Collage of objects from the exhibition Wadgayawa Nhay Dhadjan Wari

Wadgayawa Nhay Dhadjan Wari

(they made them a long time ago)

Exhibition Information

Exhibition Galleries

1 Shakespeare Place
Sydney NSW 2000
+61 2 9273 1414

These significant Aboriginal objects were removed from Country around 200 years ago. They have travelled back to Sydney so that Aboriginal communities can reconnect with them and rebuild and share knowledge and understanding about how they were made and used.

When they were taken away, no information was recorded about the people who made them or how they were acquired, and they have been largely ‘asleep’ in overseas institutions ever since.

― Noeleen Timbery, Chairperson, La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council 

The 30 belongings have been selected by members of the La Perouse Aboriginal community from five different cultural institutions across the United Kingdom. 

The exhibition provides a rare opportunity for visitors to see traditional objects from Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour) and Botany Bay, as well as a few from the Shoalhaven River and Port Stephens regions.   

The exhibition is part of a larger project, funded by the Australian Research Council, to bring a selection of objects back to Country for Community members to see up close and to work alongside historians, archaeologists, anthropologists, scientists and curators to learn more about them. 

The State Library is an approved borrowing institution under the Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan Scheme. Further information about the Scheme and the Library’s responsibilities are outlined here.

The research project

The exhibition is part of a project, Mobilising Aboriginal Objects: Indigenous History in International Museums.

The research project is based in the School of History at the Australian National University (ANU) and has been funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC).

Australian National University Logo
Logo for Australian Research Council

Banner image photographs: Shield © National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh. Boomerang, string bag, fishhooks © The Trustees of the British Museum Hatchet © University of Cambridge, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Flared club courtesy Southwark Council, photographer Gary Black.


Curatorial team and community co-researchers

Ray Ingrey, Gujaga Foundation; and Noeleen Timbery, La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council working with community representatives.