- Museum number
Musical instrument, drone pipe, didjeridu, made from hollow length of cane.
- Production date
- 1840-1855 (circa)
Length: 99 centimetres
Width: 3.30 centimetres
Depth: 3.30 centimetres
- Curator's comments
Description from Extracts from the British and Medieval Register 1757-1878, p.185:
'177. Musical instrument formed of the section of a cane. L. 3 feet 3 inches. It is called Ebero. Used by Aborigines Port Essington, New Holland.'
The contemporary word for the generic term 'didjeridu' among Iwaidja people of Port Essington is 'Ardawirr'. It has been noted that the word didjeridu may have been coined by Commandant Collett Barker at Raffles Bay 1828-1829 when he described the sound made by Aboriginal man Mago who played 'a large hollow cane about 3 feet long' and made a sound like 'didoggery whoa'. Thomas Wilson depicted such an instrument in an image titled 'Dance of the Aborigines of Raffles Bay' published in 1835 (see Kim Akerman, Bruce Birch and Nicholas Evans, 'Notes on the Contemporary Knowledge of Traditional Material Culture Among the Iwaidja - Cobourg Peninsula, Arnhem Land, Northern Territory 2005-2006', Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia (2014) 138(2):181-213.
The entry for this object in the ‘Description from Extracts from the British and Medieval Register 1757-1878’ also notes that there is a Haslar label associated with this object which reads ‘44 5/29 3’.
Eth Doc 1171 includes a letter, dated 22 September 1856, from AW Franks to Sir John Liddell of the Admiralty. In this letter Franks notes that some of the Haslar objects transferred to the British Museum in 1855 ‘... have tickets on which are registration marks of various years from 1843 to 1854 e.g “53 4/11 2."’
This would strongly suggest that this object was acquired by Haslar Museum in or before 1844.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2015-2016 27 Nov-28 Mar, Canberra, National Museum of Australia, Encounters
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Presented by the Lords of the Admiralty through Sir John Liddell, C.B. (the Museum of Haslar Hospital)
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number