Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory | Michael Gorey

Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory

Today I visited the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. It was my first time there, despite its proximity just 3km away, past the high school at Bullocky Point.

There is an excellent collection of Aboriginal art, especially from Arnhem Land and the Tiwi Islands. 

We were also fortunate to see this year's entrants in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards, which the gallery has hosted since 1984. The main award carries a prize of $50,000.

The art exhibits are first class. The natural history display was less impressive, but a section telling the story of Cyclone Tracy poignantly captured the drama and impact of that horrific event.

My partner Libby was eight years old when it struck on Christmas Day 1974. It's hard to imagine the fear it must have instilled.

The museum has a sound booth which plays genuine audio from from the time. Locked in the dark, I felt the presence of a terrifying beast, circling and drawing closer.

A quirky and fascinating display shows boats that sailed in Territory waters over the past 100 years including a replica perahu, sailed by Makassans from Indonesia for centuries to collect and process trepang (sea cucumber).

Most white Australians know little of this pre-European trade and contact.

Other vessels included a pearling lugger and one of the craft that brought Vietnamese boat people who fled that country after the end of their terrible war.

Before touring the gallery and museum we had breakfast at the adjoining Cornucopia Cafe, which overlooks the Arafura Sea.

Despite this being the "build up" time of year, a cooling breeze made it a very pleasant experience.

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