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19 March 2009

The National Museum of Australia is proud to announce that it has acquired the Canning Stock Route Collection.

The collection includes 116 paintings, contemporary cultural objects and documentary material collected by 60 artists who travelled along the Canning Stock Route on a six week return to country trip in 2007.

The Canning Stock Route is the longest historic stock route in the world, first surveyed in 1906. It runs almost two thousand kilometres from Halls Creek to Wiluna in Western Australia. The development of the ultimately unsuccessful cattle route dramatically affected the lives of Aboriginal people. This collection is the first significant attempt to document the Aboriginal experience of the Canning Stock Route.

The National Museum of Australia regards this collection as one of truly national significance, providing a unique archive of indigenous social and cultural histories. It is an important addition to the nation's heritage and history collections.

Craddock Morton, Director of the National Museum of Australia said, 'This is one of the most important collections which the Museum has acquired.

'The Canning Stock Route is a place where Indigenous and non-Indigenous histories intersect. This project has effectively recovered the Indigenous history of the country traversed by the Stock Route. For many years, the story of the Stock Route was represented as a white man's story – this collection makes us recognise that its history goes back much further, and is held in the minds and hearts of the Aboriginal people of the region.'

The Museum recognises the remarkable work of the Western Australian cultural group FORM and its nine partner art centres, stretching from the Pilbara to the Kimberley in WA, in establishing the Canning Stock Route Project. In development since late 2006, the project has involved 96 artists and countrymen in producing this peerless collection.

The National Museum of Australia in Canberra will present the Canning Stock Route collection in a world class exhibition next year.

For interviews and more information please contact Dennis Grant on 02 6208 5351, 0409 916 481; Caroline Vero on 02 6208 5338, 0438 620 710 or

FORM, Perth: Charlotte Swanborough: 0409 990 888

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