Title: A message stick listed for sale

Description: This message stick was chosen for the front page of the Australian Message Stick Database for an unusual reason: we know almost nothing about it. Message sticks are found in museums and archives but they also circulate among private sellers and collectors. Sadly, the histories of these objects are often not recorded or poorly maintained. Auction houses, for example, will not even reveal the names of their owners or previous owners for privacy reasons so stories and connections are quickly lost. The AMSD is keeping track of message sticks that are sold and resold in order to trace their movements. We also hope that by posting the images from these sales, interested members of the public might recognise the objects and help us contextualise them. This message stick was apparently collected in the Northern Territory in the 1950s. If you own it, or have previously owned it, please get in contact.

Item type: message stick from a private sale

Dimension 1: 410mm

Source types: sale item, ebay

Notes: Listed by seller 'godstick' on 6 November 2016 with description: " A nice old aboriginal wooden ceremonial message stick with burnt wire designs. Collected in N.T in the 1950's. The condition is good - please check the photos. Has some old minor wood splits. Measures 41 cm long. IFRAO scale is 10 cm." PK requested more information. Reply on 10 November 2016: "Hi, I wish I had more information on the message stick but I don't. It came with some other aboriginal artifacts at auction - advertised as being from the 50's. Regards Scott "

Media Files:

Data Entry: Piers Kelly