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Sunday 26 February 2023

Indigenous culture on display in Wagga Wagga

There is a new reason to visit the Museum of the Riverina in Wagga Wagga with the opening of the new Wiradyuri Gallery at the Botanic Gardens site.

Seven significant cultural objects from the Australian Museum's First Nations collection will be on display as a highlight of the gallery's offering.

The seven objects, a parrying shield, a shovel and five clubs, have a deep connection to the area as they were all collected around the 1860s on Ganmain Station on Wiradjuri/Wiradyuri Country.

The selection of the long-term loan objects was undertaken in consultation with the Wagga Wagga-based Indigenous Reference Group Mawang Gaway, chaired by Aunty Isabel Reid.

Wiradjuri/Wiradyuri Elder Aunty Cheryl Penrith said: “I am honoured to be a part of the return of these significant cultural objects from the Ganmain collection held at the Australian Museum back to the Museum of the Riverina on Wiradjuri/Wiradyuri Country.

“I acknowledge and pay respect Yindyamarra to our ancestors. The Elders involved in the process are extremely proud and excited these significant objects will be on display and home on Wiradjuri/Wiradyuri Country. Thank you Yindyamarra.”

The redeveloped Museum of the Riverina opens to the public at the end of the month.

Laura McBride, director, First Nations, Australian Museum, a Wailwan and Kooma woman, said these objects travelling back to Country is part of the Australian Museum’s commitment to facilitating long-term loans to communities and regional museums to increase accessibility for Aboriginal peoples to their cultural objects.

"Undertaking long-term loans is a way in which we can return objects back on Country, so they are more easily accessible to their communities,” McBride said.

“When museums loan objects, they also support the conservation, display and research of the objects. Through the loan of objects, museums also help regional museums that might not have the resources of the major cultural institutions.

“It’s so special these objects are going home; I look forward to seeing them displayed on their own Country and interpreted by their own peoples when the new gallery opens.”


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