First Nations first meeting in Darwin

Image shows members of NSLA’s First Nations Advisory Group
Picture: L-R: Jeremy Sibbald (SLSA), Shahna Rind (SLWA), Damien Webb (SLNSW), Don Christophersen (LANT), PJ Andrews (LANT), Barbara Lemon (NSLA), Tim Kong (NLNZ).

Members of NSLA’s First Nations Advisory Group met for their inaugural meeting in Darwin in May, hosted by Library & Archives NT (LANT). Discussion sessions covered career progression for First Nations colleagues; archival and descriptive practices for First Nations collections; community-run centres in the NT; exhibitions of First Nations content; and current NSLA policies regarding First Nations peoples and collections.

The meeting ranged between the Northern Territory Library, NT Archives, and the Museum and Art Gallery of the NT (MAGNT) with guests including Nigel Brown, CEO of the Larrakia Development Corporation; Phyllis Williams, Director of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement for the National Archives of Australia; and Rebekah Raymond, First Nations Curator of Aboriginal Art and Material Culture for MAGNT.

A highlight for all was Don Christophersen’s re-telling of the story of Charlie Flannigan, the first man to be hanged in the Northern Territory and the subject of Don’s book and current exhibition at the South Australian Museum: A Little Bit of Justice – The Drawings of Charlie Flannigan. The story was recounted in the shade of a palm tree on a grassy bank overlooking a bright blue sea, just around the coastline from Fannie Bay where Charlie was gaoled in the 1893 – and it brought us all to a respectful silence.

At the close of the meeting, Tim Kong (NLNZ) was nominated inaugural convenor of the NSLA First Nations Advisory Group. Members in attendance were Don Christophersen (LANT), Damien Webb (SLNSW), Shahna Rind (SLWA), Jeremy Sibbald (SLSA) and Tim Kong (NLNZ). Unable to attend were Ruki Tobin (NLNZ) and Rebecca Bateman (NLA). Since meeting in Darwin, the group has actively contributed to NSLA work around First Nations collection description guidelines and ICIP policies.

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