26 September 2023

Indigenous adviser to make Archives record

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Rose Barrowcliffe has been appointed as the inaugural First Nations Archives Advisor with the Queensland State Archives.

Ms Barrowcliffe, a proud Butchulla woman, says the Archives are not just an interest, but a way for First Nations people to have their perspectives included in the telling of history.

“The role is new and really, it’s about supporting the Queensland State Archives in assisting the Queensland Government with their pathway to Treaty,” she said.

“My role is helping the Queensland State Archives to think about representation and agency of First Nations people in that process of truth telling, and how it can be a place that supports Indigenous people to take control of their own narratives and knowing their histories.”

Ms Barrowcliffe said Archives were important but had been under-utilised.

“I’d love to see it become a place that’s as well-loved and well-used as a local library,” she said.

Ms Barrowcliffe’s appointment involved a research journey that led to her undertaking a PhD.

“I started my PhD because I heard about an archive that was about my traditional Country and I went to look at it, thinking surely it’s going to have lots of Butchulla content, and it really didn’t and that was shocking to me,” she said.

“So that sparked my interest and that’s what set me on my research path to understand how archival practice affects representation of Indigenous people.”

Ms Barrowcliffe held an exhibition as part of her doctoral research, called Reading Between the Lines.

“The exhibition invites visitors to walk on Country and hear Butchulla people’s thoughts on the K’Gari Research Archives, how they relate to Butchulla history and on archives more generally,” she said.

“It really frames it as the Butchulla history and the Butchulla stories have existed long before colonisation and colonial record and they still continue to this day,” Ms Barrowcliffe said.

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