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Vol 45 no 4, Nov 2023
President's update
By Colin Thomas   |   November 2023   |   Vol 45 no 4





Thank you to members who attended
the 2023 AGM in person and via Zoom.
From my perspective it was great to
catch up with members and present the
45th AGM of our wonderful Society. A copy of my President’s Report is
included in this magazine as is the
Financial...

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Vol 45 no 4, Nov 2023
Annual Report of the Australiana Society 2023
By    |   November 2023   |   Vol 45 no 4

... 







The 2023 financial year has proven to be another great year for the Society.
With the disaster that was COVID-

19 behind us, your board got to work at a national and state level to deliver
enhanced opportunities to benefit
me...

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Vol 45 no 4, Nov 2023
Henry F Hutton and the Hutton family, Victorian jewellers
By Teaghan Hall   |   November 2023   |   Vol 45 no 4




Jewellers in colonial Australia, often lured by the gold rushes, came from various parts of Britain and Europe, arriving already
having served their apprenticeships. Teaghan Hall tells the story of several members of the Hutton family, who initially came to
the colonial Victorian...

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Vol 45 no 4, Nov 2023
William Milner and his ceramic legacy
By Gregory Hill   |   November 2023   |   Vol 45 no 4




European immigrant William Milner was a little-known entrepreneur who established a porcelain manufacturing business after
arriving in Melbourne in 1911. The porcelain industry was largely driven by a massive need for electrical insulators, and, as
COVID-19 has demons...

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Vol 45 no 4, Nov 2023
Robert Ponsonby Staples and early plein-air painting in Australia
By Peter Walker   |   November 2023   |   Vol 45 no 4




British artist Robert Ponsonby Staples was a casual visitor to Australia with his father Sir Nathaniel Staples, sailing on the first
voyage outwards of the SS Orient in November-December 1880. After a month in Sydney, the pair departed on SS Orient’s return
voyage i...

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Vol 45 no 4, Nov 2023
What makes an exhibition remarkable?
By Leo Schofield   |   November 2023   |   Vol 45 no 4




Leo Schofield describes his first (and last!) gig as chair of the curatorium which devised the current exhibition at the Powerhouse
Museum in Ultimo in Sydney, the first major and kaleidoscopic show of objects from the Museum’s holdings since 1988. It has
proved exception...

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Vol 45 no 3, Aug 2023
President’s Update
By Colin Thomas   |   August 2023   |   Vol 45 no 3

As announced in the May issue, the 2024 National Tour will be held in and around Adelaide, South Australia. The organising committee has already secured visits to several private collections belonging to South Australian members and these will be combined with enhanced viewing of some sig...

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Vol 45 no 3, Aug 2023
Wedgwood: Master Potter to the Universe
By Timothy Roberts   |   August 2023   |   Vol 45 no 3

Curator and historian Tim Roberts previews a new exhibition on the English ceramics firm Wedgwood, founded by Josiah Wedgwood in 1759, and linked with the British colonisation of Australia through its design and manufacture of the ‘Sydney Cove Medallions’ in 1789. These were made from Sydney clay sent...

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Vol 45 no 3, Aug 2023
The York Street Synagogue Ark
By Jana Vytrhlik   |   August 2023   |   Vol 45 no 3

Two early arks held in the museum collection of The Great Synagogue in Elizabeth Street, Sydney are impressive examples of Australian furniture. Their distinct Egyptian style could have been a source of inspiration for the architectural style of the York Street Synagogue (1844). In her search for the...

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Vol 45 no 3, Aug 2023
The Squatter’s Delight, or ‘A Man’s Chair’
By Robert Griffin   |   August 2023   |   Vol 45 no 3

Robert Griffin makes the case for the introduction of the squatter’s chair – a robust easy chair with swing-out leg rests – as an idea imported from India in the early 19th century. These chairs found a home on the shady verandahs of homesteads, particularly in Queensland and NSW, where the lan...

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Vol 45 no 3, Aug 2023
A Gift for the Queen: Andrew Lenehan’s Casket
By Yvonne Barber   |   August 2023   |   Vol 45 no 3

Zealous colonists wanted those ‘at home’ to know how economically successful the British colonies in Australia had become. When gold was found in 1851, the Governor of New South Wales sent specimens of the first gold, in boxes made using selected colonial timbers by Irish-born cabinetmaker Andrew...

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Vol 45 no 2, May 2023
President’s Update
By Colin Thomas   |   May 2023   |   Vol 45 no 2

The year is off to a great start. The National Tour conducted in the ACT was fully subscribed with the maximum 40 members and state events have already been held in Tasmania and Victoria. Part of the Victorian event was a curator-led presentation by Emma Busowsky prior to viewing the Bendigo Art Gall...

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Vol 45 no 2, May 2023
Exhibition: Charles Rodius, State Library of NSW
By    |   May 2023   |   Vol 45 no 2

The first retrospective of ‘19th-century Australia’s best unknown artist’, Charles Rodius (1802–1860), bringing together 92 original watercolours, drawings and prints, will be shown at the State Library of NSW. While the host library holds the largest collection, other notable examples are held in the N...

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Vol 45 no 2, May 2023
I’ve been Framed
By R A Fredman   |   May 2023   |   Vol 45 no 2

Bob Fredman suggests old picture frames as another area of affordable and rewarding collecting. As well as being potentially useful, these nostalgic items often have an interesting story to tell, as Bob demonstrates with these examples, all found in Queensland.

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Vol 45 no 2, May 2023
The workshop of Sydney silversmith William Kerr
By Yvonne Barber   |   May 2023   |   Vol 45 no 2

A descendant of his sister Rebecca wrote about William Kerr in Australiana over 20 years ago, presenting new material obtained from family sources.1 With the help of other descendants, Yvonne Barber expands on this earlier work, beginning with the apprenticeship of William Kerr. She provides det...

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Vol 45 no 2, May 2023
Early Sydney silver flatware
By Christine Erratt   |   May 2023   |   Vol 45 no 2

Four early Australian silver flatware items – two spoons and two forks – engraved with the three initials ‘WEB’ present a challenge warranting research. Whose engraved initials (WEB) are they and when were the items made and engraved? Christine Erratt offers an answer. Four flatware1items with...

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Vol 45 no 2, May 2023
Australiana: Designing a Nation, Bendigo Art Gallery 18 March to 25 June 2023
By Emma Busowsky   |   May 2023   |   Vol 45 no 2

Bendigo Art Gallery has drawn on its collections, the Australiana Fund, other collections and especially the National Gallery of Victoria to mount a new survey of Australiana from British settlement to today. Obviously it cannot cover every aspect of Australiana, nor every way artists and crafts...

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Vol 45 no 1, Feb 2023
President’s Update
By Colin Thomas   |   February 2023   |   Vol 45 no 1

Your Board trusts that you have enjoyed exploring our new website, taken the opportunity to review it in detail and researched past articles. Members’ feedback has been most encouraging! As with any change, there is always the odd issue; we are doing our best to fix them and will further enhance the site base...

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Vol 45 no 1, Feb 2023
The 2022 Peter Walker Fine Arts Writing Award
By Megan Martin   |   February 2023   |   Vol 45 no 1

I began last year’s judge’s report with the observation that the annual Peter Walker Fine Art Writing Award, established in 1999 to encourage authors to write for Australiana, had achieved its objectives. The four issues of Australiana published in 2022 confirm that judgement and show that th...

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Vol 45 no 1, Feb 2023
An Itinerant Australian Colonial Billiard Table
By John Wade   |   February 2023   |   Vol 45 no 1

The National Museum of Australia in Canberra has purchased an Australian billiard table, carved in high relief with multiple panels of scenes of colonial life, and its matching marking board. Its price of $1,100,000 sets a new record for a piece of Australian furniture. The NMA is not known for collecting Austr...

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Vol 45 no 1, Feb 2023
Kitchen inspirations: the recipe books of a Queensland flour manufacturer
By Megan Martin   |   February 2023   |   Vol 45 no 1

As far as eating paraphernalia goes, Australiana has previously covered dining tables and chairs, sideboards, ceramic plates, silver table ornaments, Splayds and even tea towels. Megan Martin demonstrates that it is about time we looked at recipe books, particularly as these Queensland examples ...

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Vol 45 no 1, Feb 2023
Unlocking the Story of Doulton’s ‘Australia 1886’ Vase
By Jon & Yvonne Douglas   |   February 2023   |   Vol 45 no 1

Queensland collectors Jon and Yvonne Douglas explain how their collecting of Doulton ceramics developed and how, as they read more and more about their passion, their interests deepened. Here they present their research into one particular example with Australian connections, a vase made in 1886 for the Colonia...

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Vol 44 no 4, Nov 2022
President’s Update
By Colin Thomas   |   November 2022   |   Vol 44 no 4

Thank you to the members who attended the 2022 Annual General Meeting in person or via zoom. Thank you also for the show of support to me as President and to the other Directors who were elected.

I particularly thank Peter Crawshaw for his nomination and subsequent election to the Secretary’s position. Ly...

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Vol 44 no 4, Nov 2022
I Opine it’s a ‘Pine’
By R A Fredman   |   November 2022   |   Vol 44 no 4

From the foundation of the colonies, local cabinetmakers experimented with using the wide range of native timbers. Bob Fredman discusses a chest of drawers, most likely made about 1900 in Bundaberg, Queensland and probably by a local cabinet maker of Germanic heritage, who liked to use contrasting timbers with ...

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Vol 44 no 4, Nov 2022
The Paris Exposition Universelle, the Suez Canal and a Gold Sphinx Brooch
By John Hawkins   |   November 2022   |   Vol 44 no 4

November 2022 marks the centenary of the discovery of the virtually intact tomb of King Tutankhamun, who reigned from about 1332 to 1323 BC. The pharaoh’s burial goods created a worldwide sensation focussed on ancient Egypt, which has long fascinated Europeans, partly because of its Biblical connections and p...

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Vol 44 no 4, Nov 2022
Queensland to a T Collection and Exhibition, State Library of Queensland
By Peter Spearritt   |   November 2022   |   Vol 44 no 4

Prodigious Australiana contributor Glenn R. Cooke is well known through his professional interests in Queensland art, decorative arts and social history. But that does not define Glenn; he loves ballroom dancing and gardens, as well as pursuing a sideline in collecting artefacts relating to his home stat...

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Vol 44 no 4, Nov 2022
H.A. Nielsen, Art Cabinet Maker, of Port Douglas, North Queensland
By John Wade   |   November 2022   |   Vol 44 no 4

Many colonial woodworkers, often trained in Britain or Europe, came to Australia and discovered the vast variety of native timbers suitable for carving or for making furniture and timber articles. Jewellery ‘book boxes’ made from several contrasting North Queensland timbers and bearing the stamp of ‘H.A. ...

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Vol 44 no 3, Aug 2022
President’s Update
By    |   August 2022   |   Vol 44 no 3

It is indeed pleasing to see members honoured for their services to the community. In the 2022 Queen’s Birthday Honours, Mrs Phyllis Murphy of Melbourne and Mr Alan Landis of Sydney were recognised with Member of the Order of Australia (AM) and Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) respectively. Both richly d...

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Vol 44 no 3, Aug 2022
H C Simpson and his popular art
By Glenn R Cooke   |   August 2022   |   Vol 44 no 3

While the artist H. C. Simpson (1879–1966) depicted subjects such as Mount Warning in northern NSW, his output is emphatically linked with the early years of the ‘Gold Coast’ and specifically the resort towns of Coolangatta, Currumbin and Tweed Heads. Although his work is not held in particularl...

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Vol 44 no 3, Aug 2022
1950s souvenir jewellery and art with Indigenous motifs
By Christine Erratt   |   August 2022   |   Vol 44 no 3

Finding more examples of the silver brooch with Indigenous motifs that she discussed in our May issue, Christine Erratt delved further into their history. In the National Archives of Australia, Christine uncovered the 1954 design registration applications.
Six different designs, of which five were inspired b...

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Vol 44 no 3, Aug 2022
Early school samplers from Van Diemen’s Land
By Nicola Kissane   |   August 2022   |   Vol 44 no 3

As part of their education in useful arts, schoolgirls sewed their own individual samplers, which are also important indicators of progress in educational methods and reach. The format is fairly standard, with the letters of the alphabet in either or both lower and upper case and basic numbers, plus the gi...

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Vol 44 no 3, Aug 2022
Thomas Griffiths' book box construction
By David Bedford   |   August 2022   |   Vol 44 no 3

Thomas Griffiths (1856–1943), a Welsh blacksmith and wheelwright, emigrated to Queensland to start a new life as a ‘skilled migrant’, at first clinging to his old profession in the Ipswich area. When the Queensland railway network was expanding, he saw
a new business opportunity and opened a sawmill at...

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Vol 44 no 3, Aug 2022
Designs by Murdoch at the House of Georges
By James Stanton   |   August 2022   |   Vol 44 no 3

Fashion designer Margaret Murdoch (1912–1999) has been eclipsed by other members of the Murdoch family. In 1938 she went to London to gain experience in fashion design. Her move to the fashion capital of Paris on the eve of World War II led to disruption of her career path, with two stints of internment ...

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Vol 44 no 3, Aug 2022
Thomas Griffiths, a Queensland woodworker
By John Wade   |   August 2022   |   Vol 44 no 3

Thomas Griffiths (1856–1943), a Welsh blacksmith and wheelwright, emigrated to Queensland to start a new life as a ‘skilled migrant’, at first clinging to his old profession in the Ipswich area. When the Queensland railway network was expanding, he saw a new business opportunity and opened a sawmill at Wy...

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Vol 44 no 2, May 2022
Saving Currajong
By Jillian Dwyer   |   May 2022   |   Vol 44 no 2

Many buildings in Australia have been recognised for their architectural or historical significance, or their association with important individuals. Some have been preserved, and some have not. Jillian Dwyer relates the story of Currajong in Melbourne’s east, the Italianate villa built by the prominent colon...

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Vol 44 no 2, May 2022
Indigenous motifs on a silver brooch
By Christine Erratt   |   May 2022   |   Vol 44 no 2

We often recognise Australiana by the presence of motifs depicting Australia’s unique flora and fauna and, especially in the 19th century, representations of Indigenous figures. Anthropologists studied Indigenous people, while the things they made – much of it, what we would describe today as art – were r...

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Vol 44 no 2, May 2022
A presentation casket with carving by John K. Blogg, 1915
By Sarah Guest   |   May 2022   |   Vol 44 no 2

The box seen here shows the superb carving of John Kendrick Blogg, a successful and entrepreneurial industrial chemist who was born in 1851 in Canada, settled in the Surrey Hills region of Victoria in 1877 and died in 1936. His day job involved making perfumes and extracting essential oils. Family legend has it...

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Vol 44 no 2, May 2022
Contributing to Australiana
By John Wade   |   May 2022   |   Vol 44 no 2

The Australiana Society aims to support ‘researching, preserving and collecting Australia’s heritage’. As our readers have a range of interests and live in different states, so we try to cater to all interests and regions. However, we rely on what you submit. Everyone is welcome to submit articles for con...

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Vol 44 no 2, May 2022
Breaking the mould
By Robert Griffin   |   May 2022   |   Vol 44 no 2

Wet conditions in humid climates, and especially with the recent floods in eastern Australia, exacerbate the problem of household damp and mould. For collectors, this is likely to affect sensitive items, such as furniture and works of art on paper. So remember to check your collection regularly, and follow some...

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Vol 44 no 2, May 2022
The tomb of Father Receveur and the La Pérouse Monument at Botany Bay
By Peter G Towson   |   May 2022   |   Vol 44 no 2

Two paintings of the Tomb of Father Receveur and the La Perouse Monument at Botany Bay by F. C. Terry mark the end of a significant episode in the exploration and scientific research of the Pacific in the late 18th century, extending from the arrival of the First Fleet at Botany Bay in January 1788 to the great...

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Vol 44 no 2, May 2022
Looking for Paintings on Gum Leaves
By    |   May 2022   |   Vol 44 no 2

Paintings on gum leaves are a unique Australian tradition, which began in the 1850s or 1860s and still continues today. The earliest practitioner recorded is Arthur William Eustace (1820–1907), who was born in England and arrived in Victoria with his family in 1851. He found work as a shepherd near Chiltern i...

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Vol 44 no 1, February 2022
Trevor John Kennedy AM 24.6.1942 – 28.11.2021
By Lesley Garrett, Anne Schofield & John Hawkins   |   February 2022   |   Vol 44 no 1

Lesley Garrett, a long-standing family friend, fondly recalls Trevor Kennedy's life and passion for collecting, amassing the most important collection of Australian decorative arts ever assembled... Anne Schofield, the source of much of the spectacular jewellery acquired for his collection, has her own distinct...

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Vol 44 no 1, February 2022
Henning Rathjen: Victorian art potter 1948–1968
By Anne Johnson & Anthony Armstrong   |   February 2022   |   Vol 44 no 1

In the aftermath of World War II, many commercial potteries were established in Australia to satisfy the market disrupted by hostilities, particularly for Japanese and European imports. While some of these new commercial potteries were established by immigrants from war-ravaged Europe, Henning Alfred Rathjen (1...

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Vol 44 no 1, February 2022
Through the looking glass – identifying W. H. Rocke & Co’s second Melbourne International Exhibition 1880 drawing-room cabinet
By Andrew Montana   |   February 2022   |   Vol 44 no 1

Objects and art shown at international exhibitions always attract a premium. Often, they really were ‘showpieces’, specially made to demonstrate the maker’s skills, ability and cutting-edge design. Three room suites of W. H. Rocke’s furniture displayed at the prestigious Melbourne International Exhibiti...

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Vol 44 no 1, February 2022
Teaching artists by copying the Masters
By David Hansen   |   February 2022   |   Vol 44 no 1

In the Middle Ages and Renaissance, workshop and guild traditions were based on the principle of emulation, with apprentices learning by copying the works of their masters. In painting, the practice was gradually regularised and systematised in the curricula of emergent national academies of art, beginning at t...

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Vol 44 no 1, February 2022
Jack and Achilles: a classical source for Benjamin Duterrau’s Native taking a Kangaroo?
By David Hansen   |   February 2022   |   Vol 44 no 1

Artists in early Australia were usually trained in Britain and Europe in the Classical tradition going back to ancient Greece and Rome. David Hansen explores the possibility that, in the composition of his paintings created in Van Diemen’s Land, Benjamin Duterrau was influenced by Renaissance and Classical mo...

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Vol 44 no 1, February 2022
John Glover through the Claude Glass
By Glynnis Stevenson   |   February 2022   |   Vol 44 no 1

English painter John Glover once owned two Italian landscapes by the French painter known as Claude Lorrain. Claude's work prompted artists and tourists to view landscape in terms of art, so they would often look at 'Picturesque' scenery reflected in a tinted convex mirror known as a ‘Claude glass’, simulat...

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Vol 44 no 1, February 2022
Peter Walker Fine Art Writing Award 2021
By Megan Martin   |   February 2022   |   Vol 44 no 1

Peter Walker Fine Art established our annual Writing Award in 1999 to encourage writing for Australiana. At that time Australiana was a 32-page magazine, stapled, with three to five articles and a few black-and-white illustrations per issue. Twenty-two years on, the award has achieved its objectives. The Austra...

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Vol 44 no 1, February 2022
President’s Update
By    |   February 2022   |   Vol 44 no 1

I trust all members had an enjoyable festive season with the family and friends they were fortunate enough to be able to see. As I have stated all too often, COVID never ceases to amaze with the number of twists and turns it continues to deliver. Who would have ever thought that, with the vaccination levels mos...

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Vol 43 no 4, November 2021
Australiana Society tours 2021: Ballarat and Camperdown Tour
By Robert Stevens   |   November 2021   |   Vol 43 no 4

Australiana Society members visited the Ballarat region of Victoria in May, as part of a tour carefully planned by Victorian branch chair Robert Stevens. Luckily, it fell into a gap between COVID lockdowns, and gave members from several states a chance to get out, mingle and enjoy what the Victorian Central Gol...

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The Australiana Society acknowledges Australia’s First Nations Peoples – the First Australians – as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of this land and gives respect to the Elders – past and present – and through them to all Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.