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Two boys playing with a canoe
Title : Two boys playing with a canoe Two boys playing with a canoe
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Creator : Mountford, Charles P. (Charles Pearcy), 1890-1976 photographer
Source : PRG 1218/34/2644
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 boys playing with a wooden toy canoe, Groote Eylandt.

These children are playing with a scaled-down version of a bark canoe which they may have built themselves or had adult help to make. 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 building and operating fish traps, constructing and floating small rafts, using 'model' spears and hunting sticks, and learning to identify 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.

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

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

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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