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National Museum of Australia

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Collection Explorer



  • Kingsley Pitman collection(1)

    Photograph of a group of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people at Point McLeay Mission Station

    The Kingsley Pitman collection comprises of an original sepia tone photograph approximately 273mm x 224 mm in size, taken circa 1885-86. The picture is of a large group of formally posed Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people at the Point McLeay Mission Station, now known as Raukkan (its original Ngarrindgeri name) in South Australia. The photograph was taken by the donor's grandfather, Frederick William Taplin. Frederick Taplin was the son of George Taplin, the first missionary at Point McLeay.

    The photograph of the Point McLeay (Raukkan) mission is significant as an original document which records Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people residents from the mission in the 1880s. In its composition, the photograph also records the formal, segregated relationship which existed between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people characteristic of Australian Christian mission stations such as Point McLeay, during the nineteenth century. Established in 1859, Point Mcleay was one of the major missions established in South Australia. It was the birthplace of David Uniapon, one of Australia's most celebrated Indigenous writers, inventors and evangelists. Uniapon and the Point McLeay mission church are both featured on the Australian fifty dollar note. Raukkan continues to be an important place for contemporary Indigenous people. The photograph is also significant through its association with the Taplin family, with two generations of the Taplin family being involved in the establishment and running of the Point Mcleay mission.