Judy Watson: Skullduggery

‘Skullduggery’ highlights issues of bone hunting, collecting, and repatriation of Australian Aboriginal remains – capturing the way Indigenous people were viewed as a commodity and resource, rather than people whose lives and cultural practices should be respected. The work focuses on correspondence between Matron Agnes Kerr from Burketown Hospital (Gulf of Carpentaria), curators at the Wellcome Museum (London) and a third party regarding the trade in Australian Aboriginal people’s bones. Kerr sent the skull and breastplate of King Tiger to the Wellcome Museum. The ‘skullduggery’ letters concerned the collecting of bones of Aboriginal people, including those of King Tiger. He died on Waanyi Country, Watson’s Country.

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