18 January 2023

Seven Wiradyuri objects return to Wagga ahead of new exhibition

| Chris Roe
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Aboriginal Artefacts

Aunty Cheryl Penrith inspects the seven Wiradyuri objects before their journey from Sydney to Wagga. Photo: Museum of the Riverina.

Those who follow the Museum of the Riverina’s (MoR) social media feed would be aware that something very special is happening to celebrate the region’s rich Aboriginal heritage.

Well-known local Wiradyuri Elder, Aunty Cheryl Penrith has arrived back in Wagga after travelling to Sydney to oversee the transfer of seven artefacts from the Australian Museum.

The MoR has documented Aunty Cheryl’s journey through a series of photographs as she inspected the objects at the museum and participated in a handover ceremony before making the journey home.

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They explained that the handover was part of “a long-term process in consultation with the Mawang Gaway Wiradyuri Gallery Reference Group,” and that “these objects will form a significant part of the stories told in the new exhibition.”

The collection, which includes a throwing stick, a parrying shield, a variety of clubs and a digging implement, will be displayed in a new exhibition space at the redeveloped Botanic Gardens site that is due to be opened to the public early this year.

Aunty Cheryl Penrith

Raymond Weatherall performs a Smoking Ceremony as part of the handover. Photo: Museum of the Riverina.

Before the objects left the Australian Museum grounds, Raymond Weatherall gave an Acknowledgement of Country and performed a Smoking Ceremony.

“Smoked some people with garruwi (sandalwood) and seven artefacts that are magnificent pieces of craftmanship before their journey to Wiradyuri Country,” he wrote on Facebook along with photos of a small crowd gathering with the objects for the traditional ceremony.

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Protocols were carefully observed at each stage of the journey as the objects made their way to Wagga.

The team included staff from both the Australian Museum and the Museum of the Riverina and they paused in Jugiong to mark the entry into Wiradyuri Country.

Aunty Cheryl Penrith

The team paused in Jugiong to mark the entry into Wiradyuri Country. Photo: Museum of the Riverina.

They then continued on to Wagga, where they were proudly welcomed back to Wiradyuri Country and the moment was shared this morning (18 January) with community members.

The objects will not be officially presented to the public until next month, but Region will continue to follow preparations and looks forward to sharing the story of these remarkable artefacts that represent an important reclamation of our story.

You can keep up with the latest on the Museum of the Riverina’s Facebook page here or on the website here.

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