We work collaboratively with Aboriginal people to research and interpret Aboriginal history and heritage around Sydney and beyond.
For nearly 20 years collaborations with Aboriginal people and communities have been a key part of our approach to research. Between 2002 and 2005 Paul Irish worked with Aboriginal researcher Suzanne Ingram in consultation with Aboriginal community members to research and deliver the Aboriginal History & Connections Program at Sydney Olympic Park. The Program documented the varied connections of Aboriginal people to the Homebush Bay area from the earliest times to the present day, as the basis for public programs at the site. A program newsletter kept Aboriginal community members up to date with the archaeological and historical findings of the program, as well as meetings and events.
Since 2006 Paul has worked closely with members of the La Perouse Aboriginal community to transfer research skills and build the capacity to enable community members to accurately tell the history of Aboriginal people in coastal Sydney throughout the nineteenth century. This has resulted in several joint publications, and the 2015 NSW History Fellowship exhibition This Is Where They Travelled: The Aboriginal People of Coastal Sydney. The travelling exhibition profiles the lives of 10 remarkable Aboriginal people who lived between the 1790s and 1940s around coastal Sydney. Currently Paul works as a senior researcher with the La Perouse-based Gadhungal Research Program. Recent projects include content for the National Museum of Australia's Endeavour Voyage exhibition and content for the Sydney Airport SydStories centenary website which looks at the connections of Aboriginal people to Kamay (Botany Bay).
We are also proud to be part of Finding Your Ancestors: Researching Aboriginal Family History in NSW - a project launched in August 2020 to help Aboriginal people get started with family history research. It is a collaboration between historians Paul Irish of Coast and Michael Bennett, Aboriginal librarians and community researchers, and the Royal Australian Historical Society.