Painted souvenir Aboriginal coolamon : Alice Springs, 1942

Place Oceania: Australia, Northern Territory, Alice Springs
Accession Number REL36107
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 coolamon or food carrier, carved from bean wood. The curved base of the coolamon is decorated in oil paint with a bush scene depicting a kangaroo, emu, a pair of Aboriginal men with boomerang and spear, a kookaburra, flora and a native axe. The inside has been carved out to made a hollow shape, and 'PC 1942' has been marked in ink on the top.

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 REL36106 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.