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National Museum of Australia

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4

Weapon - Spearthrower

Object information

Description

Original label on 1985.0059.0247 reads: "Womerah/Throwing Stick/Desert Tribe/W.A./Pres. by Capt Bates/Forbes/1915". John ("Jack") H Bates was born in Hull, England in 1865 and came to Australia when a boy. He spent some time in South Australia before moving to Bathurst in early January 1892. An architect by profession, Bates was working in Forbes by 1896. As was the case with Milne, he had an interest in Australian history. In 1915 Bates was the architect for a memorial to the explorer Evans erected at Eugowra, a project initiated by Milne. At Forbes, he was an alderman and served as Mayor for several terms. He died in Cowra on 26 June 1923.

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

Wood, broad shaft, rounded distal end tapering to pointed proximal end with wood peg attached at angle to shaft with adhesive sinew. Knob of adhesive proximal end (which is in arrow) anterior surface. Incised with diagonal linear band. Adze marks obvious. Posterior surface pigmented. 'Mero' Western Australia.

Object information

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