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Aboriginal History WA researchers and State Library team up for family history tour

Giovanni Torre -

Team members from Aboriginal History Western Australia and the State Library of Western Australia's Storylines will be hitting the road this March to jointly hold free family history sessions in the Great Southern and Wheatbelt.

Usually located in Perth, the teams will be visiting Narrogin, Katanning, Kojonup, Gnowangerup and Albany between Tuesday 19 and Thursday 21 March.

The sessions will be a great opportunity for people to find out about researching their Aboriginal family ancestry and learn more about AHWA's upcoming truth-telling projects.

The Aboriginal History Western Australia (AHWA) team are research experts who help Aboriginal people get access to restricted State Government records about themselves and their direct ancestors, in a culturally secure manner.

These records, which span the period from 1886 to 1972, are closed to the public due to the personal and sensitive nature of the information.

AHWA client Roma Winmar believes it is critical for Aboriginal people to learn and understand where they come from.

"With so many Aboriginal people removed from their country and their people, a lot of young people don't know where they are from. It is so important to understand where we are from and who our mob is," she said.

"The Aboriginal History team have helped me so much, and I have learned so much more about my own journey."

Storylines is an Aboriginal online archive managed and hosted by the State Library. It features more than 12,000 photos and materials that can help people find information about their family and provides a safe place to share materials about Aboriginal people from Western Australia.

More detail and information on how to register is available online.

Western Australia's Aboriginal Affairs Minister, Dr Tony Buti, said on Monday: "Knowing where you come from is just as important as knowing where you're going."

"These sessions are a fantastic way for Aboriginal people to learn more about their mob's history and how they can get help to research where they come from," he said.

"They are also a great introduction to the huge number of historical photos and records that can be searched online, as well as the exciting truth-telling projects being undertaken.

"If you live in the Great Southern or Wheatbelt join our AHWA and Storylines teams for an interesting and informative session, and a yarn."

AHWA researcher Mark Chambers, AHWA Community Education Officer Duane Kelly, and AHWA client Roma Winmar. Image: supplied.

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