding will provide additional resourcing and state-of-the-art technology to help the cultural centres to develop innovative and culturally appropriate processes to manage, preserve and share their unique local collections. The initiative also develops the professional skills of local Aboriginal project officers.

Following a successful 12-month first phase, the First Nations Digitisation Project received the green light to continue for a further two years, allowing the cultural collections to be carefully audited, catalogued and digitised by local, Aboriginal-led teams.

The four centres are Armidale Aboriginal Cultural Centre and Keeping Place; Wungunja Cultural Centre at Trangie; Yarkuwa Indigenous Knowledge Centre Aboriginal Corporation at Deniliquin; and Yarrawarra Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Corindi.

The co-design funding model is supported by a collaborative partnership involving Create NSW, State Library of NSW and NSW Aboriginal Culture, Heritage & Arts Association (ACHAA), with each partner organisation providing support to the cultural centres to ensure their success.

Steve Miller, General Manager ACHAA said the initiative helps close the gaps and implement systems that are missing in collection management, while ensuring work is carried out on Country and managed by the Aboriginal custodians of the collections.

“These valuable cultural collections, some of national significance, connect the centres and their communities to Country, knowledge and their heritage,” Mr Miller said.

“The program has helped these centres enormously in terms of employment and regional on-site training, community-country connections and understanding of these collections.”

Jeanette Crew OAM, Chairperson of Yarkuwa Indigenous Knowledge Centre expressed the Centre’s excitement that funding for their digitisation project has been extended for the next two years.

“This commitment will mean cultural information can be shared with schools, families and the wider community ensuring Aboriginal culture is not isolated from the local identity of our community,” Ms Crew said.

The collaborative partnership will create a timeless legacy, ensuring Aboriginal communities have ongoing access to heritage, culture and language through community collections. Importantly, as an Aboriginal-led collaborative initiative with expert guidance from the sector, it sets a strong foundation for future projects.


Pictured: Back row, l-r: Richard Neville (Mitchell Librarian, SLNSW) Julia Pucci (Create NSW), Damien Webb (Manager, Indigenous Engagement, SLNSW), Tony Duke (Tranby), Colin Kinchela (Create NSW), Alison Williams (Yarrawarra Cultural Centre), Georgina O’Neill ( Wungunja Cultural Centre, Trangie LALC), Steven Ford (SLNSW),

Front row, l-r: David Harney (ACCKP) Tyler Stackman (Armidale Cultural Centre & Keeping Place ACCKP), Bob Blair ( ACCKP), Steve Miller (ACHAA / Aboriginal Programs Manager at M&G NSW), Rose Lovelock (ACCKP), Maddison Whitford (Yarrawarra Cultural Centre), Cherokee Lord (SLNSW), Terrie Milgate (Wungunja Cultural Centre, Trangie LALC), Dianne Smith (Wungunja Cultural Centre, Trangie LALC), Melissa Jackson (SLNSW), Anna Aspinall (Create NSW), Michael West

Photo: Joy Lai State Library