Monthly Archives: August 2016
They have been stored at the British Museum for the past 180 years.
The British Museum’s Oceania collections curator Gaye Sculthorpe said the objects, which include stone axes, spears and knives, are some of the oldest ever collected in Australia.
“They have a significance which isn’t only local but of national significance,” she said.
“It’s really difficult to describe how significant it is.
“It’s a very special day here in Albany.
“I think the people who were here… saw the emotion and the happiness to have these objects here.”
The exhibition is the culmination of four years of negotiations between the Albany Heritage Reference Group Aboriginal Corporation (AHRGAC), Western Australian Museum and British Museum.
“It’s been a long time.”
However, the objects’ return has sparked debate over whether they should remain in Albany after the exhibition ends.
Ms Gillies said some Menang elders would like to see them stay on long-term or permanent loan.
“I think that there’s a process for perhaps that happening in time,” she said.
“I don’t believe that time is right now because we do need to go through those processes.”
Menang elder Avril Dene would like the items to stay.
“If we do all the right things then hopefully, if we can’t have them here, then we can maybe have them on permanent loan from the British Museum,” she said.
“It’d just be the greatest thing to bring them back to their home country.”
“We know there are 27 other Aboriginal communities around Australia who are watching and waiting to see what happens as a result of this exhibition.”
Ms Sculthorpe would not commit to the artefacts remaining in Albany.
“It’s not generally good museum practice to have permanent loans, but the British Museum is always keen to look at ways in which its collection could be used,” she said.
“It all depends on many things… so it would be pure speculation.”
Since the 10-hour series aired last year, the two middle-aged lawyers from Wisconsin have become unlikely cult figures.
Dean Strang and Jerry Buting have been compared to Atticus Finch, and have been the subject of T-shirts, tweets and even a blog dedicated to their fashion sense.
They have parlayed their notoriety into an Australia-wide tour, speaking about the Avery case and its broader implications.
The lawyers told Lateline they are “excited” about new scientific testing methods that might be able to radiocarbon date blood found at the scene of the crime.
“Probably over 100 scientists all over the world between the two of us contacted us [after the documentary] and said hey, you know there’s new tests you can do,” Mr Buting said.
Since the show aired, Avery has retained a new lawyer, Kathleen Zellner, who specialises in wrongful convictions.
In August she filed a motion at the Manitowoc Circuit Court demanding scientific testing that did not exist at the time the case was tried be conducted.
“We actually were contacted before she was retained,” Mr Buting said.
“Some of it was just, oh our ability to detect EDTA, chemical tests have been refined, but some of the more interesting ones were these scientists with things like radiocarbon dating and DNA ageing, it’s called, where you can actually look at somebody’s sample of blood maybe a month or a year ago and distinguish it from their blood right now.”
Mr Strang hopes the DNA ageing method will prove Avery is innocent.
“If it turns out that the blood in the Toyota is older than the car itself — is 10 years older than the time at which it’s found and five years older than the ca — then that’s also good at getting us to the truth,” he said.
“And it also will mean not only a new trial I think for Steven Avery, but the likelihood that he walks free, because his blood from the mid-90s, if it’s in that car, then Steven Avery was telling the truth when he said it was planted.”
‘I’ve always believed that he’s innocent’
It was 11 years ago that 25-year-old Teresa Halbach went missing in Manitowoc County on an early evening on Halloween.
The young photographer was last seen with Steven Avery when she went to his home to take pictures of a car he had for sale.
When Ms Halbach’s charred remains were found on Avery’s property, he and his nephew Brendan Dassey were arrested and charged with her murder.
Avery had only just been released from prison two years earlier after spending 18 years behind bars for a violent rape it was later proved he did not commit.
Both Avery and his nephew were found guilty of Ms Halbach’s murder, but Mr Buting said he never thought the state’s case added up.
“I’ve always believed that he’s innocent for a lot of reasons,” he said.
“They never had a motive for him to do this, he was about to come into $400,000 tax free cheque from the state that very week that she disappeared, that’s over and above the $36 million lawsuit he had that was also succeeding.”
In August this year, the worldwide spotlight on the case helped overturn Brendan Dassey’s conviction, and he is now set to be released from prison.
More than 14,000 people attended the racecourse to watch the Cup on the biggest screen in the southern hemisphere.
But when the on-course electricity transponder malfunctioned, the screen stayed blank.
Brisbane Racing Club general manager Scott Steele said the on-course generator engaged, but it could not produce enough power.
“Our generator puts out 400kVa and we needed 1400 to get the whole track up and running,” he said.
“Unfortunately we just had to wait until Energex come to fix the transponder.”
Mr Steele said he was gutted by the power outage.
“It certainly has put a dampening on what looked like being a fantastic day,” he said.
“For something like this [to happen] that is out of our control it is still a fair kick in the guts, that is for sure.
“We even had a couple of speakers hooked up to some car batteries to try and let the customers at least hear it.”
Mr Steele said bookies were forced to take bets the old fashioned way, with a pen and paper.
“It was certainly a unique Melbourne Cup,” he said.
Energex spokesman Danny Donald said the blackout was sparked by a large amount of power being drawn in a short time.
“It tripped the safety fuses that feed into the track,” he said.
“The fuses did exactly what they’re made to do.
“What we need to know now, exactly what energy intensive equipment the track did bring in on the day.”
Mr Donald said it was a disappointing day for the punters but the power was back on within 40 minutes.
Mr Steele said the Brisbane Racing Club would examine how to compensate the punters.
“We’ll make that call tomorrow, this is obviously just character-building stuff,” he said.
“At the moment everyone’s still having a cold beer, it hasn’t dampened too many people.
“Obviously we lost some of the … punters but we’ve still got plenty of people on course still having a good time.”
Handler Billy Collett made the proposal during a demonstration while 4.5-metre crocodile Elvis watched on from just metres away.
In a video uploaded to the Australian Reptile Park Facebook page, Mr Collett can be seen inviting his partner Siobhan Oxley to enter the enclosure to “have a crack at feeding the crocodile”, before dropping to his knee to make the proposal in front of a crowd of spectators.
Before inviting Ms Oxley in, Mr Collett coaxed the large crocodile out of its pond with what appears to be a piece of meat on the end of a stick.
“Three years ago, next week, I actually met the girl of my dreams; the girl I love more than anything,” Mr Collett announced to the crowd.
Mr Collett tells the crocodile to “stay there” and “behave yourself” before he turns to his partner to propose.
“Siobhan, I want to spend the rest of my life with you, will you marry me?” Mr Collett asks before the crowd bursts into applause.
After she accepts, a clearly relieved Mr Collett jokes that proposing was “worse than feeding a crocodile”.
The crocodile appeared to be unmoved by the gesture.