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King of Minnon

This is the finest gorget in the Museum’s collection. It is the work of a skillful engraver who left his name on the lower front of the plate, ‘Twemlow, engraver, Sydney’.

Engraved breastplate.
Billy Hippie, King of Minnon

The inscription and design are a very fine and artistic piece of work after the style of engraving on guns. The plate appears to have been sawn and finished by a craftsperson very conscious of proportions and finish. As a final luxury the brass gorget and chain were silver plated after the manner of military gorgets.

The design is similar to several other known gorgets in that it comprises a tableau acted out across the gorget. The theme, an Aboriginal stockrider chasing cattle, is unique in the Museum’s collection. However, similar designs are found on a few gorgets held elsewhere.

The scene is very dynamic — the man cracks a stockwhip over his head and jumps his fine horse over a log in pursuit of galloping cattle on the other side of the gorget. The dress of the man is notable in that he wears, in true 19th-century colonial Australian style, a cabbage tree hat, loose collarless shirt and long trousers. He rides barefoot which was typical of Aboriginal stockriders.

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