Patsy Vizents, Heritage Officer, Rottnest Island
Patsy Vizents was employed as the Heritage Officer on Rottnest Island from 2007 to 2018. During this time, she was a powerful advocate for heritage and engagement on the Island, using innovative ways to promote the Island’s history.
One of Patsy’s key achievements on the Island was establishing the Oral History Program. Patsy was instrumental in encouraging people to talk about what Rottnest Island means to them, unlocking a treasure trove of stories and associated photographs and objects. To date, over 100 oral histories have been recorded. These stories, photographs and objects now form part of the Rottnest Island Collection and have been used in interpretation projects and exhibitions on the Island.
Patsy retired from her role last year but continues to participate in the heritage sector.
RPS Australia (for Fitzroy Crossing Pioneer Cemetery Relocation Project)
The discovery of a human skull near an unmarked Aboriginal burial ground sparked one of Australia’s largest repatriation efforts to save the remains of over 70 Aboriginal people in the Kimberley region that were at risk of being destroyed by erosion from the encroaching Fitzroy River.
RPS were engaged by the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage to relocate human remains from the Fitzroy Crossing Pioneer Cemetery to a newer cemetery location safe from seasonal flooding.
RPS used innovative technology and machinery to remove over 22,000 cubic metres of soil overburden prior to archaeological excavation; all without causing impact to human remains. A major achievement was the identification of 15 sets of human remains which were able to be repatriated to their communities of origin, bringing them home to country.
Intense community consultation was carried out, with RPS working alongside the Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Cultural Centre, Aboriginal ranger groups and the Shire of Derby and West Kimberley.