Australian Aboriginal Cultures

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The Australian Aboriginal Cultures Gallery celebrates the cultural achievements of Australia’s Aboriginal people, one of the world’s oldest continuous living cultures. This object-rich experience features over 3,000 items across two floors. The artefacts are from communities across the country, drawing from the Museum’s extensive collections.

Over thousands of years Australia’s Aboriginal people have successfully adapted to a changing Australian environment and survived the impact of European colonisation. This gallery shows how they have innovated and developed creative ways of life in one of the world’s harshest continents.

The wealth of information in this gallery includes boomerangs, bark paintings, shields, maps, early recordings, photographs, field notebooks and some of the only intact bark canoes still known to be in existence.

 

Yuendumu School Doors 

Behind The Scenes : The Australian Aboriginal Cultures Gallery from South Australian Museum on Vimeo.

 

In 2011 the Yuendumu School Doors were included in the gallery after extensive conservation efforts to clean and consolidate them. The Doors represent one of the earliest examples of Aboriginal artists successfully transferring their ancient ground paintings to a large-scale, modern medium.

At Yuendumu in the 1980s five artists were responsible for 27 Dreaming designs on the school doors. The designs represent more than 200 sites in the Warlpiri and Anmatyerre territory. 

The artists intended for the Doors to remind the Yuendumu schoolchildren of sites and obligations extending across their country. The Doors remained at Yuendumu for 12 years, resisting the desert wind and sun, and surviving robust treatment from Warlpiri schoolchildren.

A selection of these is shown on Level 1 of the Australian Aboriginal Cultures Gallery, and in the Main Foyer of the Museum. 

The South Australian Museum is grateful for the generous support of individual donors to the Yuendumu School Doors Appeal and the South Australian Museum Foundation Inc.