Reed necklace

by Kate C
Publish date
11 September 2012
Comments (2)

173 years ago today, on 11 September 1839, a reed necklace held in the MV Collection was collected in the Melbourne area by George Augustus Robinson. The necklace is one of five he collected during his tenure as Chief Protector of Aborigines for Port Phillip (1839-1849).

reed necklace Reed necklace collected by GA Robinson in 1839. It is made from 162 hollow reed segments strung on vegetable string. (X84452)
Image: Photograph: Jon Augier
Source: Museum Victoria

The necklace belonged to a man from Port Phillip whose name was recorded as Po.un.deet (elsewhere spelled Wo.un.deek or Porrundeet). In his later journals, Robinson recorded the name for the reed necklace as, and observed the local custom of presenting necklaces as a greeting to friends. In an entry from 6 June 1841 he described what happened when a family visited his station:, the native woman at Tulloh's [property], after some mutual exploration appeared highly pleased at meeting with my native attendants. She recognized an old acquaintance and, without ceremony, took the kangaroo teeth ornaments that adorned his hair and reed necklace that adorned his neck and decorated her child therewith. This I observed to be the custom of the natives when meeting with friends.

The wonderful story of Porrundeet's will feature in the Many Nations section of the new First Peoples exhibition at Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre.


GA Robinson, Protector of Aborigines (State Library of NSW)

Comments (2)

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Liz 11 September, 2012 12:29
What a beautiful way to mark the 11th of September. Well done.
Rod 11 September, 2012 12:34
What a great story -- a real gem, thanks for bringing it to light.
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