Menu toggle

National Museum of Australia

Where our stories come alive

Collection Explorer


Shield with incised and pigmented zig zag pattern


Shield with incised and pigmented zig zag pattern

Object information

Physical description

A slim oval pigmented wooden shield with raised carved handle on the flat back. The front surface is pigmented with a red-brown colour over finely incised lines and a thin layer of greyish colour. A zig zag type pattern is painted in a flaking pale pink pigment over raw wood creating diagonal and triangular sections. These sections are patterned with either horizontal or vertical incised lines. The back is pigmented in red brown over segments of horizontal, vertical or diagonal parallel incised lines. Six horizontal pale pink pigmented bands above and below the handle separate each of the red-brown segments. The handle and a rectangular area around it has a wide band of carved vertical grooves.

Statement of significance

The Daisy Bates - Herbert Browne collection consists of twelve Indigenous objects which belonged to Herbert Browne. Browne acquired a collection of objects from Daisy Bates while she was living at Ooldea in the 1920s and 1930s. The collection is comprised of eight boomerangs, two spearthrowers, a shield with a painted and incised design and an adze with a stone flake mounted in resin. Four of the boomerangs are small and light, typical of so-called 'returning' boomerangs, the other four are larger and heavier, typical of the hunting and fighting boomerangs of inland regions. One of the spearthrowers is plain, the other incised and has pigment staining consistent with use as a palette.

Daisy Bates and her relationship with Aboriginal people in Western Australia and at Ooldea are an important part of Australia's history of settler-Indigenous relations during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. These objects are significant for their link to the story of Bates and her sojourn in Ooldea. Their links to Herbert Browne also make them significant for understanding the history of the theatre in Australia during the early twentieth century, and the way in which theatre moved around the country. These objects are also significant for demonstrating the economics of material culture and artefact manufacture at Ooldea and the early development of Aboriginal arts and tourism industries in Australia.

Object information

Back to top