Her joyful childhood memories of growing up on a camp on the edge of town were at times clouded by those fearful moments of hiding from the police who were known to take Aboriginal children from their families. These tales, both good and bad, are critical moments of time in Australia’s Aboriginal history since the arrival of the Europeans and Angelia felt the need to preserve not only her memories, but those of the Aboriginal people of Surat and in other towns in South-West Queensland.
Her plan developed into the idea of a tourist driving trail, where visitors could learn about Aboriginal history and culture through stories told by Aboriginal people. A drive trail would also create employment opportunities for Aboriginal people, and help the struggling economies of the towns.
The Surat Aboriginal Corporation commissioned the expertise of UniSQ’s heritage, anthropology and psychology researchers, to support the development of the South-West Indigenous Cultural Trail.
The Trail would be a way to reinstate an Aboriginal past that remains all but invisible in many places.
It would also serve to educate visitors and the generations of tomorrow, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous.
Understanding that each community has its own rich story to tell, the Trail project is a partnership between the Surat Aboriginal Corporation and UniSQ that supports Aboriginal people in St George, Surat, Roma, Mitchell, Charleville and Cunnamulla to tell the true history of those places.
Through a process of mutual discovery, the team enables Elders, youth and other community members to re-connect with their heritage and to share it with visitors and the wider community. There are clear potential benefits for the well-being of Aboriginal people and their communities.