Sayers Collection

David Morney Sayers




Offline Only


More than 670 Aboriginal artefacts collected by D.M. Sayers from Melville and Bathurst Islands, N.T.

Collection represents the first detailed material culture survey of Melville and Bathurst Islands, with the earliest and most complete collection of funerary (pukumani) poles and associated objects.

Restricted access to secret sacred objects

Sayers was a mining agent and merchant, based in Adelaide. During his survey trips he collected ethnographic material, probably with the assistance of Joe Cooper, buffalo shooter on Melville Island. Unfortunately, collection is poorly documented, but is contemporaneous with that gathered and documented by W.B. Spencer (also with Cooper's assistance), now in Museum Victoria. Related Collections: Collection lists, correspondence in S.A. Museum Archives, State Records Office, S.A.


Aboriginal artefacts; Aboriginal culture; Aboriginal peoples (Australians); Burial poles; Death & dying (humans)

Aboriginal material culture; Axe; Bag; Bags; Basket; Boomerang; Ceremonial objects; Club; Container; Cordage; D.M. Sayers; Drawing; Early 20th century; Fire-making; Food; Knife; Material; Medical; Message; Musical instrument; Narcotic; Ornament; Painting; Pigment; Plume; Pukumani poles; Shield; Sorcery; Spear; Spear-thrower; Tools; Toy; Tunga baskets; Watercraft

Aboriginal peoples; Artefacts; Basketwork; Ceremonial objects; Ceremonies; Indigenous medicine; Sorcery; Water transport

Anthropological specimens; Ceremonial objects; Containers; Drawings; Edged Weapons; Musical instruments; Ornaments; Paintings; Tools; Watercraft; Weapons

David Morney Sayers

Coverage Spatial

Melville Island; Bathurst Island; Arnhem Land coast; Northern territory

Coverage Temporal



Related Collections


2012-05-30 23:41

2011-03-18 18:23