Carved animal

Photography Carl Warner

Photography Carl Warner

Photography Carl Warner

Registration number
Item name
Carved animal 
Indigenous name
Associated cultural group
Australia > Australia > Queensland > Cape York region > Aurukun
Reverend William Frederick MacKenzie 
Acquisition date
January 01, 1959 
Acquisition method
by Reverend William Frederick MacKenzie 
H: W: L: D: Circum:



Research notes

One of a series of 15 carvings (7813 to 7832) related to the Arplitch (meaning blue water or salt water) dance.

The story connected to this dance relates that long, long ago two young men named Poolotchinum showed it to the people of the Sand Beach in the area between the Love River or Tokalee, a small river running into the Gulf about 15 miles south of the Archer River, as far south as a place called Ngoolmoonka which is about 10 miles south of Cape Keerweer or Kundratunna as it is called by the people of the area. The dance is not an initiation dance, but it can only be danced by men who have passed the second degree of initiation, called Winchinum, and these same degree of men are the only ones who are allowed to see it. The dance was first danced on a small island which is now a submerged sand bank about 5 miles south east of the Kirke River where it runs into the Gulf on Cape Keerweer.

In honour of the visit of Sir Henry Abel-Smith, then Governor of Queensland, to Aurukun on 4 & 5 September 1958, the men decided to show publicly the Arplitch dance. Totemic representations were afterwards given to Rev MacKenzie who forwarded them to the Museum.

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