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Carved and mounted emu egg depicting the journey of Burke and Wills

Object type
Engraved emu eggs

Object number

A carved mounted emu egg depicting the journey of Burke and Wills. The egg rests on a marble base with a gold-coloured plaque attached with engraved text inscribed "HAND CARVED/ EMU EGG/ Peter J. Harris GL 470".

Collection name
Peter Harris collection

Collection statement of significance
The object on offer is a carved emu egg by skilled craftsman Peter Harris from Lake Cargelligo. This single egg is a commemorative piece, celebrating the anniversary of Burke and Wills expedition to reach the Gulf of Carpentaria from Melbourne.

Burke and Wills have been the subject of art, craft and popular media since the outset of their journey and which has been continually revistited and romanticised. Mr Harris has carved two eggs relating to Burke and Wills which displays his interest in his local and national history, his home lies on the route that the explorers took. Both of these eggs were included in the National Library of Australia's 2002 exhibition, Burke & Wills From Melbourne to Myth and formed an important role as contemporary examples of the subject matter appearing in art and craft. Emu egg carving has its origins from the 1930s when it was first taken up by Aboriginal people, Mr Harris' compositions reflect the style of these early carvers. Mr Harris is regarded to be one of the most skilled emu egg carvers at the present time.

Mr Peter J. Harris

Place made
Lake Cargelligo, New South Wales, Australia
Artist's residence

Date made
1983 - 1991

Robert O'Hara Burke
Explorer who with William Wills, attempted to cross Australia from north to south

William John Wills
Explorer who with Robert Burke, attempted to cross Australia from north to south

Eggshell, Marble, Metal - non specific

Length: 77mm
Width: 77mm
Height: 180mm

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