Shields

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Contents

History

Two varieties of shield was used in southeastern Australia. One type, known as the parrying shield, was designed for parrying forceful blows of clubs during individual combat. It was solid and narrow and made from a single billet of dense wood.[1] The shields needed to be strong to ward off blows so were made from heavy hardwood. The hand grips were cut into the timber. [2]

The other type was broad and thin with a convex outer shape and concave under surface. It was constructed of bark or cambium, with a handle carved from the solid wood, or formed separately and attached by pushing in into two holes bored through the centre of the shield. This type of shield, known as a broad shield or spear shield, was used to deflect sharply barbed spears. [3]

The outer of front surfaces of shields from southeastern Australia were incised with stone or tooth implements, or painted or stained with substances such as ochre, charcoal, pipe clay, blood and fats. At times both methods of decoration were utilised. Designs were typically cross-hatching, herring bone, zig-zag, chevron, interlocking diamond and rhombic forms. [4]

Shields were used in dances and ceremonies, as well as for fighting. [5] Traditionally designs were carved into the wood using a possum-jaw engraver, resulting in individual tooling gouges. Designs carved with post contact steel implements do not have the jagged edges of the traditional technique. [6]

Innovations

Legacies

Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Register

Aboriginal objects and heritage places are irreplaceable, non-renewable resources and can include traditional and spiritual sites of significance. The Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Register (VAHR) was established by the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 is an important administrative tool and holds the details of all known Aboriginal cultural heritage places and objects within Victoria, including their location and a detailed description. Places or objects are recorded by cultural heritage advisors on forms which are approved under the Act. The Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Register is not a publicly accessible register because it contains culturally sensitive information. Registered Aboriginal Parties (RAPs) play a key role in the protection and management of Aboriginal cultural heritage. The Register holds information of each Registered Aboriginal party, their area of responsibility and contact details. [7]

The Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 requires that the discovery of Aboriginal cultural heritage places or objects on any public or private land in Victoria be reported to Aboriginal Affairs Victoria - see http://www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/indigenous/aboriginal-cultural-heritage/information-for-landowners/reporting-a-possible-aboriginal-place-or-object

If you are the custodian of a Victorian Aboriginal object or place you are encouraged to document it on the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Register by contacting Aboriginal Affairs Victoria to arrange to complete the form located at http://www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/35607/Victroian_Aboriginal_Heritage_Register_Form_Sept_2008.pdf.

How to care for and register Aboriginal objects and heritage places is further explained via an 11 minute video available at http://cv.vic.gov.au/stories/the-aboriginal-object-collection-at-dunkeld-museum/


Recommended Reading

References

  1. Sibtain, Nancy (Ed) Aboriginal Australia, Australian Gallery Directors Council Ltd, Sydney, New South Wales, p32.
  2. Coutts, P.J.F., Readings in Victorian Prehistory Vol 2: The Victorian Aboriginals 1800 to 1860, Victorian Archaeological Survey, 1981
  3. Sibtain, Nancy (Ed) Aboriginal Australia, Australian Gallery Directors Council Ltd, Sydney, New South Wales, p32.
  4. Sibtain, Nancy (Ed) Aboriginal Australia, Australian Gallery Directors Council Ltd, Sydney, New South Wales, p32-33.
  5. Sibtain, Nancy (Ed) Aboriginal Australia, Australian Gallery Directors Council Ltd, Sydney, New South Wales, p33.
  6. Sibtain, Nancy (Ed) Aboriginal Australia, Australian Gallery Directors Council Ltd, Sydney, New South Wales, p87.
  7. http://www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/indigenous/aboriginal-cultural-heritage/Victorian-aboriginal-heritage-register


Further Reading

Sibtain, Nancy (Ed) Aboriginal Australia, Australian Gallery Directors Council Ltd, Sydney, New South Wales.

External Links

http://www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/indigenous/aboriginal-cultural-heritage/aboriginal-heritage-act-2006

http://www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/indigenous/aboriginal-cultural-heritage/aboriginal-heritage-act-2006/guides-and-forms

http://www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/indigenous/aboriginal-heritage-council/registered-aboriginal-parties


--C.K.Gervasoni 14:18, 14 August 2012 (EST)

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