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Richmond River

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.

Bundjalung country

Richmond River, New South Wales

Bundjalung people have an intimate knowledge of the natural resources of their country. Explore how the skills and knowledge of the Bundjalung people are practised and passed on today, particularly through weaving with local plant materials.

  • A map of Australia indicating the location of Richmond River, New South Wales
    Richmond River, New South Wales
  • Green undulating landscape, with low grass in the foreground, trees in the distance and a pale grey sky. A wire fence runs along the right side.
    Setting the scene
  • A pale-brown woven bag with a handle made of vegetable fibre.
    Dulloom (dillybag)
  • A vertical woven bag with a round base made of various types of fibres that are different shades of brown. Placed on top of the bag inside it is a long curled piece of snake skin which is also different shades of brown.

    Five Types Teaching Bag

  • A woven bag with a short plaited handle. On the front side of the bag is a decorative coiled circle with five shells attached to it.
    Woven clutch bag
  • A basket woven from a bangalow-palm inflorescence.
    Bangalow-palm basket
  • A colour photo of women modelling fashion. There are people watching from either side, taking photos with mobile phones and clapping.
    Indigenous Fashion Week
  • A woven bag that is almost square in shape and has a long plaited handle. The front side of the bag has woven decorative coiled circles with white and brown feathers attached.
    Dulloom (handbag)
  • Lauren Jarrett
    Lauren Jarrett


Do you know your bags?

What do you know about Richmond River?

Video story

Watch this video where Kamilaroi woman Teresa Bolt describes weaving with the Wake Up Time group and says: ‘The first belt I make, I wanna keep.’

Activity: Have a class discussion about what you have that is so precious that you would not sell it, even if someone wanted to buy it? What makes it special to you?

More activities

Museums and collectors 

Activity: Mary Bundock’s interest in the lives and activities of Aboriginal women set her apart from many other collectors of Aboriginal cultural material at that time. Consider this quote by Bundjalung woman Lauren Jarrett: ‘I was grateful that Mary Bundock saved these bags for the Bundjalung women’.

Why might Lauren Jarrett be grateful that Mary Bundock saved examples of Bundjalung cultural material? Look closely at the fashions. What Indigenous cultural influences do you see? What are the non-Indigenous influences?

Wearable art 

Activity: Have a discussion about the types of resources available to your community. Include things from the natural environment – the bush or coast – or recycled materials and other ‘found’ objects.

Work in small groups to collect materials and make an item of clothing or wearable art that represents something special about the place where you live. You can find inspiration and instructions in our wearable art activity.

Present your work to the class and make sure you explain what materials you used and what your creation represents.

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