Andrew Chase cutting bark from a tree with a tomahawk, secured to tree with bark. Howard Decimus Bulmer, photographer, 1936-1937. Photograph: gelatin silver ; 16.6 x 10.8 cm. approx.Contributors
This photograph shows culturally sensitive material. Permission to publish must be sought from the collection holder, the State Library of Victoria.Copyright
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Because of their acknowledged skill, Aboriginal bark-cutters were often hired by colonists, gold miners and squatters in the 1800s.
Bark was a useful commodity in the colonial period for roofing and furniture as well as canoes.
The first stage of building a canoe was to strip the bark from a living tree without killing it.
This photograph from 1936 or 1937 taken at the Lake Tyers Mission, in Gippsland, shows Andrew Chase cutting bark from a tree with a tomahawk. He is secured to the tree with bark.
By the time this photograph was taken the Lake Tyers Station was one of the few government Aboriginal reserves left operating in Victoria. In 1917 the Victorian Government introduced a policy of concentrating Aboriginal people at Lake Tyers. Many residents of the former missions at Ramahyuck, Ebenezer, Condah and Coranderrk were transferred here. Most of these former reserve lands were then turned into soldier settlement blocks for returned servicemen of World War 1. Aboriginal returned servicemen, however, were not permitted to settle in them.