The Australian Aboriginal cultures gallery celebrates the cultural achievements of Australia’s Aboriginal people, the world’s oldest continuous living culture.
This object-rich experience features over 3,000 items across two floors. The pieces of material culture are from communities across the country, drawing from the Museum’s extensive collections.
Over 65,000 years Australia’s Aboriginal people have successfully innovated and developed creative ways of life in one of the world’s harshest continents.
The wealth of information in this gallery includes boomerangs, bark paintings, shields, maps, early recordings, photographs, field notebooks and some of the only intact bark canoes still known to be in existence.
In 2011 the Yuendumu school doors were included in the gallery after extensive conservation efforts to clean and consolidate them. The doors represent one of the earliest examples of Aboriginal artists successfully transferring their ancient ground paintings to a large-scale, modern medium.
At Yuendumu in the 1980s five artists were responsible for 27 Dreaming designs on the school doors. The designs represent more than 200 sites in the Warlpiri and Anmatyerre territory.
The artists intended for the doors to remind the Yuendumu schoolchildren of sites and obligations extending across their country. The doors remained at Yuendumu for 12 years, resisting the desert wind and sun, and surviving robust treatment from Warlpiri schoolchildren.
A selection of these is shown on level one of the Australian Aboriginal Cultures Gallery.