top of page

Historical Encounters
of the Third (3D) Kind 


Project Zone collaborated with Bathurst Wiradjuri and Community Elders Group to successfully apply for funding under the Create NSW Creative Koori program to deliver five weeks of videoconferences to twelve small schools around Bathurst NSW, covering a diverse range of topics regarding Wiradjuri culture, lifestyle and beliefs, land use, totmen animals, trading systems, First Contact history and more. 


These sessions were delivered by Wiradjuri Elders Uncle Brian Grant (Mallyan), Aunty Leanna Carr-Smith (Wirribee) and Yanhadarrambal (Jade) Flynn, and involved a free and friendly exchange of cultural information alongside many questions from curious Stage 2-3 students. The sessions were extremely popular, oversubscribed, and described as exactly the sort of direct connection required between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities to increase awareness, build trust, understanding and rapport, and hopefully begin to close the gap.


The content covered in these videoconferences was then repurposed by students and teachers into a scene from their local area – some covered traditional hunting and fishing, some featured birthing sites and significant landmarks. Students will next learn how to create a ‘soundscape’ for their dioramas. The Bathurst Mitchell Conservatorium of Music staff will guide students through the process of recording sounds and teach them basic mixing skills. Students will also be able to familiarise themselves with the use of sound recording equipment. The soundscapes will feature Wiradjuri language, and environmental sounds. 


Elders who delivered this program were involved in the creation of video artwork and dioramas for Hyde Park Barracks 2019 Convicts exhibition. 


Funded by:

Create NSW Creative Koori (NSW Government)


Partnered with:

NSW Department of Education

Sydney Living Museums/Hyde Park Barracks

Mitchell Library Learning Centre, Sydney.

Bathurst Wiradjuri and Community Elders Group

Mitchell Conservatorium of Music Bathurst

Project Details

• Students from 12 schools met key stakeholders via videoconference to give overview of aims and outcomes of project.

• Project Zone (PZ) conducted on-site workshops to help students contextualise their local history and identify which scenes
   to depict in 
their dioramas.

• PZ assisted students to conduct preliminary research.

• Wiradyuri Elders worked with individual schools (via videoconference) providing cultural and historical background
   information relating to the 
historical incidents or subjects depicted in their dioramas.

• PZ linked each individual school (via VC) with Mitchell Library, providing students access to an extensive digital
   archive of research material.

• PZ visited schools (via VC) to script and frame up information and create a rough draft outline of how their individual
   dioramas would look and sound 
once completed.

• Wiradyuri Elders linked with schools, examine rough drafts and scope /direction of story, input, suggest changes.

• PZ to visit schools to assist with finalisation of dioramas. Professional photographer (Lovecchio) to demonstrate photographic
   technique for 
capturing narrative. Audio accompaniment recorded.

• Students photograph dioramas, upload images/audio.

• Postproduction of images loaded into virtual gallery.

• All stakeholders linked simultaneously for post-project debrief, reflections, insights and comments through DART Connections

livestream event. 


Project Objectives

Aboriginal people 

The project builds valuable connections between Wiradyuri Elders and local Central West schools. For Aboriginal Elders this project represents an opportunity to share their history, stories and culture. The Historical Encounters of the Third Kind (HETK) Diorama Project extends that knowledge sharing and truth-telling. For Aboriginal / Torres Strait Island and non-Aboriginal students in Central West NSW this project will offer a refreshing opportunity to host Wiradyuri Elders at schools both in person (covid permitting) and (virtually) via VC, learn new cultural information and stories, build pride and confidence in their unique culture, share this information with peers and other schools, reinterpret events that occurred on Country but have not been honoured or remembered, claim ownership of stories that are at risk of disappearing through collective cultural amnesia, and learn new skills for telling stories in the future that define the community and the students' lived environment. Greater understanding of how the Wiradyuri lived on Country and the impact of European colonisation will build new opportunities and bridges for reconciliation moving forward.

Parents & Community

Although this project is focussed on students and their teachers, parents and community members will also be involved and included in the process using web-based platforms such as zoom. The schools and their families will receive invitations to view the completed works on the 3D virtual gallery. Parents will be invited to join our videoconferencing sessions for an opportunity to meet the Wiradyuri Elders and share stories of their lived environment and community. Students will be encouraged to engage parents, grandparents, peers and friends in the project and share their new knowledge and understanding. Parents and friends of the school community will be reminded of the school's crucial role as the hub of a small community and be exposed to the potential of videoconferencing to overcome perceptions of geographical isolation, encouraging further interaction and spurring future projects via VC initiated by parents' ideas and interests.

Student engagement / education

Young people living in regional/remote NSW will be offered unprecedented access via videoconference to some of Australia's most significant cultural institutions and organisations - Hyde Park Barracks, Mitchell Library, Bathurst Wiradyuri Elders. They will learn new cultural information from the Elders, visit via virtual excursions the dioramas at HPB, learn research skills from archivists at Mitchell Library, and hands-on construction and STEM skills to replicate in future. The project will engage students to create dioramas depicting historical events in a multi-modal project designed for blended delivery.

Repeat consultations are possible through use of videoconferencing which is available/used by all participating schools.

Cultural awareness and understanding

Wiradyuri Elder Aunty Leanna Carr-Smith is a Wiradyuri teacher and artist specialising in Wiradyuri language and culture. Uncle Bill Allen (Dinawan Dyirribang) and Uncle Brian Grant (Mallyan) are Wiradyuri Elders and cultural arts practitioners in CSU Bathurst NSW and speak about Wiradyuri lifestyle, customs and arts practise. The Hyde Park Barracks/SLM features
all three discussing their relationship to Country 
and its history as a permanent installation. This project will expose students in regional NSW to new historical narratives and perspectives, allowing them to research and frame significant stories of first contact between Wiradyuri and Europeans, and learn new mediums for interpreting events that unfolded. They learn new
arts practise, building 
skills and capacity through workshops including Wiradyuri language. Students will carry this new level of understanding into their homes, impacting their parents, siblings and peers for the positive. A positive outcome in collaboration between the Wiradyuri Elders and the Department of Education will encourage further future interactions.

Positive social impact between Aboriginals, schools and students will occur. Any input and information that will help students
to come to a 
new and more accurate understanding of race relations in this region and their lived environment would have positive social impacts.

Cultural impact

Central West schools are situated on Wiradyuri country, yet many teachers and students are unaware of events that occurred on their lived environment when first contact occurred. For students, focussing on local histories develops a deeper understanding of colonial history, greater appreciation of the impact on Wiradyuri lifestyle and ignites an interest in history – these are epic stories told through time machine dioramas reinterpreting the arc of events that accompanied invasion of

Wiradyuri country. These are forgotten stories, involving both cowardice and valour, and will excite audiences with new historical understandings and perspectives. All are powerful stories for students to reinterpret through the prism of their own local understanding and sense of belonging, reframing them through diorama, with skills in modelmaking, narrative storytelling and critical thinking. They will discuss the information with family and peers, and it will ripple out. This could have

profound cultural impact.

Skills & technology

Project Zone: Vince Lovecchio, professional photographer and visual artist, and Paul Stafford, professional YA author and literary consultant. This project benefits their arts practise by allowing them to visit schools, showcase their artistic practise
and work, refine pedagogies for teaching 
arts practise in schools. Project Zone coordinates whole-of-community

projects for remote schools; its most recent, Canowindra NSW, won 2019 MAGNA. It links remote schools via videoconference with writers, historians and researchers including curators at Mitchell Library digital archives, to produce fun, accessible content. Student’s utilise STEM skills (3D printer/laser cutting), create dioramas, write and record scripts, photograph their work, and display in a virtual art gallery for public access. NSW students have limited opportunities

for positive, cultural interaction with Aboriginal people. This project allows direct collaborative access to Wiradyuri Elders, respected cultural and artistic educators, inspiring students with new ideas and historical perspectives in arts & cultural practises.

Aborigine Bark Painting
bottom of page