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Indigenous Voices


Join the celebration

Monash University Library proudly presents Indigenous Voices in three forms: art, print and digital.

Each form explores an aspect of the First Nations’ history, language and culture. Together, the three forms weave stories that project Indigenous Voices for Library visitors to see, read, hear and understand.

Explore the art

The work of Indigenous artists has a strong presence throughout the Sir Louis Matheson Library. This ranges from art that continues traditional practices through to new work in digital photography.

  • Kulata Tjuta (spears in flight) 2012-2014 is a major installation acquired especially for the Library. The work comprises 277 hand-carved spears made by a group of senior men working with young men from the Amata community in South Australia and with Jonathan Jones, a Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi artist based in Sydney.
  • Maree Clarke’s Thung-ung Coorang (kangaroo teeth necklace) 2013 revives a cultural tradition that had not been practised for more than a century. The work combines women’s and men’s business, Clarke collaborating with Rocky and Len Tragonning.
  • Clarke’s On the banks of the Murray 2017, are large lenticular photographic prints using contemporary technology to evoke stories of country, family and history through images of her birthplace at the Balranald mission on Mutti Muti country in New South Wales.
  • Tasmanian Trawlwoolway artist, Vicki West, also maintains culture through her art practice. She has learned from Elders to make vessels from kalikina (bull kelp), a traditional practice unique to Tasmania and therefore asserts and celebrates cultural survival.
  • Photographs by Bindi Cole Chocka, Ricky Maynard, James Tylor and Fiona Foley also convey stories of place, identity, history and culture.

Text: Clare Williamson, Guest Curator

Watch the installation of the spears.

Learn the history

"We refuse to be pushed into the background. We have decided to make ourselves heard."

Jack Patten, Day of Mourning Protest, 1938

Australia's historical and political records regularly omit Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives on the ongoing struggle for Indigenous rights. Their experiences are often framed solely from the view point of relations between Indigenous Australians and Europeans, or as a modern phenomenon that came into being as a result of the Civil Rights movements of the mid twentieth century.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a long history of resisting colonialism, fighting for their rights, and protesting injustice. Stories of these struggles for rights are well known within communities, having been passed on through oral traditions since 1788. They are recorded in Indigenous journalism, art, literature, academia, and now in the online landscape. These voices of protest have always been imaginative and resourceful, combining Federal advocacy with regional leadership, and engaging in direct action, community programs, consultation, and promoting cultural diversity.

This exhibition from Monash University Library Special Collections showcases some of the creativity of Indigenous communities in print.

Special Collections Exhibition
Curators: Anne Holloway, Zac Kendal, Mia Goodwin

View the online version of the catalogue.


Dates: 12 November 2018 – 22 June 2019
Hours: Monday to Friday 8am–5pm
Venue: The Gallery, Sir Louis Matheson Library, 40 Exhibition Walk, Clayton campus

Hear and see the stories

Using the latest 3D animation technology Indigenous stories and languages come to life. They also come larger on the digital wall in the Matheson Library. You can watch the videos and use the iPad and earphones to hear the sound.

The Monash Country Lines Archive (MCLA) began in 2011 to work in partnership with Indigenous Australian communities in their language preservation. MCLA supports the existing system the Indigenous communities already have with 3D animation as tools to reengage and revitalise interest in language continuation, by reconnecting language and its people, and to assist in the preservation of language.

Language preservation by Indigenous communities also reinforces Indigenous rights in protecting their cultural and intellectual property, through the preservation and archiving of history, knowledge, songs, and performance contained within their language. Visit MCLA’s website to learn more about their work.


Indigenous Voices is made possible through a collaboration between Monash University Library and partners:

  • Monash Country Lines Archive
  • Monash Indigenous Studies Centre – Elizabeth Eggleston Memorial Collection
  • Yulendj Indigenous Engagement Unit
  • Monash University Museum of Art
  • State Library of Victoria