Summary

This headdress is evidence of the presence of rabbits in central Australia by the late nineteenth century. Prior to this, such ornaments were made with the tails of marsupials whose populations were greatly reduced as a consequence of the spread of this species that was introduced into mainland Australia in 1859. This was made to be worn in ceremonies of the Wangkanguru people, and is believed to have been made and/or used in 1897 in the north-east region of South Australia. The collector is thought to be Bryan Charles Besley whose sister donated this to the museum. In the 1920s George Horne (1861-1927) observed charpoos being worn during ceremonies by both men and women for a 'mindiri' ceremony to welcome visitors to their country. Such ceremonies, involving rituals conducted by both the hosts and the guests, gave the visitors short-term rights to use local water and food supplies.

Physical Description

A head ornament made of the tips of rabbit tails tied with sinews and string spun from marsupial fur.

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