'Wiki club' revives forgotten Northern Territory history

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Posted

July 08, 2017 15:48:38

A Darwin-based club has added about 100 new pages to Wikipedia to rectify what it says is a massive shortfall in articles showcasing the rich history of the Northern Territory.

As the fifth most viewed website on the internet, Wikipedia receives more than 18 billion visits every month.

It was for that reason Wiki Club NT founder Caddie Brain said she wanted to see more pages written that showcased the Northern Territory.

The Northern Territory has around 1,900 pages, whereas Western Australia has about 10,000.

“We develop a list of people we want to work on then dig through the library’s resources like old newspapers,” Ms Brain said.

“Then basically we just sit there and attempt to write the start of a page.

“And of course Wikipedia has life of its own — often you come back six months later and it’s doubled in size, and that’s really rewarding.”

Remarkable characters get their own pages

At the latest Wiki club night, members assembled a page on Cissy McLeod, an Aboriginal girl who was awarded a lifesaving medal for bravery at Government House in 1913.

It is documented in official records that the girl saw her employer fall off a jetty whilst fully clothed, and dove in after her, holding her head above water until both could be rescued.

History enthusiast Don Christopherson helps the club find some of the Territory’s incredible forgotten tales of Indigenous people.

“To jump over the wharf at night time in 1913 — I doubt if I would be able do it, but she did it!” Mr Christopherson said.

Mr Christopherson said he was disappointed that among Australia’s national heroes, very few of them are Aboriginal.

“But their stories are there — all we have to do is find them,” he said.

“You don’t have to embellish them because they are fantastic stories already, and it makes you wonder why these stories haven’t taken their place not only in Northern Territory history, but Australian history.”

Land rights leader among forgotten heroes

Writer Charlie Ward has used his time at Wiki club to write about early land rights figure, Dexter Daniels.

“Dexter became very famous travelling around the country educating people about land rights in the 1960s,” Mr Ward said.

“He’s probably best known for being involved in the Wave Hill walk off, and helping to precipitate that.”

Ms Brain said she was proud of what the club had achieved so far.

“It’s just extraordinary — you feel like you begin to know these people as you edit and find out their stories,” Ms Brain said.

“It’s a huge amount of work to run a project like this and sometimes I wax and wane in energy, but our members hassle me and say we’ve got to work on this page, or we’ve got to work on that page.

“And so just the pure passion for it has been extraordinary to see, and over time we’re making a real difference.”

Topics:

history,

historians,

community-and-society,

education,

indigenous-aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander,

library-museum-and-gallery,

darwin-0800



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