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Child's drawing by by Gaybining and Bonal on the theme of 'How Aborigines Built Houses Long Time Ago'.


Child's drawing by by Gaybining and Bonal on the theme of 'How Aborigines Built Houses Long Time Ago'.

Object information


This is one of six paintings and drawings done by Yolngu students in Room 9 of Yirrkala Primary School as part of the Aboriginal Children?s History of Australia Project. The six works were part of a booklet on the theme of 'How Aborigines Built Houses Long Time Ago'.

Some 3383 drawings and paintings on paper were made between 1975-1977 by Aboriginal children from 70 schools across Australia as part of Aboriginal Children?s History of Australia Project.

These artworks were collected by the Aboriginal Arts Board for potential use in 'The Aboriginal Children's History of Australia: Written and Illustrated by Australia's Aboriginal Children'. The book was published by Rigby, Adelaide in 1977.

According to Robert Edwards, then Director of the Aboriginal Arts Board, the idea for collecting these Aboriginal Children's drawings evolved during a 1975 flight to Canberra. Serendipitously, Edwards sat next to Edward J. McGrath Jr, Director of the Hawaiian publishing firm, Island Heritage Limited.

McGrath asked Edwards 'What do you do?' On hearing about the Aboriginal Arts Board's work with Australian Aboriginal communities, McGrath explained that he was publishing a series of Children's histories from different nations throughout the world. He produced from his briefcase a copy of 'A Child's History of Hawaii' and an exchange of ideas for a history book by Aboriginal children ensued.

Edwards recalls that the flight was fortuitous, as he had been thinking about how to link Indigenous children into the Aboriginal Arts Board's art programs. Children's art seemed an obvious way of involving children, especially if the project could be organised through the school system.

A project to produce Children's artworks for a history book authored by Aboriginal children was subsequently proposed to the Aboriginal Arts Board, who approved and implemented the project in 1976.

Michael Gray was responsible for researching and coordinating the project, which incorporated 70 participating Aboriginal schools from all parts of Australia except Victoria and the Torres Strait.

The Aboriginal Arts Board transferred the collection of artworks to the National Museum of Australia in 1991.

Physical description

Crayon, pencil and felt pen on paper. Depiction of two people sitting in shelter by campfire, trees and waterhole. Explanatory remark reads: 'A house in the bush'. Artist: Gaybining and Bonal. Title: How Aborigines Built Houses Long Time Ago. (Attached to other drawings)

Object information

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