Harley CoyneHarley Coyne
Senior Heritage Officer

I am part of the Menang clan group from Albany and my family have lived here for generations. I have many interests but enjoy working with Aboriginal communities on Aboriginal Heritage projects and within the arts.

I have a BA in Primary Education and have worked in schools for many years as a Coordinator of Aboriginal Education for the Department of Education. I implemented the Department’s Aboriginal Studies Curriculum and Cultural Awareness programs over a three- year period with great success. I enjoyed that role as it gave me with the opportunity to influence schools in a positive way in the provision of quality education for our community.

In my current role as a Senior Heritage Officer with the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage, I am active in protecting Aboriginal heritage sites across the South West region of WA. My work also involves the repatriation of Aboriginal Ancestral remains across the state in partnership with the WA Museum. I have been involved in repatriation and reburial of 50+ sets of remains across the southwest and other regions over the past 9 years. This is one of the most satisfying parts of my job as a heritage officer.

In 2015, I was part of group of Aboriginal elders from 27 communities across Australia to advise and make recommendations for a joint National Museum of Australia (NMA) and British Museum (BM) exhibition of Aboriginal objects in Canberra. The ‘Encounters Exhibition’ was a collection of 150+ objects from the BM’s Australian Indigenous collection and it presented a very broad cultural exhibition to the 98 thousand people who visited it in 2016. My role was to provide advice on a range of cultural perspectives and established new ways of working with Aboriginal communities.

My involvement on the Yurlmun Mokare Mia Boodja exhibition in 2016 coordinated by the Albany Heritage Reference Group Aboriginal Corp, the WA Museum’s Great Southern Museum and the BM highlighted 15 objects and artefacts collected from the Albany region in the 1820’s by Dr Alexander Collie and others. The collection came out from the BM’s and displayed in Albany for Five months. It was a huge success with over 23 thousand people visiting the exhibition. My role was again to provide advice and to engage the community in presenting our perspectives on every aspect of the exhibition including the curation of it.

I am a member of the WA Museums Aboriginal Advisory Committee that provides advice to the museum on matters related to Aboriginal heritage and culture with a particular involvement in the curation of Aboriginal content in State’s new museum, which will be opened in 2020.

I have six children and from that 18 grandchildren. My youngest son is 15yrs old and he attends the Albany Senior High School here in Albany.

I still play cricket on weekends with my mates and enjoy fishing and the outdoors. The work I do in the community is my passion.