Toa Collection



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391 Aboriginal toa objects mainly collected by Pastor Johann Georg Reuther, but also by Pastor Oskar Liebler.

Toas are small composite and painted artefacts made by members of the Diyari and collected by Lutheran Missionary Johann Reuther at the Killalpaninna Mission in South Australia beginning in 1904.

Reuther claimed they were use as 'signposts' on vacating a camp to tell those following where they had gone. Each toa thus represented a particular place, by way of its carved shape and painted detail.

The toas combined Aboriginal and European technologies and were made within a frontier context at the mission. They often used gypsum as substrate for painting and incorporating object such as shells, gypsum paste also hid European methods of joining pieces of wood which provided the armature. Gypsum was often used in Aboriginal mourning ceremonies.

See `Art and Land' (1986) by P. Jones & P. Sutton. Further information may be found in specimen document files. Related Collection notes: Associated archival component held in the SAM Archives collections


Aboriginal artefacts; Aboriginal culture; Aboriginal peoples (Australians)

Aboriginal material culture; Cooper Creek; MacDonnell range; O. Liebler; Pre 1905; Reuther; Toa

Aboriginal peoples; Artefacts

Pastor Johann Georg Reuther; Pastor Oskar Liebler


Coverage Temporal


Related Collections


2012-05-30 23:41

2011-03-18 23:25