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The William Dixson Collection: Australia, Pacific, early 20th century
A collection of approximately 1,500 artefacts donated to the museum by Sir William Dixson (1870 – 1952) The majority of the collection consists of Australian artefacts mostly weapons, including spears, clubs, boomerangs, spear heads and arrows. Also included are artefacts from New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
Sir William Dixson (1870 – 1952), a successful Sydney businessman and philanthropist, was a major contributor of artefacts to the Australian Museum. Between 1912 and 1951 he donated approximately 1,500 objects, most of which are from Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
Unfortunately, there are few documents discussing his donations or the provenance of the artefacts. The existing correspondence between Dixson and the Australian Museum and his personal papers contain no references to the human network which brought the artefacts to Dixson. There is no available documentation citing that Dixson himself travelled to, or worked in, the Pacific. The balance of his life was spent in NSW, mostly in Sydney. At least twice, Sir William Dixson purchased entire, or partial, collections from other people.
In 1912 Dixson's first donation to the museum was accepted, consisting of 944 artefacts. The majority of the collection consists of Australian artefacts which had been acquired by Harry Stockdale, most are weapons, including spears, clubs, boomerangs, spear heads and arrows. With the 1912 donation is an article and appended catalogue written by Harry Stockdale which gives brief descriptions and usage information for the objects collected by him. Some of these objects may have originally been collected by Stockdale's uncle, Edward Stockdale who was a squatter in South Australia in the early 1800s.
Early 20th century; Indigenous artefacts
Australia Guinea; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea