Awaba is intended to provide a critical
and electronic gateway to the corpus of historical material relating
to the Indigenous peoples of the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie
region. It has been made possible by the generosity and interest
of contemporary Awabakal people, created by historians, archivists,
Indigenous scholars and community representatives as a resource
for investigations of the culture, history and language of the
Awabakal people. This site has potential interest to a wide variety
of people including the Awabakal and the broader Indigenous community,
scholars of Aboriginal and mission history, local historians,
genealogists, researchers, schools and local community organisations.We
hope that it will continue to expand over the coming years and
we invite contributions from the community for this purpose.
Awaba is the second instalment of Assoc.
Prof. Hilary M. Carey's Aboriginal Missions
and Reserves Historical Database (AMHRD).
This instalment is funded by a Research Infrastructure Block Grant
for 2002, and is the product of collaboration between Indigenous
and non-Indigenous researchers from the Wollotuka
School of Aboriginal Studies and the School
of Liberal Arts. The University has worked in partnership
with representatives of the Awabakal Aboriginal community who
have agreed to share aspects of their intellectual and cultural
property with the broader community through this site.
In keeping with the theme of the AMHRD,
this project draws heavily on the published and unpublished papers
of the Lake Macquarie missionary, Lancelot Edward Threlkeld. The
contributions to Awaba include one of the earliest translations
from the Bible into an Australian Aboriginal language, produced
by Threlkeld and his Awabakal mentor, Birabahn,
in 1837, published here for the first time. However the Awaba
project has cast a wider net, presenting a range of historical
materials, primary and secondary, from early colonial records
to recent ethnographic and archaeological studies.
The quantity and quality of information from the early colonial
period is especially rich, and is supplemented by work around
the turn of the century by the work of pioneer anthropologists
such as William Walford Thorpe and Walter
John Enright. By virtue of the fact that Awabakal people survived
in the area into the twentieth century, a great deal of information
was passed in more recent times to men and women such as John
Taaffe, Canon Carlos Stretch, Percy
Haslam, Boris Sokoloff and Rita Smith.
The bulk of the material used, listed and reproduced
for the Awaba project, relates specifically to the Aboriginal
peoples of the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie region. However, it
is supplemented, were appropriate, by primary and secondary materials
relating to Aboriginal peoples from the upper Hunter, Port Stephens,
Great Lakes and Central Coast regions. Some of this material has
been digitised by the University's Archives, Rare Books and Special
Collections Unit (ARBSC)
as part of its Virtual
Sourcebook: Aboriginal Studies in the Hunter Region, while
some formerly unpublished materials have been transcribed for
this project. The sources are listed in the Bibliography,
with links to digitised materials (.pdf and .html files).