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The State Library of South Australia and State Records of South Australia welcomed the first meeting of the Aboriginal Reference Group on Monday 7 March 2022.

The meeting began with a smoking ceremony and Welcome to Country from Mickey O’Brien who touched on the importance of knowledge and of enriching people’s lives and culture by sharing that knowledge.

People standing in a circle for an Aboriginal smoking ceremony.
Mickey O'Brien performing a smoking ceremony. Photo by Sia Duff, 2022.

The first meeting allowed members of the Group to meet each other and staff from the State Library and State Records. Members will now work collaboratively with the two organisations to develop responses to the International Council on Archives Tandanya-Adelaide Declaration and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Library, Information and Resource Network protocols.

Group of people meeting
Aboriginal Reference Group meets for the first time. Photo by Sia Duff, 2022.

Speaking about this meeting, State Records Director Simon Froude said,

“The first meeting of the Aboriginal Reference Group is the beginning of what I hope will be a valuable and long-term undertaking which will bring significant benefit to Aboriginal people and communities. The Group provides us the opportunity to listen and learn and ensure our services to Aboriginal people are guided by their voice.”

Geoff Strempel, Director of the State Library of South Australia agreed, saying,

“The State Library is pleased to be partners in this significant first meeting of the Aboriginal Reference Group. We are committed to reconciliation and working with Aboriginal people and communities to make sure that our collections serve their information and research needs. We see this group as another step forward to increase our engagement with Aboriginal people in a formal way to protect and preserve South Australian Aboriginal heritage.” 

The Group will provide feedback and advice on activities, services and policy relating to Aboriginal people and culture to the State Library and State Records. Members will also have the opportunity to advocate for Aboriginal people and communities, ensure State Records and the State Library’s activities reflect Aboriginal experiences and help the organisations to engage and partner with Aboriginal communities to deliver services and programs.

The Aboriginal Reference Group will meet a minimum of four times per year.

Members of the Aboriginal Reference Group are:

Ali Abdullah-Highfold

Natalie Harkin

Tim Agius Sandra Miller
Kath Apma Penangke Travis Claudia Smith
Elijah Bravington Janine Thompson
Jennifer Caruso Michael Wanganeen
Deanne Hanchant-Nichols Joanne Willmot

For more information about the Aboriginal Reference Group contact Tony Leviston, A/Manager Archive

    Find out more about the Aboriginal Reference Group