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Hearthstone

Date: 1987
Dimensions:
Overall: 340 × 300 × 110 mm, 13.6 kg
Medium: Granite
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Vessels and fittings
Object Name: Hearthstone
Object No: 00001832

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    Description
    A large hearthstone, possibly granite, used for building fires upon when in a dugout canoe.
    SignificanceThe Australian National Maritime Museum became involved in the making of this canoe as part of its commitment to ensure that traditional Yanyuwa maritime skills were recorded and handed on to future generations.
    History"On cold dry season nights another advantage of dug out canoes was that a fire could be lit in the canoe. As Steve Johnson told me: They used to have a fire going there [on] a big flat rock or sheet of iron and a bit of mud on it clay, have a fire going there all day. They'd be paddling down the river and you'd see smoke in the boat ... they used to even cook a feed, cook a fish or something like that.. .if they went out for a long trip ...they'd take a bit of extra wood with them, they'd anchor all day out there waiting for the dugong to come back in from the deeper water, if they had some fish they'd cook that up, they lived like kings out there.. .boil the billy.. .they'd cook a few crabs. It was the job of the person in the middle of the canoe, the akuyilawumbiji, to keep the fire burning. These fires served the dual functions of cooking and keeping people warm. Another good description of these fires is given by Ricket Murnuduin which he makes the point that when paddling the canoe the person behind was kept warm by the smoke drifting back:
    Teliain front he cold, but this one behind [is warm] because he keep smoking long him behind when he paddling'." (page 183, Baker, Richard. "Yanyuwa Canoe Making", Records of the South Australian Museum, 1988).

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