Photographs of Milingimbi’s maritime heritage, taken by local Indigenous schoolchildren, will be sent to a national competition.
A shell midden at the island community - about 400 kilometres from Darwin - was used to illustrate archaeological techniques to the children during a visit this week by maritime archaeologist David Steinberg.
The Northern Territory Department of Lands, Planning and the Environment heritage officer said photography was used as a practical and self-expressive way of exploring and learning about local history.
“The children were encouraged to photograph the midden artistically, but also use methods of scientific and archaeological photography,” he said. “We discussed the kinds of questions archaeologists ask about this kind of site.
“It was a terrific opportunity to encourage the children to explore their heritage, and develop their skills in photography, measuring and applied maths.”
Mr Steinberg will submit the children’s photographs to the 2012 Australasian Institute for Maritime Archaeology competition, due to finish in December this year. The competition invites photographs of cultural heritage items above or below Australian and New Zealand waters.
Mr Steinberg also documented a shipwreck, which may be that off the small coastal cutter Maroubra. The Maroubra was requisitioned as a supply ship by the Royal Australian Navy in 1942, and sunk by Japanese aircraft at Milingimbi in 1943. The remains of a vessel are visible on a sandbank near the community.
Wood specimens from the ship will be sent for analysis. If the wreck is the Maroubra it may be recommended for protection under heritage legislation.
There are more than 250 references to shipwreck sites in Northern Territory waters.