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National Museum of Australia

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Collection Explorer

4

Possum costume

Object information

Physical description

A full body possum costume consisting of three pieces including a head, a body suit and an undergarment. The head is formed from wire and metal mesh with synthetic fur on the outside and unbleached fabric adhered to the interior. The nose, mouth and ears are covered in brown leather with black plastic used to construct the eyes. A 'Protector' safety helmet is bolted inside the framework. The possum body costume is made from white synthetic fur and has long sleeves, full size legs and a long padded tail. The undergarment is made from unbleached calico with long sleeves, full length legs and three metal hoops attached at small intervals at the middle area.

Statement of significance

The Cairns and Far North Queensland Environmental Centre Collection contains three objects. The first object is a possum suit, in three pieces, made of synthetic white fur for wear by a person. There are also two banners in the collection. The 14 metre banner reads "Save the Windsor Rainforests. Daintree-Windsor-The last tropical rainforest wilderness in Australia. Stop. Join Us." This banner is made from calico with painted lettering. The 3 metre banner reads "Hands Off! Rainforests." The lettering of this banner is sewn onto the corduroy backing.

This collection documents the methods of the conservationist movement in the 1980s to achieve World Heritage listing for the Far North Queensland Wet Tropics Rainforest. The campaign for preservation and listing of these rainforests first gained national attention in the early 1980s when protestors blockaded logging in the Mt Windsor Tablelands and building of the Daintree Road. The campaign continued through the 1980s with lobbying of state and federal governments and community awareness activities. The environment was a key point of difference between the Federal Government and Coalition opposition in the 1987 federal election, with the nomination for World Heritage listing a key part of Hawke's national environment policy. The rainforests were inscribed on the World Heritage List on 9 December 1988.

Object information

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