Check out this morning but first one more breakfast at Tata’s and it did not disappoint. We went straight to the Roebourne Cultural complex where we were immediately welcomed with sincerity from everyone but especially from two of the directors Vince James and Clinton Walker (yes that’s right from day 3).
Normally each night I have been able to write about our day fairly easily but it is hard to put into words the experience we have had today and how it has made us feel. The cultural centre is a part of an initiative of the Ngarluma and Yinjibarndi Foundation (NYFL) to create a space that will meet the needs of the local Aboriginal people and share their knowledge and culture with others. Funded by the foundation, what we saw today is the result of many years of planning and there are more stages to come. Upon completion there will not only be the amphitheatre, and conference area but also a Museum, Cafe, Retail outlet to share locally produced Aboriginal products, traditional meeting spaces for Aboriginal men and women, an Elders Teaching and Workshop space and a walk trail.
The privilege for us came from talking to Vince and Clinton about their cultural experiences, knowledge and why the cultural centre is important to them. We were drawn in to their passion and within such a short time I felt my knowledge and respect of the Aboriginal culture had deepened and moved past the tokenistic acknowledgement I have experienced in the past. With such a rich culture that has been passed down through the elders it’s important that this is captured so it can be continued to be passed on for years to come. To Vince it was just as important that this was not only passed down from generation to generation within the Aboriginal communities but also to everyone as we can all play a part in sharing their cultural heritage. It’s about a mutual respect and understanding. Again it’s hard to capture our morning in words and when we come back to the Pilbara we will commit to spending days with these men on their tours to really get the whole experience. We were lucky to scratch the surface but if you get the chance I highly recommend spending as much time with Vince and Clinton as possible.
Soon the cultural centre will reflect many different Aboriginal family groups and tribes and everyone will be able to immerse themselves in the history and be able to get to know someone just like Vince and Clinton. Graeme and I enjoyed looking at the different artefacts, hearing about their uses and learning how they could recognise which tribe the items came from just by looking at the markings and wood. What we didn’t expect was to be presented with our very own authentic hand- made boomerang from Vince and a woman’s digging (and fighting) stick from Clinton. Thank you for your gestures of kindness it means a lot to us. The positivity in this project and the history behind it is wonderful and we will be back to view its success in years to come.
The drive to Port Hedland was a beautiful one and included a quick stop at the famous old pub at Whim Creek which NYFL are rescuing and before we knew it we were there.
Our home for the next two nights is The Esplanade Hotel, Port Hedland, which was first constructed in the very early 1900’s and has since been extended on. The room is comfortable and dinner at their onsite restaurant ‘1904’ was another nice meal. The stand out for me though was definitely dessert, the chocolate fondant with vanilla ice cream and a berry duo. Perfect. Great atmosphere in the Empire Bar for some after dinner drinks and a few laughs.