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National Museum of Australia

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King Nobby of Widgee Widgee

2006.0113.0001

King Nobby of Widgee Widgee

Object information

Physical description

A crescentric shaped brass breastplate with the inscription 'WIDGEE / KING NOBBY / WIDGEE'. On either side of this inscription are engravings of a kangaroo and an emu. The breastplate has a hole at the edge of each horn.

Statement of significance

This collection consists of a crescentric brass breastplate with the inscription 'WIDGEE / KING NOBBY / WIDGEE' and a regardant kangaroo and emu. The breastplate was preserved by James John Goode Caulfield, who was the head stockman on Widgee Widgee Station, west of Gympie.

Widgee Widgee was one of the first and largest pastoral properties to be established along the Mary River. Settled in 1849 the station was a site of conflict between settlers and the Gubbi Gubbi people throughout the 1850s and into the 1860s. It is unknown who 'Nobby' was, but it is likely that he was a Gubbi Gubbi man employed on the station as a stockman. Breastplates are a tangible record of relationships between individual settlers and Aboriginal people around mainland Australia. They were frequently presented to recognise the 'Chief' or 'King' of a 'tribe', which was often an attempt to aid peaceable settlement. They also often recognise service, such as on a pastoral property. The National Museum holds the largest collection of breastplates in the world, most of which are the only known record of the life of the recipient.

Object information

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