Great Moments in Indigenous History

Dja Dja Wurrung Bite British Museum over Barks

Gary Murray and Dja Dja Wurrung Bark

Dja Dja Wurrung leader Gary Murray became the first person in history to outdo the British Museum at their own game when he gained an emergency declaration under Cultural Heritage Protection legislation to confiscate two bark etchings that were made by Dja Dja Wurrung people 120 years ago. The barks had been in the collection of the British Museum for the past 120 years and had been loaned for exhibition the the Melbourne Museum.

This action has generated a major international incident with the British Government, the British Museum and other similar institutions throughout Europe claiming that Murray's action would threaten future international loans to Melbourne Museum of indigenous material. However a Senior Curator in the Indigenous Cultures Department of the Melbourne Museum, Gary Foley, said that this was ridiculous as the British Museum had never in the 150 year history of the Melbourne Museum ever lent it any other indigenous materials at all.

At the time of writing the battle of the Barks continues. Read more by clicking here.

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