Rita Metzenrath

Senior Collections Officer

Rita Metzenrath is the Senior Collections Officer at AIATSIS and has had previous roles as the Reference Librarian. Rita has a particular interest in Indigenous Astronomy, Indigenous military service and the cultures of the Torres Straits.

Blog posts by this author

Portrait of Marau with ceremonial drums

Warupaw uu (The Echo of the Drums)

MusicTorres Strait Islander culture

3 Aug 2018

You are listening to the echo of the drums, connecting you across the bridge in time… This is warupa uu “the echo of the drums…” (Ephraim Bani in Gab Titui Cultural Centre 2011) The drum has been used in sacred and secular music...

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Set designs for the Prologue and Act I, Scene 1, Artist and Set Designer: Gary Lee,  pen and ink, MS 5025, Series 3, Item 3, pg 2

A Larrakia - Filipino Love Story


27 Jul 2018

Poster, Keep him my heart: a Larrakia-Filipino love story, a play by Gary Lee, Darwin High School Tank, August 1993. Designer: Gary Lee, MS 5025, Series 3, Item 4 (Photo 1) The Gary Lee collection: ephemera 1991-2012  contains a number of...

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Pencil drawing of Ceduna Fun Fair layout

Fight for Life: The Father Dixon and the Stuart Case Papers


14 May 2018

Ave Maria or Hail Mary in Arrernte, MS 3764 Series 5, Item 6 On 10 May 1959, Catholic priest Father Tom Dixon visited Arrernte man Rupert Max Stuart at the Adelaide gaol with the expectation of preparing the prisoner for execution 12 days later...

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Sea of Hands

From Art Petition to the People's Movement for Reconciliation

ActivistsCollectionWik caseSeaofHandsPetitionsReconciliation

10 Nov 2017

On 12 October 1997, Australia awoke to the biggest art petition the nation had ever seen. Assembled on the lawns of Parliament House, Canberra were thousands of plastic hands bearing the names of individual Australians that had signed the Citizens’...

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The Bennelong Letter

The Bennelong Letter – Voice of a Wangal Diplomat

CollectionArchives and archivingLanguageHistory

21 Aug 2017

The AIATSIS Collection holds a very precious copy of what is considered to be the first known use of written English by an Aboriginal Australian. It is a copy of what is known as the 'Bennelong Letter' and represents a seminal work in Australian...

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Etching by Gustav Muetzel after Blandowski, Haddon Library, Cambridge.

The AFL's Aboriginal Origins


26 May 2017

“In playing a game at ball which they kicked about - the different totems present two different sides and there were men and women on each side eg Garchuka men and women against Wurant men and women. Johnny remembers that he, his mother, and her mother...

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Laying wreaths to commemorate those killed in Frontier Wars

Protecting Country, Serving Nation

War ServiceCeremoniesFrontier conflictNew ZealandANZAC DayBlack Diggers

5 May 2017

In a tranquil and reflective bush setting on the slopes of Mount Ainslie just behind the massive Byzantine Revival style of the Australian War Memorial is a small plaque on a lichen covered rock outcrop which reads: "Remembering the Aboriginal...

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