Hesper Andrew

Social Science
Native Title
Summer 2021

Throughout my degree in History and Archaeology, I became increasingly conscious of the effect that unearthing the past has on the living descendants of those cultures. I applied to the Aurora Internship Program with the intent of finding an internship at a Registered Aboriginal Party (RAP), with whom I could get experience to gear towards a career in archaeological work which engages the community, rather than being confined to the world of academia. In this regard, Aurora found the perfect match when I was offered a six-week internship with Barengi Gadjin Land Council (BGLC).


The area in which BGLC has claim includes Dyurrite (Mt. Arapiles) where I spent most of my time on site. Quarrying pervades the landscape as evidence of extensive rock tool manufacture and trade. Additionally, numerous rock art panels in shelters can be seen within Dyurrite and the surrounding region of Geriwerd (Grampians). At the time of my internship there had been some studies done on the known sites which I was able to read prior to departure and during time off country. These prior studies recommended a full survey, and thus this project was the start of a survey of the mountain to protect cultural heritage from possible damage. This meant my responsibilities included helping detect and record notable features and assist the archaeologists with their assessment.


This work provided a unique ability to observe numerous examples of quarrying with varying levels of condition. Furthermore, I found myself able to become quite involved in the recording process which gave me practical skills. I was able to go to a variety of sites with different groups in which we work alongside. This included other land councils, external archaeologists and local council members. This gave me a greater understanding of the different aspects and players who operate within the industry, and how they collaborate. Furthermore, the networking opportunities are nonpareil, with most archaeologists I met telling me that they themselves got their start in Aboriginal cultural heritage through an Aurora internship. Another favourable aspect of working with a land council is that they are essentially a family business, which creates a friendly and nurturing environment. I found at BGLC that people were inviting, social, encouraging, helpful with questions and understanding of difficulties.


If you are an archaeologist who would like to work in the Indigenous sector, I cannot recommend Aurora enough. Even if you may not end up working for a land council, the experience of cultural awareness/sensitivity, and knowledge of the native title framework which you gain through conversations is relevant for anyone doing archaeology in Australia. Visit https://internships.aurorafoundation.com.au/ to learn more! Applications for the winter 2021 round open on the 8th of March, through to the 26th.