‘It has been a long and exciting journey waiting for the ducks to migrate back home. Returning from overseas is significant and their story is an opportunity to share cultural knowledge to the wider community.’
River Murray and Mallee Aboriginal Corporation (RMMAC) on behalf of the community.
River Murray and Mallee community return
|Number of objects||Return destination||Institution||Dates|
3 decoy ducks
|Berri, SA||Private collector, New York||
Three duck decoys were returned to the First Peoples of the River Murray and Mallee community in South Australia, from a private collector in the USA.
The ducks arrived at AIATSIS on 26 November 2021 for temporary storage while further consultations with the River Murray and Mallee Aboriginal Corporation took place.
‘These decoys are practical, everyday tools. But they also record local history and the culture behind that history. The return of these decoys to Country is a very practical measure for fulfilling the AIATSIS purpose in strengthening and promoting knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage.’
Craig Ritchie, CEO AIATSIS.
Research by AIATSIS and the SA Native Title Services established that the decoys were painted by Robert Joseph Tarby Mason, known as ‘Old Joey’ or ‘Uncle Tarby’, of the Nganguruku and Ngarkat language groups.
The decoys were returned to Berri, South Australia, on 12 November 2022.
‘These little decoy ducks tell a fascinating story of Indigenous hunting practices in the River Murray and Mallee Regions of South Australia. The return after more than 50 years will support the transfer of cultural knowledge for future generations.’
The Honourable Linda Burney MP, Minister for Indigenous Australians.