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Collection of significant Aboriginal objects digitised at Hamilton Gallery

Words by Della Vreeland
Images supplied

The largest and oldest collection of Australian Aboriginal objects on Gunditjmara Country are set to become digitised as part of a significant cultural project at Hamilton Gallery.

The project is being led by Gunditjmara woman Denise Lovett, who boasts a strong background in Aboriginal heritage management and protection.

Having worked with the Gallery team for the past three months as their Aboriginal Digitisation Support Officer, Denise has analysed almost 100 works within the gallery collection, with a specific focus on Gunditjmara objects.

‘There’s a small collection at the Dunkeld Museum, the Glenelg Shire Council office in Casterton, and other small collections in Warrnambool and Portland,’ Denise said. ‘But to have a collection of Aboriginal objects of this size and age is quite rare.’

The project has involved digitising hand-crafted instruments by Gunditjmara peoples onto collection management software, capturing images and details of each item, managing records, and ensuring key information surrounding background and cultural significance is documented.

The objects in the collection include wood-carved boomerangs, shields and digging sticks, as well as intricately woven baskets.

Having benefited from the mentorship of local Gunditjmara-Boandik Elder Uncle Johnny Lovett, Denise said it was a privilege to work with the largest, oldest collection of Aboriginal crafted objects on Gunditjmara Country.

It’s been a wonderful opportunity as a Gunditjmara woman to handle these objects, especially the Western District collection, which I found particularly interesting.

The project is taking place as part of the state’s Regional Gallery Digitisation Project, with the process laying strong foundations for future partnerships between the Gallery and Gunditjmara First Nations.


THE DETAILS:

WHAT: Digitisation of Gunditjmara Country Aboriginal objects
WHERE: Hamilton Gallery, 107 Brown Street, Hamilton
FIND OUT MORE: hamiltongallery.org

We wish to acknowledge the Gunditjmara people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.
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