The Aboriginal Object Collection at Dunkeld
The display is outstanding… when people do come to the area they get a broad understanding of Gunditjmara and also Djab Wurrung artefacts. Tim Chatfield, Chairperson/CEO Martang Registered Aboriginal Party.
The Dunkeld Museum has a variety of Aboriginal artefacts including a message stick, boomerangs, spears and spear throwers, a parrying shield and a fighting club. It also has a range of stone artefacts such as grinding stones and axes.
The artefacts came to the Museum via a local farming family… In the late 19th century two Djab Wurrung men were travelling across a property known as Karabeal when they encountered the farmer, Ramsey Hay. Hay helped one of the men known as Bobby, giving him food and letting him rest overnight.
To thank Hay for his help, the Djab Wurrung men gave him a message stick to invite him to a meeting where he was presented with the artefacts. Traditionally, message sticks were burned, but this one was preserved and later presented to the Museum with the rest of the collection. Wendy Williams talks about how the items came to the Museum in the video Connecting with a Collection.
The Dunkeld & District Historical Museum and members of the local Aboriginal communities have worked together to research and register the Dunkeld Aboriginal Object Collection. The partnership has improved interpretation and presentation of Aboriginal perspectives of the district’s cultural heritage; ensured that Dunkeld Museum meets its legal obligations under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006; and improved access to the collection for Aboriginal people and the general community.