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The first UK exhibition devoted to the 60,000 year-old culture of indigenous Australians and the challenges to preserve it in the face of colonisation.

Produced in collaboration with aboriginal and Torres Strait islander individuals, this exhibition aims to explore the challenges faced by indigenous Australians between Captain Cook's invasion and the present day.

In 1770 Cook landed on the east coast of Australia where he found hundreds of different aboriginal groups with their own communities and languages. Claiming the land for the British Empire, it was ruled by foreign governance until 1901 when Australia was formed.

Included in the display is a shield believed to have been found at Botany Bay by Cook or one of his men, as well as other examples of early aboriginal objects from early naval voyages by colonists, and missionaries. Collected at a time before museums existed, they provide tangible evidence of some of the earliest moments of contact between indigenous peoples and the British.

These items are shown alongside exhibits such as a protest placard from the Aboriginal Tent Embassy established in 1972, and contemporary paintings from leading indigenous artists.

British Museum

Great Russell Street, London, Greater London, WC1B 3DG

020 7323 8181


Opening times

Daily, 10am – 5pm

Closed 24 – 26 Dec and 1 Jan

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