Our mission is to collect, record, catalogue, archive, preserve, re-produce, exhibit, publish and broadcast the culture and history of the Yindjibarndi people whose traditional lands encompass parts of a vast tract of the western Pilbara, including Millstream National Park and the Chichester Ranges, up into Gambylunha which is our name for the Hammersley Ranges.

The Juluwarlu Aboriginal Corporation Archive is a collection of great significance to all Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, has state significance as one of few such archives in Western Australia, and similar national and international importance.

This unique Archive which is housed in Roebourne includes information already on record, and draws on the vast cultural knowledge and experience of today’s generation of Yindjibarndi people. At Juluwarlu we preserve the intimate and special knowledge held by Yindjibarndi people by meeting, interviewing, filming, talking and listening to their Elders and their stories and making them available to the public. The collection contains audio and video tape interviews, digital and print photographs, short films and documentaries. The continued collection of such material is invaluable so that an authentic history of Yindjibarndi traditional and current lifestyle and culture is preserved and used.

The integration and inputting of documents, photographs, sound and video cultural information into the electronic archive Mirnuwarni Ganyjagayi [based on the South Australian Ara Irititja Project] is ongoing and has already seen an increase in use of the Archive by scholars, students, researchers, and local residents. An additional effect is that users then give extra information and donate or loan material for copying. The most effective and appropriate contemporary methods and media technology are used and Yindjibarndi people are trained in the special skills required. Development of partnerships with the broader community is ongoing.

Juluwarlu staff and supporters holding some of our published books and videos.
Juluwarlu staff and supporters holding some of our published books and videos.

From the material collected several books have been published (Wanggalili: Yindjibarndi and Ngarluma Plants (2003); Know the Song Know the Country (2004); Gurruragan: Yindjibarndi Fauna (2005) Ngurra Warndurala Buluyugayi – Millstream (2007); Ngurra Warndurala Bulluyugayi Wuyumarri – Gregory Gorge (2008); and several documentaries and short films produced (including Wankangarra: Family Relationships & Respect in partnership with Mawarnkarra Aboriginal Medical Service; Ngurra: 2 Rivers). The material will also be used in the development of content for local community education, for the state school system, for corporate and government institutions, tourism and cross cultural training programs.

The importance of information management has been identified by the Corporation and Juluwarlu personnel are currently undergoing training in records management and archives to ensure that the rich heritage of the Yindjibarndi people is always available to them.

Awards

The late Ned and Cherrie Cheedy with their award certificates at Juluwarlu in 2015
The late Ned and Cherrie Cheedy with their award certificates at Juluwarlu in 2015

The recording work of Juluwarlu with Yindjibarndi Elders was acknowledged in 2005 when its principal cultural workers, Ned Cheedy and his wife Cherry, were honoured with the Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre Individual Contribution to Pilbara Aboriginal Language Maintenance and Promotion award for their work with Juluwarlu in gathering and transmission of knowledge. Juluwarlu was also honoured with the Wangka Maya award for Promotion of Pilbara Aboriginal Languages Through Media for publishing three books and recording close to 100 hours of video with Elders, and for establishing Ngaarda Television.

YouthAwardIn 2006 Juluwarlu was awarded first place in the Federal Minister’s Award for Excellence for an Employer of Australian Apprentices for the North Western Australia Region. Juluwarlu was awarded this prize ahead of other contenders like Rio Tinto and Goolarri Media Enterprises, and was the only Indigenous winner at the awards presentation in Sydney. (Also notable was the fact that there were no other media-centred business in the inventory of winners from other regions around the country).

In October 2006 JAC screened 15 of their video productions at the 8th National Remote Indigenous Media Festival at Wirrimanu (Balgo) and won several awards, including Best Language & Culture Video (for Wanggangarra), Best Emerging Male Talent in Media, Tyson Mowarin, Best Promotional Video (for Kicking the Can), and Best Emerging Female Talent (Tenellia Lockyer). In 2009 Juluwarlu won the award for Best Documentary (for Juluwarlu Journey) and in 2011 was again awarded again with Best Hunting, Cooking & Bush Food Award (for Spinifex Fishing), and Best Student Video award (for Money Hole).

In 2010 Mr Woodley co-directed “BirndiWirndi” (meaning ‘Worlds Apart’) with IASKA artist in residence at Juluwarlu, Sohan Ariel Hayes, which was projected on to the facade of the old Victoria Hotel, and is currently being shown in IASKA Art Out of Place exhibitions across Australia.

A scene from the Deadly Yarns film Two Worlds
A scene from the Deadly Yarns film Two Worlds

In 2011, Michael Woodley and Lorraine Coppin produced the dramatised documentary “Two Worlds” for the ABC-TV series Deadly Yarns, which also screened in the nationally toured Message Sticks Festival. Juluwarlu’s achievements so impressed the State’s screen development and support agency, Screen West, that they sponsored Juluwarlu to conduct a workshop (dubbed Capturing Community Stories) for Indigenous people from around the state who wished to utilize media in promulgating their culture.

After the workshop Screen West’s online news bulletin noted: “The Juluwarlu Aboriginal Corporation is being acknowledged as Western Australia’s, and possibly Australia’s, leading centre for gathering Indigenous oral culture with digital image and archiving”.

In 2006 the business achievements and managerial proficiency of Juluwarlu were recognised by an award to its CEO, Michael Woodley, of a Western Australian 40Under40 Business Award. This was an annual award to 40 business people under the age of 40 in WA. Woodley was the only Indigenous recipient in 2006. One of the 40Under40 judges, business development manager for the North West Shelf, Daniel Bathe, commented: “I happened to visit Roebourne while on business in Karratha the week after the awards and I was able to see what Michael is doing—he’s certainly trying to make a difference in extremely challenging circumstances”.

In June 2011, National Museum of Australia senior curator, Dr Ian Coates, visited Juluwarlu to facilitate the repatriation of copies of photographs, artifacts and body ornaments of Yindjibarndi and other Pilbara tribes, collected in the late 1800s and early 1900s by mining entrepreneur Emile Clements. These are currently distributed in British and European museums.

In 2011, Yindjibarndi elder, 105 year old Ned Cheedy, was awarded the most prestigious national NAIDOC prize, the Lifetime Achievement Award, for his dedicated cultural recording work for Juluwarlu and the Yindjibarndi people.

Mayinbungu (Ned Cheedy) 1907-2012. Our teacher and inspiration. Sadly missed but joyfully remembered.
Mayinbungu (Ned Cheedy) 1907-2012. Our teacher and inspiration. Sadly missed but joyfully remembered.