Reuther Collection

Pastor Johann Georg Reuther (1861-1914)




Offline Only


Close to 1000 Aboriginal artefacts at Killalpaninna (Bethesda) Lutheran Mission, Cooper Creek, S.A., collected by Reuther, late 1890s - 1905.

After training at Neuendettelsau Seminary in Germany, Reuther arrived at Killalpaninna Mission in 1888. His evangelical efforts were founded upon knowledge of the language, beliefs and traditions of the Diyari and related groups. This focused interest resulted in a joint translation of the New Testament into the Diyari language (with fellow missionary, Carl Strehlow), and the compilation of a 14 volume manuscript, including a detailed description of the ethnographic collection. This collection also comprised the only documented collection of 'toas', proposed by Reuther to be 'direction posts', but likely to be new and unprecedented artefacts produced in response to Reuther's strong interest in place-names, mythology and ethnography.

Out of copyright

Restricted access to secret sacred objects

Further information may be found in specimen document files. See Art and Land (1986) by P. Jones & P. Sutton (Wakefield Press, Adelaide) and P. Jones (2007) 'Unearthing the toas', pp.225-81) in Ochre and Rust. Artefacts and Encounters on Australian Frontiers (Wakefield Press, Adelaide). Related colection note: Associated archival component held in the SAM Archives collections (AA266).


Aboriginal artefacts; Aboriginal culture; Aboriginal peoples (Australians); Food

Aboriginal material culture; Axe; Bag; Bags; Basket; Boomerang; Ceremonial objects; Club; Container; Cordage; Fire-making; Food; Johann Georg Reuther; Knife; Late 19th to early 20th century; Material; Medical; Message; Musical instrument; Narcotic; Ornament; Pigment; Plume; Shield; Sorcery; Spear; Spear-thrower; Toy

Aboriginal peoples; Artefacts; Ceremonial objects; Drugs; Indigenous foods; Indigenous medicine; Musical instruments; Pigments; Sorcery; Toys

Anthropological specimens; Ceremonial objects; Containers; Edged Weapons; Personal adornments; Projectile weapons; Tools; Toys; Weapons

Carl Strehlow; Pastor Johann Georg Reuther

Coverage Spatial

Lake Hope; Central Australia; Cooper Creek; Killalpaninna Mission; Lake Eyre; South Australia; Bethesda Mission; Kopperamanna Mission

Coverage Temporal



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2012-05-30 23:41

2011-03-18 18:33