Torres Strait artefacts return to Australia

12 June 2002, Australia

One of the most culturally significant collections of Torres Strait Islander artefacts has returned to Australia for the first time in more than 100 years, providing 'an exceptional record of the knowledge and traditions of the region’s social and cultural history', Queensland Minister for the Arts Matt Foley, noted in a media release. The 'Past Time: Torres Strait Islander Material from the Haddon Collection, 1888-1905' displays some 60 items, commissioned and collected by Alfred Haddon and his expedition team, during his two trips to the Islands, including; a large range of masks, headdresses, dance ornaments, musical instruments and personal ornaments from the islands of Mer and Mabuig. The collection had previously been housed at Cambridge University where, upon his return to the U.K, Haddon had made detailed records of his expeditions. The collection became the foundation for the development of social anthropology at the University. The exhibition, was initiated by the National Museum of Australia and the University of Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology with the assistance of the Torres Strait Island community. The exhibition is on display at the Cairns Regional Gallery, Queensland and is open until the 8th September, 2002.