Menu toggle

National Museum of Australia

Where our stories come alive

Collection Explorer


Cub made by Jack Shepherd, 1913


Cub made by Jack Shepherd, 1913

Object information


Original label on 1985.0059.0095 reads: "-Sword-/Mulga Tribe/JS. 1913". "JS" on 1985.0059.0095 suggests it is associated with Jack Shepherd.

Edmund Milne (1861-1917) was born in England and emigrated to Queensland with his parents 19 months later. He had had personal contact with Aboriginal people throughout his life, from when he was a small boy in Queensland and, from the late 1860s, in New South Wales. This contact may have led him to recording the names of Aboriginal people associated with particular objects in his collection, at a time when this was rarely done. Milne seems to have begun actively collecting Indigenous artefacts in the early 1880s and was still acquiring objects a few months before his death in 1917. His work with the NSW Railways (1876-1917) enabled him to meet a broad range of people who facilitated his collecting and associated activities like visiting Aboriginal sites. From at least the time he lived at Orange NSW (1906-1915), and later at Ryde (1915-1917), near to Sydney city, he displayed his collection at his home. In addition to a large collection of Aboriginal artefacts, Milne's collection included artefacts from the South Pacific and prehistoric implements from Egypt, France and England. In his will dated 12 December 1916, Milne bequeathed his ?Anthropological collection? to the ?first Federal Museum opened in the Federal Capital?. The collection remained at Ryde until early 1931 when it was acquired by the Australian Institute of Anatomy in Canberra. It remained there until the Institute's collections were transferred to the National Museum of Australia in 1985.

Physical description

A flat, elliptic wooden club. The club is pointed at the proximal end, widens in the top third becoming triangular in cross section, and then tapers to a diamond cross section and ends with a point. The surface is smooth, and on one side there is text written in black ink which reads 'MuLga Tribe / Sword / J.S. 1913'. The number '96.' is written in white paint on the same side.There is a hole drilled in the distal end, and the proximal end is broken around a knot hole.

Object information

Back to top