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National Museum of Australia

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Aboriginal stockman belt and knife pouch


Aboriginal stockman belt and knife pouch

Object information

Physical description

A black leather-look belt with a silver coloured buckle, and a brown knife pouch threaded on it. The initials "TBB" have been scratched into the surface of the belt and the pouch. The brown knife pouch has a metal stud closure and is sewn together with yellow thread.

Statement of significance

This collection consists of 17 objects worn or used by Bruce Breaden in his daily work as head stockman on cattle stations in central Australia: an Akubra hat, a pair of R. M. Williams elastic-sided boots, a pair of R. M. Williams trousers, two long-sleeved shirts, a long-sleeved jumper, a synthetic belt (featuring a leather pocket knife pouch or sheath, counted as a separate object), a pocket knife, a Syd Hill Giltrow Poley saddle (with breastplate, stirrups, girth and surcingle attached), a leather quartpot holder, a leather saddlebag, a bridle, a pair of reins, a plaited fibre lead rope, a hobble chain and a branding iron.

A Luritja man born at Tempe Downs, where he also first started work, Bruce Breaden fought for 25 years until he secured land rights over the Tempe Downs/Middleton Ponds region on behalf of his people. Breaden's stockman's kit represents the history of Aboriginal people in the cattle industry of northern Australia and their essential contribution to the development of what is now one of the nation's major exports (and a major source of national iconography). The collection also represents Breaden's personal expertise in traditional skills so vital to the industry before the advent of aerial mustering, beef roads and satellite technology.

Object information

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