Another kind of passport?

I hiked to the Melbourne Museum to view one section within this modern building — the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre. At the entrance to this display, wominjekawas printed on the wall, meant welcome. As well, a map visually explained the many language groups that once existed all over the state before the European invasion.

Aboriginal languages of Victoria
Aboriginal languages of Victoria

Within this display were movies, woven baskets and other objects once used by the Koorie peoples of Victoria. An elaborate coat made from possum pelts was on display and commonly worn to ward off the southern state’s cold winters.

Aboriginal message sticks
Koorie message sticks

But my favourite was the message sticks. These hand carved sticks were the equivalent of today’s passports. While markings might communicate messages, they were also used to allow Aborigines to pass through other tribes’ lands.



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