Untitled (The theft of the White men's sheep)

Accession Number AWM2020.156.1
Collection type Art
Measurement Sheet: 80 x 100 cm
Object type Photograph
Physical description Inkjet on cotton rag
Maker Millar-Baker, Hayley
Place made Australia: Victoria, Melbourne
Date made 2018

Item copyright: AWM Licensed copyright


'Untitled (The theft of the White men's sheep)' is part of Hayley Millar-Baker's 'A Series of Unwarranted Events', 2018.

'A Series of Unwarranted Events' relates to the frontier violence faced by Millar-Baker's ancestors, the Gunditjmara people, in the 19th century. These events include the destruction of the ancestral lands, and murders of her ancestors, and the forced indoctrination to Christianity.

'For Untitled (The theft of the White men's sheep)' the artist digitally stitches together images that are drawn from her grandfather’s archive, family albums, and her own treasured moments captured on and off Country. This composite photograph includes a colonial homestead, volcanic boulder-filled landscape, and three superimposed sheep in the centre. The sheep were a common animal stolen from colonisers - a crime which was often used as justification for the hunting down and murdering of local Aboriginal people. Following raids on stations, the Gunditjmara melted away into surrounding swamps or the crags and rocky outcrops around Budj Bim. It was difficult and dangerous terrain for a pursuer to enter on horseback.

Artist statement:

“The Eumeralla Wars began on Gunditjmara Country in 1834 and continued through to 1849. During this time of frontier violence, the Gunditjmara used the large expanse of volcanic hills as a base from which they would launch their attacks and revenges against the colonisers who dispossessed them. The Eumeralla Wars witnessed countless unprovoked and redundant killings upon the Gunditjmara, too often simply in the name of eliminating the Aboriginals from Colonist view.”