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Breastplates: Re-enacting Possession in North America and Australia


Darian-Smith, Kate, Breastplates: Re-enacting Possession in North America and Australia, Conciliation on Colonial Frontiers: Conflict, Performance and Commemoration in Australia and the Pacific Rim, Routledge, K. Darian-Smith and P. Edmonds (ed), London and New York, pp. 54-74. ISBN 978-0-415-74430-0 (2015) [Research Book Chapter]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 Taylor & Francis

DOI: doi:10.4324/9781315812946


So reads an explanatory text panel in the ‘First Peoples’ exhibition at the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Museum Victoria, which opened in 2013 as a ‘shared endeavour’ between the museum and the Victorian Aboriginal community. The panel is located in a glass case in a section of the exhibition that explains the history and cultures of Victoria’s First Peoples before and after European arrival. It accompanies a crescent-shaped brass plate or gorget, intended to be worn around the neck on a chain, which is engraved with the words ‘Malcolm, Chief, Kukuruk Mum’. The breastplate’s origins can be traced to Melbourne during the 1830s. It is displayed alongside two other objects from early colonial Victoria. The fi rst is a British service musket of the ‘Brown Bess’ type issued to British Army offi cers and to members of the Native Police Corps, a mounted Aboriginal force established in 1842 to aid the government in the settlement of the Port Phillip District. The second is an Aboriginal ‘wooden shield carved and painted with white ochre, handwritten on the reverse: "This shield was taken after a fi ght between the Native Police and the Avoca Tribe at Creswick’s water hole, July 1847" ’ which is exhibited today to ‘honour fallen warriors’.

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Research Division:Indigenous Studies
Research Group:Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, language and history
Research Field:Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Understanding past societies
Objective Field:Understanding Australia's past
UTAS Author:Darian-Smith, Kate (Professor Kate Darian-Smith)
ID Code:123319
Year Published:2015
Deposited By:College Office - CALE
Deposited On:2018-01-03
Last Modified:2018-02-01

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