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National Museum of Australia

Where our stories come alive

Collection Explorer


Fibre basket by Thelma Judson, 2008


Fibre basket by Thelma Judson, 2008

Object information

Physical description

A funnel shaped basket of multicoloured coiled yarn over plant fibre with a beaded edge. The yarn is rainbow coloured with a dominant yellow tone. The maroon yarn used at the base has small silver sequins in it. The round wood beads attached at the top edge of the basket are mostly red and brown with a few green, yellow, black and natural coloured ones. The label on the inside reads 'Cat # 08-175 / Thelma Judson'. On the outside of the basket is a piece of brown adhesive tape with the text 'Thelma Judd'.

Statement of significance

The Canning Stock Route collection is comprised of 125 works and includes paintings, drawings, baskets, boomerangs, coolamons, headdresses, carved figures and shields.

The Canning Stock Route is a no-longer-used cattle droving route that traverses the Great Sandy and Gibson Deserts of central Western Australia. Comprised of 48 wells along an 1800 kilometres stretch of track, the route links Wiluna in the south with Sturt Creek in the north and traverses the traditional lands of nine Aboriginal language groups. The route was founded in 1905 when Alfred Canning was commissioned to investigate a route suitable for the droving of 500 head of cattle, with water sources spaced at intervals of no more than one day's walk apart. Although Canning's map records observations of the land and water resources, it makes no mention of Indigenous places and their associated meanings which the route traversed. This collection, composed of 'painting stories', sculptural works and oral histories, re-dresses Canning's omission and records the impact of the stock route on Indigenous lives and country. A six week journey with traditional owners held in July and August of 2007 inspired the artworks, many of which were produced during the journey, and provided an opportunity for more than 70 senior and emerging artists to reconnect with traditional lands..

Object information

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