A crowd of nearly 50 people witnessed the start of National Reconciliation Week in Yass with Aboriginal elders Eric Bell, Ruth Bell and Agnes Shae, alongside Mayor Rowena Abbey, unveiling the new Aboriginal interpretive at Oak Hill Aboriginal Place on Saturday 24 May.
The signage and structure, designed by Fisher Design + Architecture, includes photographs of artefacts found at the site, plans and descriptions of the site huts that were used as dwellings at the time, a timeline of major events, and descriptions of the three Aboriginal scarred trees that once grew close to the area.
Yass Valley Council Mayor Rowena Abbey said the Yass Valley Aboriginal Advisory Committee had been working hard on the project and wanted the signs to respectfully acknowledge the past, generate a sense of pride for the history of the location, and also be an education tool for visitors.
“The unveiling of Oak Hill’s signage is a significant event for our area as it is a tangible display where all residents and visitors can come and take the time to reflect and acknowledge the past and also learn about what real life was like for the Aboriginal people here at that time. The project has involved extensive community participation and the signage framework features the actual building material used to construct the homes at Oak Hill,” Mayor Abbey said.
The project was funded by Yass Valley Council and the Commonwealth Government. The Yass Valley Aboriginal Advisory Committee are now working towards developing a Management Plan for Oak Hill Aboriginal Place, identifying how to preserve and enhance the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage of Oak Hill Aboriginal Place.
Yass Valley Council- media release | 26/05/2014