The John Stacey Collection: north-west Canada, early 20th century
In 1911 and 1912 the Australian Museum bought a total of 56 north-west Canadian Pacific coast artefacts from a Sydney accountant, Mr Frank A Wilkes, who had acquired them from "Colonel" Stacey. The collection was from the Cape Mudge people of Quadra Island in British Columbia and comprised a range of artefacts including masks, clothes, stone tools, axes, canoe models and mats.
In 1911 "Colonel" Stacey brought a troupe of Canadian indigenous dancers to Australia. The enterprise was not successful and, facing bankruptcy, he sold the artefacts (which were eventually acquired by Mr Wilkes) to raise the fares home for the troupe. In 1987 the Australian Museum, the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the Kwakwakak’wakw people agreed that, due to the cultural value and rarity of the collection, a pair of totem poles and three masks would be returned to Canada. In return, Kwakwakak’wakw artists were commissioned to produce replacements for the Australian Museum.
Early 20th century; Indigenous artefacts
Cape Mudge, Bristish Columbia, Canada