This first major conference on the watercraft of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, seeks to bring together practitioners and theorists from a range of institutions, groups, communities and individuals interested in the history, conservation, construction, interpretation and presentation of Australia's indigenous watercraft. Demonstrations and talks by traditional canoe builders and people engaged in reviving traditional canoe building practices and knowledge will be a highlight.
A surprising and widespread variation of indigenous watercraft can be found in Australia, differing in type, materials and construction technologies including rafts and outriggers with sails. However, there has been no significant typological study of traditional indigenous watercraft across Australia, and no survey of craft that remain in museum and other collections today. This conference aims to explore and document this significant area of more than 40,000 years of Australia's maritime history.
In May 2012, the Australian National Maritime Museum will host a two-day national conference on Australian indigenous watercraft, entitled Nawi - Exploring Australia's indigenous watercraft.
Nawi is an Aboriginal word recorded by early colonists to describe the bark canoes that plied Sydney Harbour.
From the bound bark and reed canoes of Tasmania, the flat bark canoes of the Murray-Darling, to the fan-shaped Bardi rafts of north-western Australia and the double outriggers of Torres Strait, the conference will be an important and vibrant exploration of the wonderful array of traditional craft, their continuity and revival.
•Wednesday 30 May (evening - welcome function)
•Thursday 31 May - Friday 1 June 2012
Australian National Maritime Museum
Theatre, performance platform and the waterfront studio
2 Murray Street
Darling Harbour, Sydney
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