War Trophies or Curios?

The War Museum collection in Museum Victoria 1915-1920

By Barry Craig, Ron Vanderwal and Christine Winter

The occupation of German New Guinea in September 1914 was the first overseas action by the Australian navy and military forces during World War I. During occupation, over six hundred indigenous objects were seized and sent to the Department of Defence as ‘trophies of war’. In 1925, the Department decided these ‘native curios’ were unsuitable as trophies, and the collection was entrusted to the Museum of Victoria on permanent loan.

The information provided by the wartime collectors who seized these artefacts was often sparse, and at times completely inaccurate. War Trophies or Curios? provides an historical background for Australian wartime collecting and, where possible, identifies the cultural context for the objects in the collections.

This book ‘...brings the objects out of the shadows to which they have been consigned since 1921, and presents them as meaningful objects in functioning societies, not just artworks from the past.’ Dr Jim Specht, Australian Museum

Paperback, 300 pages
RRP $80.00 Information on buying our books

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