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Dugong Net

Date: c 1987
Overall: 3790 mm
Medium: Wood, natural fibres
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Tools and equipment
Object Name: Net
Object No: 00005000
Place Manufactured:Mornington Island

User Terms

    A net, or barlgwon, for catching dugongs from Mornington Island, Australia. Made by Angus Roughsey (Yarra Garra) Fish Hawk from wood and natural fibres, the net is constructed from two long branches with their bark removed, rope is knotted to form a net between them.
    SignificanceIn 2008 the Lardil, Yangkaal, Gangalidda and Kaiadilt peoples were acknowledged as the traditional owners of the Wellesley, South Wellesley, Forsyth and Bountiful Island groups. Their subsistence is highly dependent on the waters around these islands and this net is a significant record of that traditional lifestyle.
    History"A strong net with wide mesh was used for catching dugongs. At high tide the men would paddle out on their walba and, making a great noise, drive the dugong into the net.This method was used when the winds were blowing strongly inshore.The hunters would have alot of wrestling to do before their captive was drowned and rolled in triumph up the beach.There were usually many scraped shins, and it was a great deal of fun for the children."
    [Memmott, P. and Horsman, R. 'A changing culture: The Lardil Aboriginies of Mornington Island.', 1991, Social Science Press.]
    The traditional owners of the Wellesley, South Wellesley, Forsyth and Bountiful Island groups were skillful hunters and fishermen. Their diet and lifestyle revolved around the sea and they delvelopend highly effective methods of trapping and catching food such as turtles, dugong and fish.
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