A shield and two spears collected when Lieutenant James Cook first set foot in Botany Bay in 1770 are among the rare artefacts on display in the landmark exhibition, Encounters: Revealing Stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Objects from the British Museum, now on show at the National Museum.
Reaching back to 1770, these objects are touchstones of the many encounters that occurred in Australia between first and settler peoples — encounters that changed the course of people’s lives in this country forever.
In a first ever collaboration with the British Museum that explores Australia’s shared history and commemorates the enduring continuity of culture in Indigenous communities, Encounters follows extensive engagement with the 27 Aboriginal and Torres Strait communities from where the objects were first acquired.
Most of the 151 British Museum objects on display in Encounters have not been seen in Australia since they were first acquired in contacts between early settlers and first Australians, across all states and territories between 1770 and the 1930s. The diverse range of objects includes weapons, tools, baskets and artworks, alongside 138 contemporary Indigenous objects and art works from the communities represented in the exhibition.
Entry to the exhibition is free. Timed tickets are available at the door but we recommend you book online. Visit www.nma.gov.au/encounters for more details.
Only on show at the National Museum of Australia, Canberra until 28 March 2016.