NMA collection record

Warning: This record may cause sadness or distress to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
Film negative - Girl, Unnrubinna, tobogganing on the granite slopes at Kurrekapinya Soakage, Ayers Ranges, Northern Territory, photographed by Herbert Basedow, 1903

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Girl tobogganing down a granite slope, 1903


This is a photograph by Herbert Basedow of a child sliding down a bare granite rockface. The rock is in focus but because the figure is moving, it is blurred. Track marks coming toward the camera suggest that it is a well-used slide.

Educational value

Aboriginal children found plenty of ways to have fun, inventing a game using found objects - a rock or tree branch - or playing with a miniature object that an adult might make for them, such as a tiny canoe or digging stick. In this case, the fun comes from a sloping rock surface - a natural slippery dip. The child, Unnrubinna, has crafted a mat of reeds to sit on as she slides. Basedow took this photograph in 1903 at Kurrekapinya Soakage in the Ayers Ranges, Northern Territory.

Herbert Basedow was a doctor, anthropologist and explorer. From 1903 to 1928 he ventured to remote regions of central and northern Australia - places rarely seen by Australians even today. Aboriginal people often feature in his photographs. Basedow wanted to document Aboriginal cultures as they had been before British colonisation, and often went to some lengths to craft his photographs to appear as such.

This photograph was taken during a five-and-a-half-month minerals exploration of north-west South Australia (and some way into the Northern Territory) on behalf of the South Australian government.

© Education Services Australia Limited and the National Museum of Australia 2010

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