Elizabeth Willis, Museum Victoria, 30/06/2018
“A subsequent article, ‘Reminiscences of old Avenel’, by ‘E.S.’, published in the Seymour Express, 6 July 1917, p.3, gives more details, and possibly the name of the woman who made the basket in your collection. The relevant section reads:
‘There were a small number of blacks about the district in the [18]70s, and the chief of the tribe was Captain John, a fine type of the Australian aborigine. His lubra was familiarly known as ‘Biddy’ who, after his death, married a half caste by the name of John Ennis. She was of an industrious turn of mind and many baskets and mats were woven by her, some of which are still about. They were cleverly made from rushes which grew along the banks of the creek, and she would never allow anyone to see her at work on them. Their camping ground was on the estate of Mr Lloyd Jones, and not very far from his homestead. Hunting and fishing were their chief means of livelihood, and the residents had always a kindly feeling for them.’
Of course we have to examine and consider these reminiscences with more than a usual level of care, but I think that it is interesting that there were apparently an extended family of Aboriginal people still on the Avenel station in the 1870s, after many Victorian Aborigines had been moved off their traditional lands and into various mission stations.
Accession Loan No.
Collection Class
Common Name
Simple Name
Full Name
woven bag
whole length 351 mm; whole W 265 mm
Production Date
Production Year High
Production County
?Queensland or South-eastern Australia
Production Country
Production Area Region
Australia and New Zealand
Production Continent
Family Group

vegetable fibre
Collection Continent

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