Heritage Knowledge Repatriation

The problem

During the past four decades all WA resource companies have invested millions of dollars in compliance-driven archaeological heritage surveys, ethnographies and research projects. Through these surveys, a huge volume of information has been built up that evidences the culture and history of Australia’s indigenous people. Most of this information, however, is locked away in the various resource companies’ information repositories, which are not connected, and there are very few avenues for Aboriginal groups to access this information.

The Keeping Place aims to establish an innovative and safe tool for collecting, protecting and appropriately sharing cultural knowledge. The software enables traditional custodians to regain data sovereignty, apply cultural protocols, manage native title, improve governance and unlock social and economic opportunities for current and future generations.

To achieve this three mining industry partners jointly with Native Title Partners have required the development of requirements upon which the Keeping Place system will be built and to establish the necessary governance structures and funding arrangements to ensure the system becomes a sustaining asset into the future.

Mercury’s contribution

Mercury Project Solutions was engaged to plan and execute the implementation of the Keeping Place using InfoScope’s software solution to ingest the data from the different repositories. Several workshops with indigenous groups were undertaken to establish the requirements by the different groups. Key challenges for the project included the classification of the data to reflect the cultural access protocols.

The subsequent development was split into a series of development sprints to be able to show iterative development progress and to ensure the indigenous stakeholders could influence the look and feel of the Keeping Place solution.