Aboriginal Memorial


This work commemorates the indigenous Australians of the Central Arnhem Land who since 1788 have died defending their land from European settlers.

Canberra, Australia
Government (National Gallery of Australia)
Group Acknowledged: 
The Aboriginal People in the Arnhem Land
Historical Subject: 

The people of Central and Eastern Arnhem Land referring to themselves collectively as Yolngu: meaning human beings. The logs making up the memorial are based on the Dupun Ceremony, which is practiced to ensure the safe arrival of the spirit of the deceased from the earth to the land of the dead.

Physical Aspects: 

The memorial is comprised of 200 hollow log coffins that imitate the course of the Glyde River estuary which flows through the Arafura Swamp to the sea. The hollow log coffins are situated broadly according to where the artists' clans live along the river and its tributaries. The different painting styles of the groupings of logs represent common ancestors, land, language, and social affiliations. 

Date of Dedication: 
Place Location: