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National Museum of Australia

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Collection Explorer

4

Paul House's didjeridu

2014.0044.0001

On display

Paul House's didjeridu

Object information

Physical description

A wooden didjeridu that is tapered with one end wider than the other. The didjeridu is painted in three separate sections. All the sections feature dot paintings on a black background with cream, yellow, orange, green and blue dots. The section in the centre of the instrument features a painting of a lizard. The entire length of the didjerdu has been painted with a clear glossy covering. Some of the paint on the didjeridu is fragile.

Statement of significance

The Paul House collection consists of a painted wooden didjeridu, decorated with a dotted design, featuring a stylised goanna/lizard painted down the length of the obverse. House made this didjeridu in 1984 and has used it continuously in his role as a local cultural leader and musician and in his general 'connection to country' practice. The goanna/lizzard refers to a local word, 'girrawah', meaning goanna or lizard, a nickname given to House as a child by his grandfather, Harold 'Black Harry' Williams.

Born in 1969 in the old Canberra Hospital on Acton Peninsula, House identifies as a Ngambri-Walgulu man. As a performer, artist and cultural advisor within Canberra for many years, House has been involved with the National Museum since 1997, when he led the smoking ceremony of the Acton site before the commencement of the museum's construction.Through his didjeridu, House is able to express his identity, personal life experiences, as well as cultural and political views. Sharing music, culture and knowledge reflects his respect for all people and country. The instrument can also be used to tell the larger story about the adoption of the didjeridu as an icon of Indigenous Australia's musical identity.

Physical description

On display at the National Museum of Australia.

Object information

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