19 December, 2014
Local mob in Coonabarabran, North West of NSW, gathered recently to celebrate a new Keeping Place at the visitors centre.
The first of its kind in the town, the Wurrumbungle Shire Council made room to house ancient artefacts from the region, including a piece of both black and white history, the Tommy of Bungebah Chest Plate.
Little is known about the Chest Plate, except that it originates from the area.
Coonabarabran Local Aboriginal Land Council Chairman Cody Brady says it could have several meanings.
“Some people think that it was great acknowledgement of the king of the tribe but other people think it was given to Aboriginal people for their land” he said.
Merv Sutherland, a Heritage Conservation officer at the Office of Environment and Heritage led the repatriation process.
“I use a jigsaw puzzle as an example, we only really know little bits and pieces about our culture, especially here locally and the more that we can retain and hopefully fill in those little gaps, we can start to tell the bigger picture story” he said.
Christian Hampson, Regional Manager at the heritage division of the Office of Environment and Heritage says repatriation is significant to communities because it recognises and helps to promote the Aboriginal history of the area to the broader community.
Mr Brady says the keeping Place and its special items mean a lot to local people.
“The repatriation or bringing the breast plate back to this country is amazing, a great feeling, a sense of pride and awareness.”