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Sedge eel trap

This eel trap is by Joyce Moate, a Taungwurrung elder. In 1995, the museum purchased the first basket Joyce had made. An eel trap was then commissioned for the opening exhibitions of the Immigration Museum. The trap, like the basket, is an extraordinary piece, with no known equivalent in any museum collection.

Joyce acknowledges the influences of 19th-century baskets made by women at Coranderrk Aboriginal Station together with photographs taken there: ‘That’s the first basket I made. It’s like the old ones. Dot Peters taught me but I only had three stitches. I learned from the photos too. Then I went to Galeena Beek and looked at the baskets and copied from the old museum ones. I just did the stitch and went from there.’

Joyce also appears to have drawn upon her own memory or understanding of traditional Taungwurrung forms. She is a granddaughter of John Patterson, who as a little boy walked with his family and others across the Black Spur in the Dandenong Ranges in 1863 to settle Coranderrk Station at Badgers Creek near Healesville.

Joyce has continued working with fibres, combining experimentation with indigenous plants and her own creative flair. She now sources all the plant material ‘out bush’, although originally she grew sedges and grasses in 44-gallon drums in her backyard. Joyce uses mostly sedges and a range of grasses to create patterns by combining materials with varying colour and texture.

Eel trap
 Eel trap

 Detail of eel trap

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Joyce Moate, Eel trap (1996), sedge
Dimensions L 180 cm
Created by Joyce Moate

© Museum Victoria Australia