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Children with fish trap, Yirrkala
Title : Children with fish trap, Yirrkala Children with fish trap, Yirrkala
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Creator : Mountford, Charles P., photographer
Source : PRG 1218/34/2768
Date of creation : 1948
Format : Photograph
Dimensions : 60 x 60 mm
Contributor : State Library of South Australia
Catalogue record
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Copyright :

The Library received cultural clearance from the Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Art Centre, Yirrkala 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 Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Art Centre, Yirrkala. To request approval, complete the Permission to publish form.

Description :

Children with fish trap, Yirrkala

Fish formed an integral part of the diet for people living in and around the water-sources of Arnhem Land.

The children in this photograph are using a trap to gather up fish from the creek. McCarthy describes this technique as "push[ing] a roll of grass or reeds, extending the full width of a pool, from one end to the other so that the fish become stranded." (in Australia'sAborigines: their life and culture).

In addition to this method, fishing in Arnhem Land was carried out with spears, conical traps, nets and by simply trawling the shallows with hands and feet.

Children's play and children's training for future life skills can be difficult enough to separate, but when water becomes involved there is little doubt about the play aspect. Fish spears were frequently observed by anthropologists and others in the hands of even very young Aboriginal children, the length of the spear adapted to the child's height.

Coverage year : 1948
Place : Yirrkala
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

Berndt, Ronald M. and Phillips, E. S. (eds). The Australian Aboriginal heritage: an introduction through the arts, 2nd ed, Sydney: Australian Society for Education through the Arts in association with Ure Smith, 1978

Haagen, Claudia Bush toys: Aboriginal children at play Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press for the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, 1994 pp.28-29

McCarthy, Frederick D. Australia's aborigines: their life and culture, 1st ed, Melbourne: Colorgravure Publications, 1957

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

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