History to be preserved on-line

Bill Harney and Paul Taylor
Bill Harney and Paul Taylor
Bill Harney

Bill Harney

Bill Harney and crew.

Bill Harney and crew.

Bill Harney and Paul Taylor

Bill Harney and Paul Taylor

A TEN-YEAR archiving project of Wardaman culture, featuring video of Aboriginal elder Yidumduma Bill Harney, will soon be released to the public in a new website.

Living in the remote community of Menngen Station, without internet access, meant this was the first website Mr Harney had ever seen, after he drove to Katherine to view its content two weeks ago.

The website creator and video director, Paul Taylor, said the Yubulyawan Dreaming Project project began when Mr Harney requested him to collect and archive the stories for the Wardaman people, and their future generations.

“Having something like this means (the stories) will be passed on,” Mr Harney said.

“They can explain it to their kids… and their grandkids, all the way.

“That would be just ideal and easy to access.”

Mr Taylor developed the website after shooting more than 130 hours of video footage on many aspects of the people's traditional culture and beliefs, including songs, art, language, law, land and bush skills.

“I would like for people to see", Mr Harney said.

“It’s great. All over the world, right across the country people can see.”

“For me this is sharing my knowledge and the culture more. It’s good to give people an understanding.”

Mr Taylor said creating the archive was very important as Mr Harney was now the last fully initiated Wardaman elder, with traditional ceremonial knowledge, still alive.

"It’s taken a lot of energy from him, while he’s trying to look after his community and run a cattle station," Mr Taylor said.

Mr Taylor, with cameraman Zephyr L’Green and sound recordist Tamara Penniket, travelled to Menngen Station in July this year, to shoot more footage for the archive.

“This is an on-going project, with lots of scope to develop it further," Mr Taylor said.

He said he would include an interactive language component into the website before making the site live.

Mr Taylor has consulted and shared the site with Wardaman people, MIMI, the Katherine Museum, the Godinymayin Yijard Rivers Cultural Centre, School of the Air, Katherine Art Gallery, NT Immersions, for feedback.

A copy of all the footage has been given to Mr Harney for the Wardaman people and it is permanently archived at Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Information Service (AIATSIS) in Canberra.

Mr Taylor said he was going to Canberra share the website with AIATSIS and the Australia Museum this week.

He said the website would compliment Julie Drew’s Wardaman woman’s business work, David Lee's current rock art work and Hugh Cairns’ Wardaman customary law book, to be released soon.