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Peter Thorley

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.

Peter Thorley

Peter Thorley
Photo: Andy Greenslade.

Position: Senior Curator, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander program

Interests: Western Desert artists, Aboriginal languages, archaeology, Central Australia, cross-cultural communication

What do you like about working in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander program?

I love learning about stories from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities all over Australia. I have a long association with a Pintupi community where I lived from 1986 to 1990. It's a great privilege to be able to live in an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and to learn an Aboriginal language. After completing a PhD in archaeology I was lucky to be able to stay in central Australia and work with Aboriginal communities on heritage projects.

Since moving to Canberra and joining the National Museum, I have continued to maintain this connection through repatriation and exhibition projects such as Papunya Painting. Working at the Museum you are always learning something new about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, their lives and experience. I feel blessed to be able to work with a such a professional team of Indigenous and non-Indigenous staff in caring for Indigenous collections and in assisting communities to access their collections and tell their stories.


Tel: (02) 6208 5242