Skip to content
  • Open today 9am–5pm
  • Free general admission

We are no longer updating this page and it is not optimised for mobile devices.

You are in site section: Learn

putalina (Oyster Cove)

Encounters. Indigenous contact and culture: a classroom resource

Caution: This website includes images and names of deceased people that may cause distress to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Tasmanian Aboriginal country

putalina (Oyster Cove), Tasmania

In 1847, Tasmanian Aborigines were moved to Oyster Cove and housed in a condemned penal settlement considered unfit for convicts. Explore how, a century later, the Tasmanian Aboriginal community reclaimed the site and continue to celebrate their culture today.

  • A map of Australia indicating the location of putalina (Oyster Cove), Tasmania.
    putalina (Oyster Cove), Tasmania
  • A colour photo of a section of the coastline at putalina (Oyster Cove), Tasmania
    Setting the scene
  • A piece of kelp pierced by two sticks and shaped to form a rounded container with a fibrous handle.
    Kelp water container
  • Lengths of dark brown, bull sea kelp, sewn together with black nylon string to form a sculpture of a foot.
    Kelp foot sculpture


Match the year to the event

How much do you know about putalina?

Video story

Learn about making a kelp basket

Watch this video of Tasmanian Aboriginal Elder Dorothy Murray talking about making kelp baskets.

Activity: Make your own basket after listening to the way Dorothy describes the process. If you do not have kelp, what other material could you use?

Learn about making a kelp basket 2:06

More activities

Continuing culture 

Activity: Read this quote by Theresa Sainty, pakana (Tasmanian Aborigine), 2014:

Growing up, when you’re sitting in a classroom in Tasmania being told that you don’t exist and yet being part of a big old family, we didn’t know our history because of the way in which things were portrayed … We are still here, by the way. And we continue to do so much …

What history have you been taught at school? What history interests you? Collate your response to this survey as a class mind map.

Activity: Visitors responded to questions as part of our Encounters exhibition on show in Canberra. Look at the responses to the question ‘What history were you taught?’ on our Articulate website. Pick one response that you find particularly interesting or surprising. Explain why.

Kelp foot sculpture

Activity: Look at the kelp foot sculpture by Vicki West, above. Why do you think Vicki chose a foot? What does this sculpture seem to show to you?

< Previous Next >
Return to Top