In the process of developing a new environmental history gallery, the National Museum of Australia is keen to explore how human society connects with the natural world, including other species, weather systems and deep geological past. There are many non-human species that shape the organization and operation of human society, but occasionally species will occupy a larger space in the collective imagination.
The black swan embodies how non-human species can represent specific places and people.The number of Noongar in Southwest Australia has been associated with black swans or black swans for thousands of years. painting, This is reflected in many Dreamtime traditions.
Europeans encounter black swan for the first time while exploring what the Nugal call the river Debar Yerrigan. They immediately named it the Swan River. The first British settlement on the west coast of Australia was called the Swan River Colony, and almost immediately the black swan was used as a symbol of the area.
For many years, the black swan symbol has been used as an official seal, as well as stamps, flags and emblems representing the state of Western Australia. It occupies a prominent position in the centennial celebrations in 1929 and 1979, and appeared on sports uniforms, souvenirs and postcards in Western Australia.
The National Museum has been actively looking for items related to black swan to explore this relationship, including the “labeling” of Western Australians who may have such items.
The response was enthusiastic and provided many commemorative items, sportswear, photos and information; and helpful help from organizations such as the Perth City History Centre, the Parliament of Western Australia, and the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
For those interested in learning more about the use of black swan as a sign in Western Australia, Alex George and Charmaine Cave’s Around Perth: Discover the black swans of our city, Is a huge picture summary.In addition, Chapter 5 Bruce Baskerville’s PhD Thesis Explore the use of black swan as an important and emotional symbol of the separation movement in the 1930s.
An environmental gallery displaying the black swan artifacts collected by the National Museum will open in 2020.
Feature image: Western Australia King’s Cup crew, Perth waters, Swan River, 1930. Courtesy of Jenny Kohlen © Western Australian Newspapers Limited