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© Brian Robinson/ Licensed by Viscopy, 2017

And they flew from the airfield at Ngurupai

Date: 2007
Image: 383 x 555 mm
Sheet: 570 x 770 mm
Medium: Van Son on Arches paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Copyright: © Brian Robinson
Object Name: Linocut
Object No: 00050594
Place Manufactured:Torres Strait

User Terms

    Brian Robinson's linocut printed in black from one block relates the story of the Allied aircraft movements between Horn Island and New Guinea during World War II.

    SignificanceThe aeroplane dance shows the creativity and ingenuity of Torres Strait Islanders when telling a story through performance. These particular headdresses are rarely made and are symbolic of the transfer of knowledge from an elder to the young people in the community. The dance is an example of the Torres Strait Island tradition of using performance as a storytelling device, revealing island histories, personal stories and events.

    HistoryArtist's statement: "This headdress is one of a number constructed for a story dance about aircraft movements between Ngurupai (Horn Island) military airfield and New Guinea during the Second World War. Dancers using fighter aircraft replicas interpret raids on Japanese targets." - Brian Robinson

    Horn Island contains the Torres Strait’s primary airport, regularly servicing daily flights from Cairns and the outer Torres Strait islands. Ngurupai is one of 18 traditional homelands of the Kaurareg Aboriginal people.

    The Civil Constructional Corps and the Department of Main Roads constructed an advanced operational airbase on the island, starting in 1940 and completed in January 1942. It was used as a staging base for Allied aircraft moving between Australia and New Guinea. It suffered almost monthly bombings by the Japanese in 1942; and was home base to Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Squadrons.

    The aeroplane dance tells the story of the flights of World War II Allied aircraft over the Torres Strait, with the dancers moving in V formations. The headdresses use detailed model replicas of particular fighter aircraft. This dance is performed by the men only.

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