European discovery

European contact with Aboriginal people has had a troubled past. Colonisation caused the alienation of Aboriginal people from their traditional lands and cultural practices, including tree-carving. However, during the early 1900s a few white men became passionate about documenting and collecting the relics of what they perceived to be a dying race. Men like Robert Etheridge, Edmund Milne, Lindsay Black and Clifton Cappie Towle trekked all over rural New South Wales photographing and describing whatever they could find that related to Aboriginal material culture. The result is a vast collection of information, images and objects that have been conserved by various cultural institutions around Australia.

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