Alert

  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this exhibition includes names and artwork of deceased people.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture is strongly entwined with the sea.

This exhibition takes us on a journey from Tasmania to Far North Queensland and the Torres Strait, exploring their deep connection through art and adornments. 

Eora means 'first people' in the language of the Darug, traditional owners of the land the museum now stands on.

Precious works include:

  • Elaborately carved and painted Pukumani burial poles from the Tiwi people
  • Hollow log coffins decorated with the story of Mäna the shark. Following a funeral ceremony still practised today, the bones of the deceased are placed in the top of the log coffin.
  • Ceremonial sculptures and handwoven works from Arnhem Land and Cape York
  • Delicate shell work from Tasmania
  • Spectacular headdresses, body ornaments and dance machines of the Torres Strait.

Special feature: Saltwater - Yirrkala Bark Paintings of Sea Country

This series of paintings explains the spiritual and legal basis of the Yolngu's claim on the Saltwater Country of north-east Arnhem Land. The stories were painted to teach the Balander (stranger or white people) about the lore and law of the Yolngu people. The collection is a record of sacred lore based on the wisdom of thousands of lifetimes.

"... They represent a social history; an encyclopaedia of the environment; a place; a site; a season; a being; a song; a dance; a ritual; an ancestral story and a personal history."

Djon Mundine, OAM, Aboriginal curator, on the Saltwater paintings

Living Knowledge website

This site is part of a three year Australian Research Council (ARC) research project Indigenous knowledge and Western science pedagogy: a comparative approach. The project aims to determine the most effective ways of incorporating Indigenous knowledge within the NSW secondary school science curricula.

Learn more