Sarah Yu

Adjunct Researcher, Nulungu Research Institute

Phone: 08 9192 0670

  • Biography

    Sarah Yu has lived and worked in the Broome region of north Western Australia for over 40 years, working as an anthropologist, teacher, curator and heritage consultant focusing on relationships between people and their historical and cultural connections to country. Since 1995, Sarah has worked with groups in the west Kimberley region to record their cultural values and ethno-biological data. She has worked on two native title claims and as a consultant anthropologist, wrote one of the first studies of the cultural value of underground water. In 2011, Sarah produced the award-winning Yawuru Cultural Management Plan to underpin joint management plans for the proposed Yawuru Conservation Estate. In 2007, Sarah curated the Opening the Common Gate exhibition about the racial restrictions endured by Broome’s Aboriginal and Asian communities in the 1960s.

    Sarah is currently employed by Nyamba Buru Yawuru, an organisation for the Yawuru Native Title Holders of the Broome region. She has curated Yawuru’s Jetty to Jetty walking trail along the foreshore of Roebuck Bay, and Lustre: Pearling and Australia, a traveling exhibition produced in partnership with the Western Australian museum. She is now working on several cultural mapping and interpretation projects including Mangara, Yawuru’s storylines archive, and is working towards the development of a cultural centre for Broome whilst mentoring emerging Yawuru curators.

    2008 Masters Degree, Cultural Heritage Studies, Curtin University of Technology
    1983 Graduate Diploma in Education, WACAE (now Edith Cowan University)
    1979 Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Anthropology, Australian National University

  • Teaching areas

    • Aboriginal studies
    • Museology and heritage studies
    • Anthropology
    • Teaching
  • Books

    Walking Jetty to Jetty: stories of Broome, Nyamba Buru Yawuru, Broome 2016 Yu, S & Tang Wei, C ‘The Story of the Chinese in Broome’, The Broome Chinese Community, Broome, 1999.

  • Book chapters

    Yu, S ‘Ngapa kunangkul (living water): An Indigenous view of groundwater’ in Country: Visions of land and People in Western Australia, eds. Gaynor,A, Haebich, A, & Trinca, M, University of Western Australia Press, 2000-2001

  • Journal articles and proceedings

    • Choo, C & S Yu ‘Kimberley Asian Heritage’, in In our own country: A history of contact in the Kimberley—Draft manuscript
    • Hudson, J & Yu, S ‘Kimberley Aboriginal Communities’ JAWA, Catholic Education Office, Broome, 1988
    • Skyring, F & S Yu 2008 ‘Strange Strangers: First contact between Europeans and Karajarri people on the Kimberley coast of WA’, Strangers on the Shore, NMA, Canberra
    • Yu, S ‘Broome Creole: Aboriginal and Asian partnerships along the Kimberley Coast’, Proceedings of Asians in Australian History workshop, October, 1999, Queensland Review, Griffith University, St Lucia, Queensland
    • Yu, S. ‘Town By The Bay’ (Study Guide), JAWA, Catholic Education Office, Broome, 1992.
    • Akerman, K, Skyring, F and S Yu 2010 ‘The Indigenous cultural heritage values associated with pearl shell and pearling for the West Kimberley coast’, Prepared for Kimberley Land Council for National Heritage Listing for the Kimberley region, Kimberley Land Council, Broome
    • Yawuru RNTBC Walyjala-jala buru jayida jarringgun buru Nyamba Yawuru ngan-ga mirli mirli Planning for the future: Yawuru Cultural Management Plan, prepared for the Yawuru RNTBC, August 2011
    • S Yu & Brisbout, J In Mayala country with Aubrey Tigan, Report for Indigenous Heritage Project, of the then DEWHA (now SEWPaC) on the Recording pearling heritage values in Mayala country with Aubrey Tigan, September 2011 Pyper, S ‘Interim Report to Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies - Walmajarri Women’s Project’, Broome, 1980
    • Yu, S ‘Ngunga Women’s Group Policy Manual’, 1993
    • Yu, S ‘Ngapa Kunangkul: Living Water’, University of Western Australia, Perth., 1999
    • Toussaint, S., Sullivan, P., Yu,S. & Mularty Jnr, M 'Fitzroy Valley Indigenous Cultural Values Study', Centre for Anthropological Research, University of Western Australia, February, 2001.
    • Yu, S ‘Expert’s Report: Anthropology, Karajarri Native Title Claim’, Kimberley Land Council, Broome, 2000.
    • Yu, P and S Yu ‘The Impact of Tourism on the Gibb River Road’, Kimberley Land Council, and CRC for Tropical Savannas, Broome, 2003
    • Yu, S, Pigram, B and Shioji, M 2015 ‘Lustre: reflections on pearling in north west Australia’, Griffith Review 47: Looking West, Brisbane
    • Yu, S ‘Walangkarr Jirrkaliy Healthy Country Final Report’, Kimberley Land Council, and CRC for Tropical Savannas, Broome, 2004
  • Conference papers

    • Co-Presenter ‘From Saltwater Country: Pearlshell and identity in the West Kimberley’, A Carson, M Smith, and S Yu, at Archaeology Association of Australian, On the Edge: the Archaeology of Adaptation and Transition, annual conference, Fremantle, 2015
    • Facilitator ‘Souls sounds, Working with community to find their voice to reach, inform and touch,’ masterclass presented with M Kanamori, Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Western Australia, September, 2015
    • Presenter Indian Oceans Futures Conference, Curtin University, 2014
    • Presenter Interpreting Australia National Conference, Melbourne, 2012
    • Presenter At the Frontier, Museums Australia and Interpreting Australia National Conference, Perth WA, November 2011
    • Presenter La Grange Water Plan: a Case Study, National Indigenous Water Forum, National Water Commission, Adelaide 19 – 20 February, 2009
    • Presenter Hidden histories, Oral History Association of Australia, WA Annual Conference, Broome, 2008
    • Presenter: Museums in a Changing Climate, Museums Australia, Canberra, May 2007
    • Presenter: Strangers on the Shore conference, NMA, Canberra, April 2006
    • Facilitator: Appropriate Economies Roundtable, Kimberley, October, 2005
    • Presenter: The Chinese in Australian and New Zealand History, University of NSW, Sydney. February, 2000
    • Facilitator: Our Place, Our Future, 1998, Broome WA
    • Facilitator: Water is Life, 1999, Broome, WA
    • Facilitator: How Healthy is Our Country?, 2000, Broome, WA
    • Presenter: The Chinese in Australian and New Zealand History, University of NSW, Sydney. February, 2000
  • Curated exhibitions or events

    • 2015 Lustre: Pearling & Australia, for Nyamba Buru Yawuru and the Western Australian Museum
    • 2007-09 Opening the Common Gate: Challenging boundaries in Broome. For the Lingiari Foundation, shown in Broome and Perth at the Western Australian Museum
    • 2007 Running it our way: History of the Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Service, For the Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Service
  • Professional affiliations

    • Heidelberg University- PhD candidate
    • Western Australian Museum - research associate
    • Curtin University - research associate
    • Museums Australia Member
    • Interpretation Australia Association Member
    • ICOMOS Australia Associate member
  • Community engagement

    Broome Chinese Community - member
    Taoist Tai Chi Society of Australia - member

  • Awards

    • 2012 Interpretation Australia Award for producing The Yawuru Cultural Management Plan
    • Australia Institute of Landscape Architects, National Medal, Yawuru Cultural Management Plan
    • 2009 Interpretation Australia award for curation of Opening the Common Gate Exhibition
  • Research grants

    • 2014 Cultural Audit of Broome’s Chinatown Paspaley Pearls Pty Ltd
    • 2012-15 Curation and training of emerging curators: Lustre: Pearling & Australia, Western Australian Museum
    • 2012 Recording Peter Yu’s story Indigenous Community Stories Grant
    • 2010- 14 Yawuru Indigenous Protected Area – management plan Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, People and the Arts
    • 2010-11 Recording pearling heritage values in Mayala country with Aubrey Tigan, Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, People and the Arts
    • Recording Peter Clancy’s story Indigenous Community Stories Grant
    • 2009 -11 Karajarri Indigenous Protected Area – management plan Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, People and the Arts
    • 2008-9 Digitising Yawuru Country Goolarri Media Enterprises
    • Recording Karajarri Culture Department of Cultural and Arts, WA
    • 2007 Sharing Our Heritages, International Master Class in Cultural Heritage Management, Paris. Sponsored by UNESCO, ICOMOS program through University of Western Sydney.
    • 2005-6 Opening the Common Gate project research Lotterywest
    • 2003-4 Research title ‘Surviving Colonisation: Aboriginal and Asian partnerships along the Dampierland coast’