You are in site section: Exhibitions

Upper gallery

WARNING: Visitors should be aware that this website includes images and names of deceased people that may cause sadness or distress to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Upper gallery

The upper level of the gallery features a rich array of exhibitions about specific Indigenous communities.

Welcome space

A visitor interacting with the projection of Aboriginal dancers and images

The Welcome space reflects the traditional protocol of welcoming a visitor to another person's country. A pressure-sensitive floor allows visitors to interact with the projection of Aboriginal dancers and images.

Seven Sisters

The Seven Sisters constellation in the ceiling at the entrance to the Gallery of First Australians

The Seven Sisters constellation in the ceiling at the entrance to the gallery reflects the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cosmologies, creation stories, and guides to navigation present in the night sky.

Ngunnawal and Ngambri

A variety of stone tools

Ngunnawal and Ngambri people have lived in the Canberra region for thousands of years. This display acknowledges the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people as traditional owners of the region through the display of a variety of stone tools.

Since Time Immemorial: Kakadu, Arnhem Land

A ground-edge axe

The gallery shows that Aboriginal cultures have instigated many 'world firsts'. These include some of the earliest known evidence of art and some of the oldest ground-edged axes in the world. The axe on display was made between 19,000 and 23,000 years ago.

Since Time Immemorial: Central Australia

The Since Time Immemorial: Central Australia display

Rock paintings and engravings found throughout central Australia feature circles and concentric circles, animal tracks, crescents, dots and straight-lines. In this display, visitors can view designs that were pecked into the rock with a stone.

New South Wales

Visitors viewing boomerangs in the New South Wales display

This display showcases some of the Museum's collection of boomerangs from south-east Australia. Boomerangs were used over much of mainland Australia for hunting, fishing, sport and to keep time for songs.

Fibre containers

A display featuring a variety of fibre containers

The diversity of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is reflected in the great variety of fibre containers produced throughout the country.


A display featuring fishing equipment

A wide range of tools are used for fishing such as woven traps, stone traps, lines and hooks, spears, harpoons, boomerangs and clubs. This display showcases some of these fishing technologies.

Trade and cultural exchange

A display showing the influence of the Macassans on Yolngu culture

The influence of the Macassans on Yolngu culture is shown in this display.

audio_w15 Read and listen to more on the Macassan trepang industry


The Fishtrap Place: Weaving together people, land and belief (Anbarra)

A fishtrap woven from rainforest vine

This display features a fishtrap made by Anbarra elder Frank Gurrmanamana and a audiovisual piece showing the making of the fishtrap.

Tasmania: We're here

The Tasmania: We're here display featuring a wetsuit worn by Rodney Dillon

The Tasmanian display presents the survival and revival of Tasmanian Aboriginal culture through a collection of contemporary works.

Tooloyn Koortakay: Squaring skins for rugs

A display featuring the National Museum's Tooloyn Koortakay collection including pastel drawings, lino cuts, possum skin dance ornaments, a selection of tools, and possum skin cloaks

The Tooloyn Koortakay display follows the work of four Victorian Indigenous women who have revived the lost art of making possum skin cloaks.

Read about the Tooloyn Koortakay collection


A display featuring a range of material from Ernabella

This display draws on the Museum's rich holdings of material from Central Australia's Ernabella community – one of Australia's longest continuously running Aboriginal arts organisations.
Read more about the Ernabella Arts collection

Tools: Stone and fire

A display featuring a range of stone and wooden tools used by Aboriginal people

The Gallery of First Australians features an extensive range of tools used by Aboriginal people. It demonstrates how these tools were made and the different techniques used to make them.

Tools: Kimberley points

A display of Kimberley points in a glass showcase

This display showcases the Museum's collections of these highly-prized tools and trade goods from the Kimberley region of north-west Australia.

Tools: Making stone tools

Display showing different types of stones and techniques for producing different types of stone tools

Stone-tool makers have a detailed knowledge of the properties of different types of stone. This display showcases the different types of stone and techniques for producing different types of stone tools.

Fire: 'Burn grass time'

A display highlighting the number of ways in which Aboriginal people made fire

This display highlights the number of ways in which Aboriginal people made fire.

Portrait wall

The portrait wall showcasing 24 photographs representing the many faces of the First Australians

The portrait wall showcases photographs representing the diversity of First Australians past and present.


A photograph of the Frieze

The Frieze is an audiovisual presentation across 11 screens that features the geographical, environmental and cultural diversity of Indigenous Australians.


Go to a summary of the lower gallery stories

Take a virtual tour of the displays and read more information about the stories found in the First Australians gallery.