housing c. 1120 items of national, state and local significance
The value of the collection housed at the Bangerang Cultural Centre has been widely reported and acknowledged by Oates (1980), Heritage Victoria (2004) and Coote (2010).
In the most recent report ‘Significance Assessment and Statement of significance for the Shepparton Keeping Place housed at the Bangerang Cultural Centre’ (2010) the findings acknowledge;
“This collection of c. 1120 items of national, state and local significance. It includes,
- The building itself; this heritage listed under Victorian State legislation
- Dioramas and items related to dioramas; are unique in Victoria and give a very specific historical statement about the Aboriginal communities living in N.E Victoria and along the Murray Rivers (Oates 1980)
- A significant number of objects that are on permanent loan from the Aboriginal Arts Board (AAB) of the Australia Council… these include tourist ephemera, textiles, woven baskets and bags, wooden artefacts, stone tools, spears, shields, boomerangs and woomera batik and screen printed textiles, bark and acrylic paintings, sacred objects and painted log coffins (Australian Council Annual Report 1979 – 1980 p22)”11
The collection as presented in this most recent audit includes:
- Textiles (74 items catalogued) are in excellent condition however the report recommends, “they are stored on acid-free rolls in plastic sleeves as the current folding of the silks will cause damage and creases over time. As silk is a protein there is a further advantage to storing in a sealed container, away from silverfish and related insects”.12
- Forty-seven (47) sacred items, were wrapped in tissue paper and housed in a steel cabinet. 3 Mornington Island hats were not considered sacred, nor were the 2 morningstar poles.
- Seventy-seven (77) sculptures and musical instruments, ranging from Pukamani Poles to log coffins, digeridoos and Mumi figures. It was noted, “all items appear to be in basic sound condition although they are dusty and, in some instances, the pigmented surfaces are fragile." 13
- Six hundred and twenty-eight (628) tools have been catalogued, including 143 boomerangs, 66 spears, 40 spear points, 50 stone tools, 10 grinding stones, 44 woomeras and 86 clubs.
- Twenty (20) carved roots from Ooldea, collected in 1917 coincide with the completion of the East-West Railway line.
- Eighty (80) items for body decoration, including necklaces, armbands, pendants, string materials and shell pendants.
- Forty-eight (48) bags, baskets, Coolamons and wooden objects reflect the construction process from bark string, feathered string, gum nut work and weaving and dyeing.
- Twenty-nine (29) leather items including bags, belts, sandals and acrylic-painted canvases are in storage at the centre.
- Sixty-Six (66) paintings have been catalogued including works on bark, acrylic canvas boards and stretched canvas works. It was noted two large barks from Ramangining by Milpurru have no stories or notations and research would be required to augment their significance. It was also noted mould residue and Perspex fronted; hessian-backed frames would be required to protect the pieces.
- Thancoupie – Ceramic Tile Mural is significant to the Bangerang and broader Australian community and sits 1795mm high and 2041 wide (left mural) and 2020mm high and 2044mm wide (right mural).