At what date the Macleay family started collecting objects made by peoples from the Pacific islands is not known. But living in Sydney from the 1830s certainly gave them opportunity and a position in society to do so. Entomological specimens, crabs, sponges and a huge variety of zoological and faunal material came to them as gifts from naturalists and officers of the many ships coming into Sydney during the 19th century. We do know that William John Macleay – the last in our line of Macleay collectors – acquired Pacific Islander things from ships in Sydney, purchased at times items from shops and personally traded for objects during the Chevert Expedition (1875). This material of the 19th century was gifted to the University when it became formalized as the Macleay Museum in 1892.
In the 20th and 21st centuries the Pacific collection grew through the work of the University’s researchers in anthropology, education and geography, and through the donations of administrative officers and war veterans working in the region, and by the donations of collectors. In this illustrated talk, Jude will touch on the various ways the Macleay’s Pacific collection came into being from centuries 19 through to the 21st.
Jude Philp is Senior Curator of the Macleay Museum at The University of Sydney. Her work includes overseeing the curatorial work on the museum’s collections, researching and writing exhibitions, giving gallery talks and working with researchers investigating the collections. She is currently working on the Macleay’s forthcoming exhibitions within the Chau Chak Wing Museum (due to open in 2018), and a joint project with Victorian, NSW and Qld State Museums on Sir William MacGregor’s collection of PNG heritage made between 1888-1898. Jude studied anthropology at Sydney and Cambridge Universities and undertook her doctorate on museum collections and Torres Strait Islanders’ philosophy of history.
Senior Curator, Macleay Museum Sydney University Museums.