Uncle Johnny Matthews


We moved down here for work, they were starting to grow a lot of vineyards, and we came in dribs and drabs. I think 20 years later we are nearly all down here. There were 6 or 7 families, we all went together as one family. BBQs on weekends, we worked together, and things like that.

When the mines started to dig coal, and the National Parks come into it, I done four years in National Parks. They call them ‘Surveyors for Heritage and Culture’, you go out with a pick and shovel and dig trenches and look for artefacts under the soil.  Most knowledge was passed down from my father and grandfather.

The artefacts go to National Parks and Wildlife then it ends up in the Museum, in Sydney. They analyse everything down there, they bring it back to us, we find an area where they are not going to be disturbed again and we bury them back in the soil. We must find out that the mine is not going to dig there even if it’s in 20 years’ time, they would destroy them again. So, we are about safe keeping, respect and honesty, that they will never be removed from that area. 

It’s thousands of years old, it’s a good thing being in National Parks as an Aboriginal.

“We are about safe keeping, respect and honesty.”