South-eastern Australian Ethnographic Collection

The South-eastern Australian Ethnographic Collection contains some of the most historically and culturally significant materials from this region in any collection in the world.

The collection includes more than 3000 organic artefacts (such as baskets and weapons), tens of thousands of stone tools, an extensive photographic record, manuscripts and some genealogical data, from across four states (Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales and South Australia).

Collection strengths are its 19th century ethnographic items, including those collected by G.A. Robinson, A.W. Howitt, J. Bulmer and R.E. Johns.

In recent years, additions have included items related to more contemporary Aboriginal social history, such as Lionel Rose’s boxing gown and gloves and examples of contemporary Koori art, including works by children.

Significant items

  • Basketry.
  • Stone tools and excavated assemblages.
  • Photographic collection (over 5000 images including Charles Walter album and copies of Jackomos collection).
  • Two possum skin cloaks, from Echuca and Lake Condah.
  • Weaponry, woodcarving, engravings, etchings.
  • Artefacts and documents from the 1840s relating to G.A. Robinson, Chief Protector of Aborigines.
  • Papers by A.W. Howitt.
  • Papers by J. Bulmer, mostly from Gippsland.

See Wurrundi - A Rare Feather Ornament, an essay on this collection from A Museum for the People: A history of Museum Victoria and its predecessor institutions 1854-2000.