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Two children playing with a canoe
Title : Two children playing with a canoe Two children playing with a canoe

 


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Creator : Mountford, Charles P. (Charles Pearcy), 1890-1976 photographer
Source : PRG 1218/34/2756
Date of creation : 1948
Format : Photograph
Dimensions : 60 x 60 mm
Catalogue record
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Copyright :

The Library received cultural clearance from the Umbakumba Community Council Inc, Groote Eylandt, to display this image. Reproduction rights are owned by State Library of South Australia.
This image may be printed or saved for personal research or study. Use for any other purpose requires permission from the State Library of South Australia and the Umbakumba Community Council Inc.
To request approval, complete the Permission to publish form.

Description :

Two Aboriginal children playing in a wooden toy canoe on a beach, Groote Eylandt.


These children are playing in a miniature bark canoe which they may have made by themselves or with adult help. By learning how to build and handle a canoe, and imitating other adult life skills, the children were prepared for the roles they would undertake when they grew up.

Other similar play activities would have included constructing and floating small rafts, building and working fish traps, using child-sized spears and hunting sticks, and identifying animal tracks by copying them in the sand. Co-operating and learning to complete tasks together would benefit everyone. Activities were representative of gender roles so boys would practice hunting and girls digging for food and child care. Through these activities children developed their knowledge of the waters, land and animals, and of their culture and traditions. In much the same way white children would play at adult tasks, as an imitation of the activities of parents and other adults, but never with the same emphasis on survival skills.

This image of small boys with their boat bears comparison with images of white Australian children playing with toy boats. The fascination with water and things that float crosses cultures.

This image has been reproduced with the kind permission of the Umbakumba Community Council.

Subjects
Related names :

American-Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem Land, (1948)

Coverage year : 1948
Place : Arnhem Land
Region : Northern Territory
Further reading :

American-Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem Land, (1948). Records of the American-Australian scientific expedition to Arnhem Land, Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1956-1964.

Haagen, Claudia, Bush toys: Aboriginal children at play, Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press for the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, 1994

Poignant, Axel., Bush walkabout, London: Angus and Robertson, 1972.

Thomson, Donald F., Children of the wilderness, South Yarra, Vic. Currey O'Neil, distributed by Gordon & Gotch, 1983
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