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© Ricky Maynard/Licenced by Viscopy, 2017

Elliot Maynard with muttonbirds around his neck

Date: 1985
Dimensions:
Overall: 24.3 x 35.1 mm
Medium: Silver gelatin print, fibre based paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Copyright: © Ricky Maynard
Classification:Photographs
Object Name: Photograph
Object No: 00018063
Place Manufactured:Bass Strait

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    Description
    This silver gelatin photograph depicts Elliot Maynard carrying a load of muttonbirds back to the cleaning shed. Elliot can be seen wearing an Australian Rules football-style striped beanie. This picture was taken by Ricky Maynard, a leading Indigenous documentary photographer, who in 1985, recorded the annual muttonbird season in Tasmania with a series of photographs.
    SignificanceThis photograph is a unique documentation of Aboriginal culture, traditions and lifestyle in Tasmania. It is part of the body of work produced by the respected Indigenous photographer Ricky Maynard in 1988.
    HistoryMuttonbird hunting is a central part of Tasmanian Aboriginal life that has been practiced for generations. The migratory birds travel annually from the North Pacific to nest in south east Australia, specifically around Tasmania. It is one of a small group of Australian native birds that are commercially harvested for their meat, oil and feathers. Each year the hunting season is restricted to 27 March through to 30 April in order to stop over harvesting. This industry is an important aspect of contemporary Aboriginal community and culture in Tasmania. Today hunting muttonbirds is associated with preserving Aboriginal culture and respecting Indigenous land rights.

    Ricky Maynard was born in Launceston, Tasmania in 1953 and showed an interest in photography from a young age. At 16 he moved to Melbourne to play football and later began working in the photographic industry as a darkroom technician. In 1988, Ricky was selected to participate in the Indigenous photographers 'After 200 years' project. He returned to Tasmania to photograph the muttonbird season, selecting images to represent the various aspects of muttonbirding in the Indigenous community.

    Maynard's family has returned to the islands of Bass Strait each year to catch and harvest muttonbirds. The event is a commercial exercise that has great cultural meaning to the Aboriginal people, who return each year to undertake the same activity as their ancestors.
    Related People
    Photographer: Ricky Maynard

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