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Two men standing at a tree with bark removed for canoes
Title : Two men standing at a tree with bark removed for canoes Two men standing at a tree with bark removed for canoes
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Date of creation : ca. 1900
Format : Photograph
Dimensions : 105 x 150 mm
Contributor : State Library of South Australia
Catalogue record
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Copyright : This item is reproduced courtesy of the Riverland Aboriginal Cultural Association. It may be printed or saved for research or study. Use for any other purpose requires written permission from the Riverland Aboriginal Cultural Association and the State Library of South Australia. To request approval, complete the Permission to publish form.
Description :

Two European men standing by a tree, scarred with past bark removal by Aboriginal people, for making bark canoes, possibly Waikerie or Kroehns Landing.

Aboriginal communities living along the rivers of south-eastern Australia cut the bark from trees to build canoes. This practice was particularly prevalent along the River Murray and its tributaries and has left an abundance of what we now call 'canoe trees'. The plentiful river red gums (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) around the Murray provided perfect bark for the building of canoes. While the bark was still fresh and supple, it was fashioned into a boat-like shape. The canoes were often propelled by the use of a long shaft like a punt. The canoes did not have a long life as prolonged immersion in water caused the bark sheets to become sodden. For this reason, the canoes were used for fishing and crossing rivers rather than for extended journeys.

Period : 1884-1913
Region : Riverland and Murraylands
Further reading :

Edwards, Robert. Aboriginal bark canoes of the Murray Valley, Adelaide: Rigby for the South Australian Museum, 1972



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