Un­masked

Dis­pos­ses­sion is a key as­pect of the Bri­tish Mu­seum’s In­dige­nous Australia ex­hi­bi­tion, writes Rose­mary Neill

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Front Page -

In­dige­nous Australia stands tall at the Bri­tish Mu­seum

‘I can’t wait to get my hands on the jew­ellery, to touch it,’’ con­fides Hen­ri­etta Mar­rie. “I am very emo­tional about it.” A Yid­inji woman from Cairns, Mar­rie is re­fer­ring to cen­tury-old Abo­rig­i­nal body or­na­ments held by the Bri­tish Mu­seum that closely re­sem­ble those worn by her great-grand­fa­ther, a tribal leader called Yei-nie, in a fa­mous 1905 pho­to­graph. Ear­lier this month, Mar­rie clutched a copy of that pho­to­graph as she took a Lon­don cab to a down-atheel sub­urb — all black­ened bricks, bi­tu­men and grim coun­cil hous­ing tow­ers — in the city’s east. Mar­rie, a mem­ber of the Na­tional Mu­seum of Australia’s in­dige­nous ref­er­ence group, was head­ing to the Bri­tish Mu­seum’s stores.

Di­rectly across from a public hous­ing es­tate, the stores could hardly be more re­moved from the glam­our and mon­u­men­tal­ism of the mu­seum, one of the world’s most vis­ited cul­tural in­sti­tu­tions, which houses the much-fought-over El­gin Mar­bles, the Rosetta Stone and enough Egyptian mum­mies to re­pop­u­late a dy­nasty. The stores, by con­trast, are a by­word for in­sti­tu­tional steril­ity (scuffed floors, cracked walls, 1960s vene­tian blinds, end­less gun-grey fil­ing cab­i­nets). In th­ese al­most ag­gres­sively util­i­tar­ian sur­rounds, Mar­rie comes face to face with tan­gi­ble ev­i­dence of her peo­ple’s her­itage — ev­i­dence that has of­ten eluded her.

The Yid­inji wife and mother, whose sunny, friendly man­ner masks a quiet de­ter­mi­na­tion, has been an out­spo­ken her­itage ac­tivist for decades, ad­vo­cat­ing for bet­ter ac­cess to in­dige­nous fam­ily his­to­ries and arte­facts held by state, na­tional and over­seas mu­se­ums and gal­leries. Yet only in re­cent years did she re­alise the Bri­tish Mu­seum held shields and the same sort of jew­ellery with which her great-grand­fa­ther ap­peared in that 1905 im­age, an en­larged ver­sion of which can be seen on the Cairns wa­ter­front. (The pho­to­graph de­picts a slight but noble fig­ure hold­ing a heavy, painted shield and wear­ing a shell head­band, hair­band and pen­dant, as well as a large breast­plate en­graved with the words, “Ye-i-nie/King of Cairns/ 1905’’. His ini­ti­a­tion scars are vis­i­ble across his torso.)

At the stores, Ye-i-nie’s pur­ple-gloved great-grand­daugh­ter ex­am­ines frag­ile-look­ing hair or­na­ments, sourced from the Cairns area and made from disc­shaped nau­tilus shell, and smaller, more del­i­cate head­bands.

With the ab­sorbed in­ten­sity of a sci­en­tist ex­am­in­ing Petri dishes, she com­pares them with the body or­na­ments in her great-grand­fa­ther’s por­trait; to the un­trained eye, they look all but iden­ti­cal.

Also laid out on tis­sue pa­per and painted in ochres rang­ing from dull yel­low to red-brown and black are a se­ries of rain­for­est shields col­lected in the early 1900s in north Queens­land. “To walk in that room and see the shields just blew me away,’’ Mar­rie says later. She had seen them in a cat­a­logue, but see­ing and hold­ing them “was just ex­tra­or­di­nary’’. She felt an in­stant at­tach­ment to the jew­ellery. “That was re­ally emo­tional, see­ing them and hold­ing them and know­ing they’re real and they’re here. It touched me. It re­ally touched me … see­ing some­thing that be­longs to us — my in­her­i­tance, ba­si­cally.’’

This visit to the Bri­tish Mu­seum stores, to which Re­view was granted ex­clu­sive ac­cess, wasn’t merely a be­hind-the-scenes ex­cur­sion for Mar­rie and three other in­dige­nous vis­i­tors (artists Abe Muri­ata and Judy Wat­son, and NMA del­e­ga­tion mem­ber Ja­son Eades). It was a pil­grim­age to rare Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der trea­sures — most of which have not been pub­licly shown since they were col­lected — to which some of the vis­i­tors have an­ces­tral links.

Other ob­jects pro­vide ev­i­dence of some of the ear­li­est mo­ments of con­tact be­tween white set­tlers and black com­mu­ni­ties — a Tor­res Strait Is­lands turtleshell mask with eyes and pointed nose but no mouth was col­lected dur­ing the voy­age of HMS Rat­tlesnake be­tween 1846 and 1860. For cul­tures with­out writ­ten records, such ob­jects take on a height­ened sig­nif­i­cance. As the Bri­tish Mu­seum’s direc­tor Neil Mac­Gre­gor tells Re­view: “What the ob­jects do is give voice to peo­ple who didn’t leave writ­ten records … It’s the vic­tors that write the his­tory. But the peo­ple who en­dure the in­va­sion and the set­tle­ment leave the things, and those things tell their side of the story.’’

The stores visit came to­wards the end of a mo­men­tous week for the Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der lead­ers and artists who were in Lon­don in late April to at­tend the of­fi­cial open­ing of the mu­seum’s land­mark ex­hi­bi­tion In­dige­nous Australia — En­dur­ing Civil­i­sa­tion. Many of them, in­clud­ing Mar­rie, met Prince Charles, the ex­hi­bi­tion’s pa­tron, while the NMA’s five­strong in­dige­nous del­e­ga­tion also held talks with the mu­seum’s pow­er­ful trustees, partly to dis­cuss fur­ther col­lab­o­ra­tions.

A joint project with the NMA, In­dige­nous Australia is the first sub­stan­tial ex­hi­bi­tion in Europe to tell the story of the First Aus­tralians through ob­jects. In its open­ing week, it at­tracted sev­eral rave re­views and twice as many peo­ple as an­tic­i­pated. By the sec­ond week, the mu­seum had re­port­edly started to run short of cat­a­logues — a fur­ther sign of the in­tense public in­ter­est the ex­hi­bi­tion is arous­ing, de­spite be­ing the only show at the mu­seum to charge ad­mis­sion this sea­son.

Nor did it hurt that In­dige­nous Australia was launched by a wise­crack­ing fu­ture king, rat­tling off ranga and budgie-smug­gler jokes about his son Prince Harry’s re­cent trip to Australia. Gen­er­at­ing fur­ther head­lines were calls for the repa­tri­a­tion of ob­jects in the mu­seum’s 6000strong in­dige­nous Aus­tralian col­lec­tion — even the in­dige­nous ref­er­ence group the NMA sent to Lon­don is split on this is­sue.

Then came the equally dra­matic an­nounce­ment by Mac­Gre­gor that the mu­seum is con­sid­er­ing a plan to in­clude the 60,000-year-old in­dige­nous nar­ra­tive in its per­ma­nent gal­leries for the first time. In an in­ter­view with Re­view, he says the Bri­tish Mu­seum has al­ways striven to “put the world un­der one roof”, adding that “we need new his­to­ries” and “in the story of the cul­tures of the whole world, the old­est sur­viv­ing one has got to be a rather im­por­tant part”.

The direc­tor’s vast, slightly di­shev­elled of­fice over­looks the mu­seum’s en­trance where lo­cals, tourists and school­child­ren in high-vis vests surge through the front doors in a seem­ingly un­stop­pable stream. Watch­ing them, he re­flects that “what has been fas­ci­nat­ing about this ex­hi­bi­tion, first, was the huge num­bers of peo­ple. We’ve al­ready had dou­ble the num­ber of vis­i­tors we ex­pected, and they’re spend­ing longer in the ex­hi­bi­tion than we ex­pected.’’

Com­pris­ing 178 his­tor­i­cal and con­tem­po­rary works, In­dige­nous Australia is both a his­tory of colo­nial dis­pos­ses­sion and a cel­e­bra­tion of Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der sur­vival. Th­ese in­ter­sect­ing sto­ries are re­lated through ob­jects rang­ing from a painted shield that may have been looted in the af­ter­math of a puni­tive fron­tier raid, to Yu­mari (1981), the 3.7m-long epic paint­ing by Uta Uta Tjan­gala that is used on the Aus­tralian pass­port. (This paint­ing comes from the NMA’s col­lec­tion.) The ex­hi­bi­tion, Mac­Gre­gor says, is “very clear about the bru­tal and the hu­mane mo­ments … the cu­rios­ity

is very in­tense and the word of mouth has been enor­mous.’’ The direc­tor be­lieves the show is pulling in the pun­ters be­cause this “is the first op­por­tu­nity to think about Australia from the Abo­rig­i­nal side. This is the first time it’s been pos­si­ble, for a public any­where in Europe, to think about the story of Australia as told by Abo­rig­i­nal ob­jects.’’ If it goes ahead, Mac­Gre­gor’s rad­i­cal plan to rep­re­sent “the old­est of all the sur­viv­ing civil­i­sa­tions’’ in the mu­seum’s per­ma­nent gal­leries would give Australia’s in­dige­nous his­tory un­prece­dented ex­po­sure. The mu­seum at­tracts al­most seven mil­lion vis­i­tors an­nu­ally, more than the to­tal num­ber of tourists who visit Australia in a year. How­ever, Mac­Gre­gor, the man cred­ited with re­vi­tal­is­ing the mu­seum, is re­tir­ing at the end of the year, so much will de­pend on his suc­ces­sor, who has not yet been named. None- the­less, the com­mit­ments given in Lon­don so far rep­re­sent an em­phatic leap by the ven­er­a­ble but tra­di­tion-bound in­sti­tu­tion, which has been ac­cused in the past of ne­glect­ing its in­dige­nous Aus­tralian arte­facts, one of the strong­est col­lec­tions of Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der arte­facts from the early colo­nial pe­riod.

Cu­rated by in­dige­nous Tas­ma­nian Gaye Sculthorpe — the mu­seum’s Ocea­nia cu­ra­tor and its first Abo­rig­i­nal em­ployee — the In­di­gen

ous Australia ex­hi­bi­tion is part of an am­bi­tious col­lab­o­ra­tion with Can­berra’s NMA. The lat­ter will dis­play many of the arte­facts in the Lon­don show for the first time in Australia, in a closely re­lated but big­ger ex­hi­bi­tion, En­coun­ters, in Novem­ber. NMA direc­tor Mathew Trinca un­der­lines the sig­nif­i­cance of the linked ex­hi­bi­tions by point­ing out: “I think that it is go­ing to be the most im­por­tant work the mu­seum does this decade, and ar­guably since its in­cep­tion.’’

A star ex­hibit of both shows is a large wooden shield col­lected by Cap­tain James Cook’s crew at Botany Bay in 1770. Thought to have been made by the Gwea­gal peo­ple, this un­adorned shield, with a ragged spear hole near its cen­tre, is the old­est Abo­rig­i­nal arte­fact taken from the main­land.

It is a loaded sym­bol of those first, fraught mo­ments of con­tact be­tween the Bri­tish Em­pire and in­dige­nous peo­ple on Australia’s east coast: be­fore they col­lected it, Cook’s crew shot at two Abo­rig­i­nal men who tried to re­sist their land­ing at Botany Bay. De­spite the shield’s im­mense sig­nif­i­cance, it has never been ex­hib­ited here.

An­other shield in the Bri­tish Mu­seum show may like­wise have been taken at the point of a gun. Its col­lec­tor, John Ewen David­son, was an Ox­ford-ed­u­cated sugar in­dus­try pi­o­neer who took part in ex­pe­di­tions dur­ing the 1860s in which Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple were killed on the no­to­ri­ously vi­o­lent Queens­land fron­tier. David­son, who had once been sym­pa­thetic to the plight of the First Aus­tralians, wrote of shoot­ing at two large in­dige­nous groups ad­vanc­ing on his camp in 1866. “We fol­lowed them up into the scrub fir­ing at them as they went,’’ he wrote on June 24. “Some were wounded, but I saw some killed: there was plenty of blood on one or two shields which we picked up.’’

The Bri­tish Mu­seum show is not just about blood and death on a re­lent­lessly ex­pand­ing fron­tier, how­ever; it also il­lus­trates how early en­coun­ters be­tween blacks and whites in­volved trade, bar­ter­ing and gift-giv­ing. Gen­uine friend­ships were formed.

We see a page from the care­fully com­piled note­books of First Fleeter Lieu­tenant Wil­liam Dawes, who took in­for­mal lan­guage lessons from a young Abo­rig­i­nal woman, Patye­garang, in Port Jack­son in the late 1700s. Decades later, on Australia’s west coast, mil­i­tary sur­geon and pi­o­neer Alexander Col­lie and his Abo­rig­i­nal guide Mokare be­came so close, they were even­tu­ally buried side by side. An Abo­rig­i­nal knife and axe col­lected by Col­lie (pos­si­bly with Mokare’s help) that are part of the ex­hi­bi­tion can be traced back to the ear­li­est days of white set­tle­ment in West­ern Australia.

Other his­tor­i­cal ob­jects re­veal the stunning di­ver­sity of in­dige­nous art and craft, from a finely-stitched skirt of emu feath­ers (1840s), which un­der sym­pa­thetic light­ing re­sem­bles a shim­mer­ing thing of gold, to spec­tac­u­lar Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der masks — one 19th-cen­tury mask made from tur­tle shell, feath­ers and cloth is more than 2m across and de­signed to be worn on the head.

As if to re­flect the un­easy re­la­tion­ship

A STAR EX­HIBIT IS A LARGE WOODEN SHIELD COL­LECTED BY CAP­TAIN JAMES COOK’S CREW AT BOTANY BAY IN 1770

be­tween in­dige­nous peo­ples and mu­se­ums that claim ab­so­lute own­er­ship of rare arte­facts, Sculthorpe has in­cluded two bark etch­ings from ru­ral Vic­to­ria that were the sub­ject of an ac­ri­mo­nious legal case in 2004. The etch­ings are rare sur­viv­ing ex­am­ples of the cer­e­mo­nial art of south­east­ern Abo­rig­ines from the 1850s. When the Bri­tish Mu­seum lent them to Mu­seum Vic­to­ria 11 years ago, the lo­cal Dja Dja Wur­rung peo­ple took court ac­tion aimed at keep­ing them per­ma­nently in Australia.

The at­tempt failed and in 2013 fed­eral leg­is­la­tion was passed to en­sure cul­tural in­sti­tu­tions could im­port ob­jects on loan with­out fear of sim­i­lar legal ac­tion. In the ex­hi­bi­tion cat­a­logue, Sculthorpe writes that the Dja Dja Wur­rung case re­flects how gov­ern­ments, mu­se­ums and in­dige­nous peo­ple “are con­tin­u­ing to grap­ple with and work through the is­sues in­volved in en­sur­ing that con­nec­tions be­tween peo­ple and col­lec­tions are main­tained’’.

That is an un­der­state­ment. Even be­fore it was of­fi­cially opened, the Bri­tish Mu­seum ex­hi­bi­tion had ig­nited calls for in­dige­nous ob­jects to be repa­tri­ated to their orig­i­nat­ing com­mu­ni­ties. On the one hand, Mar­rie says that “you’ve re­ally got to congratulate the Bri­tish Mu­seum for putting on such an ex­hi­bi­tion. I think it’s very brave and I’m proud to be here.’’ On the other, she re­mains adamant that arte­facts should be re­turned if the com­mu­ni­ties to which they are linked want them back. “Yes, I be­lieve in it [repa­tri­a­tion] to­tally,’’ she says.

An­other mem­ber of the NMA del­e­ga­tion, Rus­sell Tay­lor, de­clares: “The ob­jec­tive we are striv­ing for is, ul­ti­mately, repa­tri­a­tion.’’ In par­tic­u­lar, he be­lieves the Botany Bay shield should come home. His fa­ther was raised in La Per­ouse, near Botany Bay, and his grand­mother spent time there. “so that shield has par­tic­u­lar sig­nif­i­cance to that re­gion. That’s the emo­tional part of the ex­hi­bi­tion for me,’’ he says.

Like Mar­rie, he be­lieves col­lab­o­ra­tion is likely to bring about more change than shout­ing from the side­lines. “If all we’re ever go­ing to do is crit­i­cise in­sti­tu­tions like the Bri­tish Mu­seum, it’s un­likely that they’re go­ing to change how they do busi­ness. But by en­gag­ing through col­lab­o­ra­tive ex­hi­bi­tions like this one, that en­gage­ment is likely to bring about the change that all of us Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der peo­ple re­quire.’’

The del­e­ga­tion’s leader, Peter Yu, “deeply re­spects’’ the pro-repa­tri­a­tion view but says he is a re­al­ist. He rea­sons that if the Bri­tish Mu­seum has not re­turned the El­gin mar­bles to Greece de­spite years of ag­i­ta­tion from that coun­try, it is un­likely to hand back arte­facts to Australia.

In a well-at­tended lec­ture at the mu­seum, Yu called for a more so­phis­ti­cated and ma­ture de­bate about repa­tri­a­tion: “We must move be­yond the rhetoric of de­mand­ing ur­gent repa­tri­a­tion as a mat­ter of ad­dress­ing his­toric injustice and de­velop a con­sen­sus in­cor­po­rat­ing our mu­se­ums, in­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties and our gov­ern­ments …

“A ma­ture dis­cus­sion would ap­pre­ci­ate that repa­tri­a­tion is sen­si­tive, com­plex and prob­lem­atic. Af­ter a his­tory of at­tempted cul­tural erad­i­ca­tion, con­tem­po­rary in­dige­nous own­er­ship of the ma­te­rial can of­ten not be clear, and in all hon­esty we should not shy away from this.’’

Yu has been heav­ily in­volved in the NMA’s con­sul­ta­tions with 27 Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der com­mu­ni­ties that have con­nec­tions to the Bri­tish Mu­seum’s arte­facts, and found there was a dis­tinct range of views about repa­tri­a­tion — some in­dige­nous peo­ple thought the ob­jects should be re­turned, oth­ers sim­ply wanted recog­ni­tion and thanks for al­low­ing the Lon­don mu­seum to hold their an­ces­tors’ things.

A shy woman with red hair and pur­ple­framed specs, Sculthorpe also calls for a more com­plex de­bate on own­er­ship of ob­jects. “Peo­ple of­ten talk about repa­tri­a­tion in very gen­eral terms,’’ she says. “I think that there’s a lack of ap­pre­ci­a­tion that the Bri­tish Mu­seum’s col­lec­tion is a living and grow­ing col­lec­tion. We con­tinue to ac­quire ma­te­rial from con­tem­po­rary (in­dige­nous) artists, through com­mu­nity art cen­tres. “If there are calls for blan­ket re­turn of ma­te­ri­als, it doesn’t do jus­tice to the com­plex­ity of that is­sue.’’ Laid out across two rooms, the In­dige­nous Aus

tralia ex­hi­bi­tion is rel­a­tively small (the En­coun­ters show, which will en­gage dif­fer­ent cu­ra­tors, will be twice as big.) Would Sculthorpe have liked a big­ger Lon­don show? “A big­ger ex­hi­bi­tion would have needed about a year’s more work,’’ she says, smil­ing broadly. “It’s a very high-pro­file space that we have and you have to think very care­fully about what you choose. And that’s a dis­ci­pline … But some­times less is more.’’

It was a self-ef­fac­ing NMA cu­ra­tor, Ian Coates, who in 2007, while vis­it­ing the Bri­tish Mu­seum in an ex­change pro­gram, re­alised its in­dige­nous Aus­tralian col­lec­tion had enor­mous un­tapped po­ten­tial. He came up with the idea for the joint project. Coates also had a “eureka mo­ment’’ when he dis­cov­ered that sev­eral paint­ings in the Bri­tish Mu­seum’s col­lec­tion at­trib­uted to a “Mr Roberts” were the work of Tom Roberts, one of Australia’s finest artists. Four of th­ese “lost’’ works will fea­ture in the En

coun­ters ex­hi­bi­tion. Re­view views one of th­ese works, a wa­ter­colour ti­tled On Mur­ray Is­land (1892), in a Bri­tish Mu­seum li­brary. Suf­fused with fire­light, smoke and viril­ity, it de­picts male is­lan­ders danc­ing fu­ri­ously around a camp fire while wear­ing fierce-look­ing crocodile masks — masks sim­i­lar to those in­cluded in the ex­hi­bi­tion.

In­dige­nous Australia’s vig­or­ous ticket sales and largely ad­mir­ing re­views con­trast sharply with the luke­warm to wither­ing re­cep­tion doled out to an­tipodean cul­ture’s last ma­jor out­ing at a Lon­don mu­seum — 2013’s 200-year sur­vey of Aus­tralian art at the Royal Academy. One critic de­scribed a John Olsen work, in­stalled over­head for that show, as evok­ing “the sen­sa­tion of stand­ing un­der a cas­cade of di­ar­rhoea”.

There have been no such cheap shots in the ex­ten­sive cov­er­age the In­dige­nous Australia ex­hi­bi­tion has at­tracted. The Guardian gave it a five-star re­view, The Times called it “riv­et­ing’’ and the Evening Stan­dard said it was a “deeply en­gag­ing’’ show that did not shy away from the dev­as­tat­ing im­pact of coloni­sa­tion. On the other hand, Lon­don’s Daily Tele­graph felt the ex­hi­bi­tion fo­cused too much on dis­pos­ses­sion, and, writ­ing in The In­de­pen­dent, Zoe Pil­ger, daugh­ter of left-wing jour­nal­ist John Pil­ger, said that to even look “at th­ese beau­ti­ful bas­kets, shields, spears and masks,’’ is “ar­guably to col­lude with the on­go­ing de­nial of in­dige­nous rights’’, given that some in­dige­nous peo­ple want them to be repa­tri­ated.

The de­bate about repa­tri­a­tion and colo­nial en­coun­ters good and bad, hos­tile and in­ti­mate, will carry on at the Bri­tish Mu­seum as a pro­gram of lec­tures, Abo­rig­i­nal films, mu­sic and dance con­tin­ues into July. The r-word is likely to get a thor­ough air­ing in the run-up to En

coun­ters in Novem­ber. NMA direc­tor Trinca knows this, but he is hop­ing both ex­hi­bi­tions will pro­voke a more nu­anced de­bate about black and white Aus­tralians’ shared his­tory. Sit­ting in the Bri­tish Mu­seum’s wildly echo­ing Great Court, the largest cov­ered public square in Europe, he tells Re­view the ex­hi­bi­tion’s open­ing and the visit by the NMA’s in­dige­nous del­e­ga­tion “has ex­ceeded my ex­pec­ta­tions’’.

He is de­lighted the joint project has led the mu­seum’s trustees “to the point where they think that the world’s old­est living con­tin­u­ing cul­ture should be a part of the per­ma­nent sto­ry­telling about the hu­man con­di­tion in this mu­seum, the world’s great uni­ver­sal mu­seum’’.

Throw­ing back an espresso, he adds that it’s “in­cred­i­bly en­cour­ag­ing to come here and find that al­ready visi­ta­tion to this ex­hi­bi­tion is dou­ble what had been ex­pected. It shows that Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der cul­tures are of great in­ter­est to peo­ple around the world. You don’t have a more di­verse au­di­ence than you have at the Bri­tish Mu­seum.’’

In­dige­nous Australia — En­dur­ing Civil­i­sa­tion

con­tin­ues at the Bri­tish Mu­seum in Lon­don un­til Au­gust 2. En­coun­ters opens at Can­berra’s Na­tional Mu­seum of Australia in Novem­ber.

Clock­wise from top left, wa­ter­colour by Tom Roberts of Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der dancers; spears from the Cook col­lec­tion; Bri­tish Mu­seum direc­tor Neil Mac­Gre­gor; Peter Yu and Hen­ri­etta Mar­rie; the Botany Bay shield from 1770

Clock­wise from top left, wal­laby tooth neck­lace from War­rnam­bool, Vic­to­ria (c. 1842-44); Yu­mari (1981) by Uta Uta (Wuta Wuta) Tjan­gala; dugong charm from Tudu, Tor­res Strait (1888); fig-tree wood shield from Queens­land, col­lected be­fore 1872; model of a wa­ter ves­sel from Oys­ter Cove, Tas­ma­nia (c. 1850)

From left, Ish­mael Marika, Peter Yu, Ja­son Eades, Vic McGrath, Rus­sell Tay­lor, Gaye Sculthorpe and Hen­ri­etta Mar­rie at the Bri­tish Mu­seum; the Na­tional Mu­seum of Australia’s Mathew Trinca

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