Case study 2: Jobs Fund: Ilkurlka Heritage Project Support Technology and Storage Shed
In the Great Victoria Desert of central Australia, 900 kilometres north-west of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia, is the remote Ilkurlka community. It is located in the Spinifex Native Title Determination Area, covering 55 000 square kilometres. The local Spinifex People have an extremely rich cultural heritage but like many Aboriginal communities, keeping their culture alive is an ongoing challenge.
The 2009–10 Heritage Projects (Jobs Fund) grant of more than $55 000 means the community now has the capability to properly undertake and document heritage activities.
The project had two components. The first was the purchase of a Toughbook computer and associated technology to use in the field. Using this technology the community members on bush trip expeditions can connect a GPS receiver to the computer and work directly from maps. This state-of-the-art technology has already enabled 20 new sites of cultural significance to be located, and to develop new land management regimes consistent with traditional culture and heritage values.
The second component of the project was to design, transport and construct a large and versitile storage shed in the central and northern zone of the Spinifex Native Title Area. The beautiful construction, designed and largely built by the community, is used as the base for all heritage field trips. The shed provides safe and secure storage for expensive equipment and vehicles and serves as a venue for ongoing training and employment opportunities. It is also used by the community for a range of other purposes.
The project has already made a direct and substantial contribution to the Spinifex community’s long-term future. The variety of survey and research projects that have been made possible through the new technology and the storage shed have secured the documentation and transmission of traditional Spinifex culture. This in turn has raised local pride in heritage and community, and will ultimately enhance community stability and security.
Building the roof structure of new storage shed at Ilkurlka. (Louise Allerton, Ilkurlka Aboriginal Corporation)