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Vatican Ethnological Missionary Museum


                THE LAUNCH OF THE CATALOGUE OF THE VATICAN
             ETHNOLOGICAL MUSEUM’S AUSTRALIAN INDIGENOUS

                                                 COLLECTION

             v oluminous           the  objects  and  exploring
             and      beautifully  the themes of spirituality,
        A illustrated Catalogue    connections,     cultural
        was   launched   on   7    continuity and renewal.
        D ecember,2017,in          It may be  helpful  to
        Canberra,  detailing the   mention that the AIATSIS
        collection of  Australian   is   an     independent
        Aboriginal cultural objects   Australian  Government
        and  artefacts  housed  in   statutory     authority
        the Vatican Ethnological   promoting  the  knowledge
        Missionary Museum.         and   understanding   of
        The  Catalogue,  published   Aboriginal  and  Torres
        by    the    Australian    Strait  Islander  cultures,
        Institute of Aboriginal    traditions,  languages  and
        and    Torres     Strait   stories, past and present.
                                         Based  in  Canberra
                                         in  an  impressive
                                         building, it cares
                                         for   a   priceless     His Excellency Most Rev. Adolfo Tito Yllana, Apostolic Nuncio - Fr. Chris
                                         collection      of                 McPhee msc - Fr. Malcom Fyfe msc
                                         Aboriginal    and    artefacts  to  gifts  given   Australian Province,  and
                                         Torres       Strait  to  the  current  Pontiff;   I  was  representing  the
                                         Islander  materials   from  evidence  of  the    diocese of  Darwin  and
                                         and  promotes  the   great    Asian   spiritual  Northern  Territory  MSCs.
                                         study  of  Australian   traditions,  to  those  of   Significant   speakers
                                         In dige n ou s       the  pre-Columbian  and     at  the  launch  included
                                         cultures.            Islamic      civilisations;  the  Apostolic Nuncio to
                                         The       Vatican    from  the  work  of  African   Australia,  His Excellency
                                         Et hno lo gical      populations to that of the   Archbishop  Adolfo  Tito
                                         M i ssi o na ry      inhabitants  of  Oceania    Yllana and Senator Patrick
                                         Museum      houses   and  Australia,  and  the   Dodson.   OLSH   Sisters
                                         a   collection  of   indigenous   peoples  of    Anne  Gardiner  and  Mary
                                         cultural   objects   America.  Over  the  years,   Stephens  together  with
                                         from  around  the    the  initial collection has   Ancilla and Francis Xavier
                                         world     collected  been  enriched  with new    Kurrupuwu  from  Bathurst
                                         by    missionaries.  acquisitions and donations.   Island were  among  the
                Senator Patrick Dodson   The     remarkable   The    accumulation   of    large audience that graced
                                   collection was  set  up  in   objects  from  Australia is   this special occasion.  For
        Islander        Studies    order to convey to visitors   vast.                    myself, an added highlight
        (AIATSIS)    Press  and    the  history  and  meaning                             was  the  opportunity  to
        Edizioni Musei Vaticani,   behind      non-Christian  As  regards  the  cost  of   catch  up  at  some  length
                                                              publishing the  Catalogue,
        is drawn primarily from    religions   and     their                              with   Senator   Patrick
        the  Kimberley region,     adherents.                 both  the  Darwin  diocese   Dodson  and  his brother
        New Norcia  and  the       It was in the Holy Year of   and the Northern Territory   Professor  Mick  Dodson,
                                                              Missionaries of the Sacred
        Tiwi  Islands  with the    1925,  that  Pope  Pius XI                             both  of  whom  did their
        collaboration  of  those                              Heart  made  substantial    secondary   studies   at
        communities.        The    organised  a  major  event:   financial   contributions.   Monivae  College during
                                   the Vatican Exposition, to
        catalogue  presents,  inter   make  known  the  cultural,   At  the  launch,  MSC  my time there.
        alia,  one  of  the  earliest                         Provincial  Father  Chris
        known  sets  of  Pukumani   artistic  and   spiritual  McPhee  represented  the        Fr. Malcolm Fyfe msc
                                   traditions of peoples from
        poles from  Melville and   all over the world. The great
        Bathurst  Islands,  more
        recent  contributions  of   success of the Exposition,
                                           displayed
                                                      more
                                   which
        artworks  and    cultural  than   100,000   objects
        objects,  and  materials
        that have not been viewed   and  works  of  art  for  the
                                   benefit  of  more  than  a
        before in Australia.       million  visitors, convinced
        Edited   by    Katherine   the  Pope  to  transform
        Aigner,  the  Catalogue    the  temporary  event  into
        also presents  essays  by   a  permanent  exhibition.
        well-known   Indigenous    Thus    the   Missionary
        and      non-Indigenous    Ethnological  Museum  was
        writers  and    scholars   inaugurated.
        including Senator  Patrick   The    collection   is
        Dodson and Professor Ann   enormously   varied:   it
        McGrath,  contextualising
                                   ranges  from  prehistoric
       10  Catholic Community of the Northern Territory, Diocese of Darwin
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