Meet our team
Dr Paul Irish - Director/Historian and Archaeologist
Paul has worked for the past 20 years with Aboriginal heritage and history. He has comprehensive experience in all aspects of Aboriginal cultural heritage management, including Aboriginal community consultation, development assessment, strategic heritage planning, developing management plans for specific places, and all aspects of archaeological assessment such as survey, excavation and specialist analysis. Paul is also the author of the 2017 book Hidden In Plain View. The Aboriginal People of Coastal Sydney (winner of the 2018 NSW Premiers History Award for Community and Regional History), and has been collaboratively researching Sydney’s Aboriginal history for many years with members of the La Perouse Aboriginal community.
Fenella Atkinson - Senior Heritage Consultant
Fenella is a heritage consultant with over 20 years’ experience in Aboriginal and historical cultural heritage management, with a focus on archaeology. Most of her work has been in New South Wales, but she also has experience in Western Australia, Queensland, and Victoria. She has directed both Aboriginal and historical archaeological excavations, and she is qualified to direct excavations of historical archaeological sites according to the Heritage Division criteria. Fenella is engaged in tertiary studies in anthropology. She is currently the national coordinator of National Archaeology Week and also coordinates the Student Support Fund for the Australian Association of Consulting Archaeologists Inc.
Dan Tuck - Historical Archaeologist
Dan is an archaeologist and heritage consultant who has been working in cultural heritage management for over 20 years. He has extensive experience in all aspects of heritage management including liaison and planning; site survey and assessment; archaeological monitoring and excavation; report writing and archival recording. Dan provides historic heritage input to Coast projects and typically prepares historic heritage appraisals, historical archaeological assessments, and statements of heritage impact. Dan is also a highly experienced historical researcher, and has written contextual and place-specific Aboriginal and European shared histories for a range of assessments and strategic planning studies.
Rebecca Bryant - Archaeologist
Rebecca has worked for the past 8 years on a range of Aboriginal heritage projects, including excavations and assessments. She has a specialist interest in Aboriginal stone artefacts, and is currently undertaking a research project investigating edge-ground tools together with the Australian Museum and the University of Sydney.
Bonnie Clark - Archaeologist
Bonnie has worked on numerous historical and Aboriginal sites in NSW since 2016, with prior practical experience dating back a decade. She has a background in both archaeology and biological anthropology, and has participated in international research projects in Israel, Egypt, Cambodia, and Ethiopia. Bonnie has also assisted in recovering the remains of WW2 soldiers in Papua New Guinea. She is currently completing a PhD at the Australian National University, using a bioarchaeological approach to investigate immigration and integration in Ancient Egypt.
Nathan Spooner - GIS Analyst
Nathan is a GIS Analyst and Archaeologist with more than 10 years working in Cultural Heritage management with 5 years experience in analysis of spatial data. Nathan specialises in providing GIS services, such as cartography, GIS training and spatial analysis, to the rest of the team at Coast. Having both a Master of Archaeology and a Master of GIS, Nathan has a keen interest in using GIS to help understand past land use by Aboriginal people.
Where other specialist skills may be required, we draw on the skills of a range of expert associates.
Michael Bennett - Senior Historian
Michael has worked for the past 20 years in Aboriginal history, preparing expert reports for NSW native title claims, recording community genealogies and writing regional histories for local councils and government authorities. More recently, he has recorded oral histories for the State Library of NSW and National Library of Australia. He is the author of Pathfinders, A History of Aboriginal Trackers in NSW, published in 2020. A website of the same name went live in 2016, the result of a collaborative project with NSW Police and the descendants of trackers. Michael has also worked in communications for the NSW Aboriginal Land Council.