We are no longer updating this page and it is not optimised for mobile devices.
Caution: This website includes images and names of deceased people that may cause distress to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Bathurst and Melville islands, Northern Territory
In the Arafura Sea, off the north coast of Australia, are the islands of the Tiwi people. For thousands of years the distinctive Tiwi culture has flourished. Explore the continuing tradition of making tunga (bark baskets).
Can you make a tunga?
Hint: Watch Kenny's video below.
What do you know about Tiwi country?
Learn how to make a tunga (bark basket)
Watch this video of Tiwi Elder and artist Kenny Brown explaining how to make a tunga (bark basket).
Activity: Examine the equipment used by Kenny in this video and the photo above. How do you imagine this equipment compares to the equipment used to make the tunga collected 100 years ago? What does this say about Tiwi cultural traditions?
Tunga (bark basket)
Activity: The knowledge needed to make tunga has been passed from generation to generation. Think of an activity you have learnt from someone passing on information. How did they pass it on? Draw a picture showing that activity. Label the parts of your illustration to explain the process.
Activity: Read the quotes from Tiwi men Gibson Farmer Illortamini and Glen Farmer Illortamini, with the old tunga image, above. Why do you think it is important to the Tiwi people that other people understand the purpose of the tunga and the meaning of the symbols?