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Memento : Issue 27
the original High Court file which is now part of our collection. Dhakiyarr Wirrpanda's own voice cannot be heard in the archival record. But in the dozens of files recently digitised for the website, we can see the tremendous influence his case has had on the law and on the Aboriginal rights movement over the past 70 years. It was his people, the Yolgnu of Yirrkala, whose campaigns for recognition of their rights to traditional lands resulted in the 1963 Yirrkala bark petitions, the first traditional documents recognised by the Australian Parliament. To discover more about Dhakiyarr Wirrpanda's story, visit the website at uncommonlives.naa.gov.au. The full site will be released in early November. (left) Dhakiyarr Wirrpanda. Photograph EH Wilson Collection. Courtesy Audiovisual Archives, AIATSIS. (centre) The unveiling of the larrakitj (coffin poles) which now form a permanent memorial to Dhakiyarr Wirrpanda in the Northern Territory Supreme Court building in Darwin, 28 June 2003. Courtesy Law Society of the Northern Territory. (right) Members of the Wirrpanda and McColl families looking at the gift album, Dhuruputjpi, Arnhem Land, 28 June 2004. Ceremony For nearly 70 years, the mystery of Dhakiyarr Wirrpanda's disappearance meant that a Wukidi or funeral ceremony could not be held for him. This remained troubling and unfinished for his family. The small amount of evidence available points to his death in Darwin. In June 2003 his family, together with other Yolgnu, held a Wukidi ceremony there. It was a historic and moving ceremony of reconciliation between the Wirrpanda and McColl families, the High Court and the Northern Territory Supreme Court and Government. The Wirrpanda family presented the Supreme Court with nine magnificent larrakitj or coffin poles, which will remain in the court building as a permanent memorial to Dhakiyarr Wirrpanda. In return, exactly one year later the Supreme Court presented the Wirrpanda family with a handcrafted archival album produced by the National Archives at the Supreme Court's request. The album contains copies of documents taken from files held in our collection and tracks Dhakiyarr Wirrpanda's story from the time he left Arnhem Land until his disappearance in 1934. It also includes material on the 2003 Wukidi ceremony. The album covers and box were made by hand by our specialist conservators. The presentation, attended by our Director-General Ross Gibbs and the Director of our Darwin office, Phyllis Williams, took place as part of a ceremony in Dhakiyarr Wirrpanda's homeland in east Arnhem Land on the anniversary of the Wukidi ceremony on 28 June 2004. Spring--Summer 2004 MEMENTO 11