The Bruce Veitch Award for Excellence in Indigenous Engagement 2013

Daryl Wesley

Daryl has worked with Aboriginal groups in the Northern Territory for over 20 years, during which time he has undertaken a range of collaborative archaeological and cultural heritage research with Aboriginal Traditional Owners.  Throughout his Masters, PhD, and George Chaloupka Fellowship projects, Indigenous engagements have formed a central principle of Daryl’s archaeological work.

Daryl has undertaken a range of Indigenous engagement projects, including: research into Indigenous land ownership and traditional connections to country; the promotion of policies on mediation between Indigenous communities and development stakeholders for the protection of cultural heritage; the registration of sites in the Blue Mud Bay area of Eastern Arnhem Land; and the development of methods for the successful repatriation of ancestral human remains.  Daryl has always sought to align science/archaeological research interests with the values of Aboriginal communities.  His approach has always aimed to achieve significant cultural heritage conservation outcomes for Indigenous groups in order for them to gain control and agency over their estates.

Daryl’s Masters involved working closely with Daisy Majar and Tom Petherick of the Woolaning Community, to produce a Plan of Management for the conservation of their wetlands estate on the Reynolds River.  His work included: recording oral histories; documenting the range and extent of cultural heritage sites in the area; and establishing the archaeological chronology of the region.  This engagement culminated in Daisy Majar entering a painted work in the 1999 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Awards that reflected the cultural heritage fieldwork on her estate.

Daryl’s research under the George Chaloupka Fellowship has involved assisting the Manilakarr Clan in assessing the fire damaged Urrmarning (Red Lily Dreaming) rock art precinct.  Working closely with Jacob Nayinggul (dec.), Daryl developed a monitoring and curation process for rock art and other cultural heritage sites to facilitate the community’s aspirations for sustainable tourism.

Arguably Daryl’s most significant Indigenous engagement has been his involvement in negotiations with Ronald Lamilami, Namunidjbuk Estate, to bring together a wide community of specialists to engage with Traditional Owners to research the Djulirri rock art complex, which had not been documented since George Chaloupka’s initial assessment 35 years before.

Daryl continues to work with Aboriginal community groups in northern Australia and maintains leadership in best practice in Indigenous engagement.  We are delighted to confer the 2013 Bruce Veitch Award for Excellence in Indigenous Engagement on Daryl Wesley.