The First Australians gallery presents stories, objects and images that explore the culture and experiences of Australia’s first peoples from time immemorial, through colonisation to contemporary Australian life. Here are some of the displays that were previously on show in the gallery.
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Tooloyn Koortakay: Squaring skins for rugs
Photo: Dragi Markovic.
Tooloyn Koortakay follows the spiritual journey of four south-east Australian Aboriginal women who have revived the lost art of making possum skin cloaks. The women researched the intricate designs on surviving cloaks, which they reproduced on the 50 skins required for each new cloak.
The Tooloyn Koortakay collection of the National Museum of Australia comprises pastel drawings, lino cuts, possum skin dance ornaments, a selection of tools, two magnificent cloaks, a reproduction of the Maiden's Punt Yorta Yorta possum skin cloak collected in 1853 and a reproduction of the Lake Condah Gunditjmara possum skin cloak collected in 1872.
Although the pieces in the collection were recently created, this collection is deeply historical – it reaches back to the centuries-old traditions and customs of the communities of south-eastern Australia.Read more about the Tooloyn Koortakay collection