Two priceless Indigenous artefacts will soon be on show for the whole community to enjoy, thanks to the Trangie Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC) and the Australian Museum.
Two carved ceremonial trees were removed from Rob McCutcheon’s property ‘Mullah’ in the 1960s, and were returned to Trangie last Wednesday.
They now take pride of place in the Wungunja Cultural Centre, which is set to officially open to the public on Friday, July 28.
Manager of Aboriginal and Indigenous Projects at the Australian Museum Phillip Gordon said it was the museum’s policy to return culturally significant objects on loan when possible.
“It’s frightfully important,” he said.
“It helps the community itself to strengthen its own cultural awareness and knowledge and to hopefully pass on the elders’ knowledge to younger generations to keep the knowledge alive.”
He said the two trees were in great condition, and congratulated the Trangie LALC for developing the cultural centre.
“We were pleased that they were in the condition they could come back and as you can see they’re lovely specimens,” Mr Gordon said, adding that one of the trees exhibited unique vertical carvings.
“The fact that they’re still intact, the carvings are very clear and the trees aren’t fragile.
“This is a great little exhibition and I think it’s going to be a real asset for Trangie.”
Land Council chief executive officer Terri Milgate thanked the Australian Museum, and the Office of Environment and Heritage’s John Duggan for working to have the ceremonial trees returned.
“It has been quite a speedy recovery of the trees; it generally takes quite a long time for them to come back but we have done in a matter of three months,” Ms Milgate said.
“We just hope that the community and people visiting Trangie support the cultural centre and visit.”
The Wungunka Cultural Centre will be officially opened to the public on Friday, July 28.
The project was initially discussed during 2011 when the land council purchased the Scout Hall land and buildings in the main street of Trangie.
The centre will become an attraction for tourists and visitors to the town, provide education on culture and heritage to students visiting the centre, and hold historical information, artefacts and records for the local Aboriginal community.