Australia is a nation of campers, but while most museums hold some items of camping equipment, significant material has not yet been acquired – largely because there has been no history of camping with which to constitute camping as a distinct field. This article looks at some instances of how material culture can shape such a history and how a focused history can lend much deeper meaning to familiar items of gear. Working together they can generate a fresh approach to the story of settlement in which the practices and technology of camping move from the margins to the foreground.
Displaying the decorative
An exhibition history of La Perouse Aboriginal women’s shellwork
by Maria Nugent
Produced almost continuously since the late nineteenth century, La Perouse shellwork has been widely exhibited in a range of contexts. However, like some other commodities made by Aboriginal women under colonial conditions, it was long ignored by museums. That situation has changed over the past 30 years, and this paper examines the conditions under which Aboriginal women’s shellwork was eventually collected and displayed by public museums and art galleries, and explores the ways in which it is interpreted within them.