I am continually amazed by the myriad stories contained at Lutheran Archives and the myriad ways those stories or records have impacted lives.
In June a box of records was deposited at Lutheran Archives by former Finke River Mission (FRM) staff Pastor Paul Albrecht, Garry Stoll, Roger Fargher and Marion and Mark Schubert. The records were from FRM for the years 1972 to 1982. They are documents that surround the pivotal event of the 1982 handover of the title to the former Hermannsburg Mission lease to five Aboriginal clans as five individual land titles.
This has been the only instance in Australia of land titles being granted to representatives based upon their traditional custodianship – as opposed to one title being granted across land that might have multiple traditional custodians. Aboriginal leaders made 18 individual submissions to Parliament that were instrumental in the success of this event.
The records document the process undertaken by FRM staff to achieve this landmark event, including the changes in LCA policy and the Aboriginal Land Rights Act at Federal Government level.
Seven years ago, a group of former FRM staff began to collect the records and Marion, a former part-time worker at Hermannsburg from 1978 to 1985 while Mark was a teacher and principal there, began retyping individual documents as many were beginning to fade. She later contacted me at the Archives to determine how we could work together to preserve them. This resulted in the records being digitised at the Archives and collated, listed and described by Garry, Roger, Marion and Mark. The records are now at Lutheran Archives available for research.
It is my desire that Archives’ records continue to impact lives, inform us, provide hope, healing or understanding, and even influence or shape decision-making – both within the LCA and, potentially, at government level.
Rachel Kuchel is Director of Lutheran Archives.
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