Koorie Voices returns

by Jennifer Mattiuzzo
Publish date
28 June 2012
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Jen is an exhibition manager working on the Bunjilaka redevelopment project.

Earlier this year the much loved exhibition Koorie Voices closed as part of the preparations for the redevelopment of Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre.

Original Koorie Voices exhibition The original Koorie Voices exhibition in Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre.
Image: John Broomfield
Source: Museum Victoria

Koorie Voices had been on display since Melbourne Museum opened in Carlton Gardens in 2000 and was one of the original permanent exhibitions in Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre. The exhibition told stories of life on missions, early encounters with Europeans around Port Phillip Bay, the dispossession of Koorie people after invasion and the forcible removal of children from their families.

The main feature was the photographic display that included over 400 portraits of Victorian Aboriginal people that celebrate the richness and diversity of Koorie culture. The images were a mixture of historic and recent photographs and showed connections to Ancestors and country.

For many, visiting Koorie Voices meant being surrounded by Ancestors, relatives and friends and was like walking through a giant family album. It was also a way for community to connect with their Ancestors and family through the photographs that are held in Museum Victoria's collections and an important way for non-Aboriginal visitors to learn about Koorie culture and identity.

detail of Koorie Voices display A detail of the display, showing portraits of Victorian Aboriginal people.
Image: John Broomfield
Source: Museum Victoria

Koorie Voices was one of the most popular displays in Bunjilaka and has kept people coming back time and time again. Its closure was met with a feeling of sadness both at the museum and by the community. It was this feedback that drove the decision to put the images of Koorie Voices back on display.

In June 2012, the Koorie Voices images were installed in the main walk outside Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre. This version focuses on the portraits with all of the photos represented as either printed panels or on screen.

Koorie Voices display outside Bunjilaka Newly-reinstated Koorie Voices display outside Bunjilaka.
Image: John Broomfield
Source: Museum Victoria

Koorie Voices display Newly-reinstated Koorie Voices display outside Bunjilaka. Judy Watson's beautiful zinc wall panels, Wurreka, can be seen in the background.
Image: John Broomfield
Source: Museum Victoria

So whether you're a first time visitor or a Koorie Voices veteran, come along and experience this special exhibition in its new location. Koorie Voices will remain on display until we open Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre's new permanent exhibition.

May 2013 update: Koorie Voices will be deinstalled in the week of 27 May 2013, because the showcases are being removed to make way for a new installation in early 2014.

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Updates on what's happening at Melbourne Museum, the Immigration Museum, Scienceworks, the Royal Exhibition Building, and beyond.