The Aboriginal Memorial


The Aboriginal Memorial is a work of contemporary Indigenous Australian art from the late 1980s and is located in the National Gallery of Australia. It comprises 200 traditional hollow log coffins or pole for each year of European settlement, representing the Aboriginal people who died defending their land and denied a proper burial. The poles were made by 43 artists from Ramingining and several surrounding communities in Central Arnhem Land Northern Territory, Australia.

National Gallery of Australia in Parkes, Australia
National Gallery of Australia
Group Acknowledged: 
Aboriginal Australians
Historical Subject: 

Prior to British settlement, more than 500 Indigenous groups inhabited the Australian continent, approximately 750,000 people in total. In the 10 years that followed colonization, it's estimated that the Indigenous population of Australia was reduced by 90%. The most immediate consequence of colonisation was a wave of epidemic diseases including smallpox, measles and influenza, which spread ahead of the frontier and annihilated many Indigenous communities. The expansion of British settlements also resulted in competition over land and resources, which quickly resulted in violence. Though some Aboriginal Australians did resist, most were subjugated by massacres and the impoverishment of their communities as British settlers seized their lands.

Physical Aspects: 

Collection of 200 decorated hollow log coffins.

Place Location: