Case Studies

Donny Woolagoodja

Worora man Donny Woolagoodja is a renowned artist whose giant Wandjina artwork featured at the opening ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. He is chairman of the Mowanjum Artists Centre and conducts cultural bush tucker walking  and camping tours in the west Kimberley, home of the coastal Wandjina spirits.

He asked Artists in the Black to help him prepare a document which would protect him from being held responsible if participants on his tours were injured and which would also enable him to restrict participants from photographing and publishing images of culturally sensitive sites.

Lawyers Guy Narburgh and Adam Shand at Freehills prepared a simple Tour Disclaimer form for Mr Woolagoodja which is signed by each tour participant. In the Tour Disclaimer, participants acknowledge the inherent dangers of travelling in the Australian bush and release him from any liability for injury to the broadest extent possible under Australian law. The participants also agree to follow his instructions concerning the filming or photography of sacred sites. The document is signed before the tour commences and is designed to form part of the contract between the guide and the tourists on the tour.

Given that Australian law doesn't directly protect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and traditional knowledge, this is a vital resource for Donny Woolagoodja in making sure that tourists understand and respect the information and places he is showing them.

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