Professor Isabel McBryde and Rob Paton, both from the ANU School of History, were invited as special guests of the Wurrunjeri people to attend the handback ceremony for the Mount William Stone Axe Quarry in Central Victoria.
Considered one of Australia’s most significant indigenous archaeological sites, the extensive stone axe quarry was the centre of an impressive indigenous trade and exchange network that covered large parts of south east Australia. The 2.5ha site was well-known to Europeans in the mid-1800s and by the early 1900s people from all walks of life were visiting Mount William to see the remains of the intensive Aboriginal quarrying and extensive flaking floors.
Isabel and Rob co-authored the successful nomination to have this highly significant site placed on the National Register of Important Cultural Places. It is the only site of its type on the register.
The handback ceremony, which took place earlier this week at the quarry, was attended by the Federal Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, Jenny Macklin. During the official proceedings, McBryde spoke passionately about the importance of co-operative research between historians, archaeologists and Aboriginal people.
Parts of the ceremony were covered by ABC News.
Image: Professor Isabel McBryde addresses guests at the Mount William Quarry handover ceremony