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The J.T. Tunney Collection

Tunney Collection



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A collection of ethnographic objects and photographs compiled by J.T. Tunney during the period 1895 - 1903, as part of his role as Western Australian Museum Collector.

In 1895 John T. Tunney was appointed Museum Collector, a position dedicted to the acquisition of natural history and anthropological material for the emerging Western Australian Museum. For the next ten years Tunney made a number of trips across the length and breadth of Western Australia and also worked along the South Alligator River of the Northern Territory. During this time Tunney collected more than 1500 objects and took a number of images of Aboriginal people from the Murchison, Kimberley and Northern Territory. Interestingly Tunney enjoyed more success collecting Aboriginal cultural material in the Northern Territory than in Western Australia. The collection is siginificant as a record of the availability of objects in the late nineteenth/early twentieth century and as a record of the collecting practices of colonial museums during this period. The collection is also accompanied by the letters sent by Tunney to the director of the Museum Bernard Woodward and provides insights into the process of collecting at that time.

The collection is not subject to copyright but the Museum requests community approval prior to the reproduction of any of the items.

Available by appointment-

The collection contained a number of sets of Aboriginal Ancestral Remains, which have either been returned to community or are the subject of the Museum's ongoing repatriation program.


Aboriginal; Artefacts; Ethnography; Kimberley; Murchison; Northern Territory; Perth; Photographs; Pilbara; Tunney; Woodward

Aboriginal artefacts; Aboriginal culture; Aboriginal peoples (Australians); Anthropologists; Letters; Photography

Aboriginal peoples; Collecting; Indigenous Australian peoples; Letters (Correspondence); Photography

Anthropological specimens; Letters; Photographs

Bernard Woodward; Conigrave; John T. Tunney; Lipfert; Morton; Rothschild

Coverage Spatial

Koparlgo Mission; South Alligator River; Kimberley; Perth; Pilbara; Murchison; Western Australia; Northern Territory

Coverage Temporal



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2011-03-24 15:52