Painted souvenir Aboriginal shield : Alice Springs, 1942

Place Oceania: Australia, Northern Territory, Alice Springs
Accession Number REL36106
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Paint, Wood
Maker Unknown
Place made Australia: Northern Territory, Alice Springs
Date made 1942
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Elongated oval shield carved from bean wood with a handle carved into the reverse. The front is decorated in oil paint with a bush scene depicting a kangaroo, emu, kookabuurra with snake, flora and a native axe. A rectangle has been drawn in the centre under the title 'ALICE SPRINGS 1942' and the following names added in pen : Mary McIntosh S/S, H Geisler S/S , N B Alchin, S/S, ? , Captain Pelley. The remaining two signatures are illegible. Written in ink on the top reverse of the shield is 'Sh 1942'.

History / Summary

Painted and carved beanwood souvenir artifact sold by Aboriginal craftsmen in Alice Springs in 1942. This artifact and the two accompanying it (see REL36107 and REL36108) were purchased by a group of Australian nurses travelling to or from Darwin in 1942. There was a huge movement of people - servicemen and women as well as residents evacuated from Australia's northern towns and cities - passing through Alice Springs during this period. There is evidence of resident and displaced aboriginal individuals and groups selling painted or carved artifacts to travellers along this route, as well as along the main east-west route via the Nullarbor. The legible names recorded on the shield are NX70375 Lieutenant Mary Constance McIntosh (5 Australian General Hospital, enlisted 8 October 1940, demobbed 17 July 1943); SFX26185 Lieutenant Hildergarde Meta Geisler (2/6 Australian General Hospital, enlisted 7 October 1942, demobbed 1 July 1946) and SX11709 Lieutenant Lillian Brooks Allchin (109 Australian General Hospital, enlisted 7 February 1941, demobbed 16 January 1947).