The untold story of the Wedge Collection

Historian and writer Dr Rebe Taylor was awarded our Inaugural Coral Thomas Fellowship in 2015, and since then she has used the Fellowship to work on a fascinating project about one of the most significant collections of south-eastern Aboriginal wooden artefacts dating from Australia’s early colonial period.

In the 1830s surveyor John Helder Wedge collected early south-eastern Aboriginal wooden artefacts from Tasmania and Victoria. They are now housed in the Saffron Walden Museum in Essex, UK.

It has been suggested that Wedge sought the artefacts out of a rare ‘humanitarian’ interest in the Indigenous people. Rebe's research draws on the collections to investigate this idea of ‘humanitarian’ interest and wonders: was there a more disturbing aspect to Wedge's collecting?

Rebe’s project sets out to tell the story of the Wedge Collection for the first time.

To learn more about Rebe’s work in this area join us for the Inaugural Coral Thomas Lecture on Thursday, 19 October at 5.30 pm.

Following her Lecture, Rebe with Richard Neville (Mitchell Librarian) and Kirsten Thorpe (Manager, Indigenous Services) will lead a Q&A with the audience on the ongoing and challenging questions surrounding Australia’s early frontier history and the collections of Indigenous cultural material in overseas museums.

Dr Rebe Taylor, 2015 Coral Thomas Fellow