In the last 400 years, objects from Western Australia have circulated through global, national and local collecting networks...

Some of the first objects through which Europeans imagined Australia came from Western Australia. Shells collected by William Dampier in 1699 went to the UK's Ashmolean Museum and The British Museum. The inscribed plate left by Dirk Hartog on a small island off the westernmost part of Australia in 1616 was found by De Vlamingh in 1697 and taken to Batavia (Jakarta). It is now held in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.


What images of Australia did these fragments from WA present to the world? How did these growing collections eventually inform Western Australian identity, shape its written history, collective memory and sense of place?
— Professor Alistair Paterson


What new understanding of Western Australia emerges from a critical study of collecting? We look for answers in public and private collections held across the state and around the world. Our research is shared at symposiums, in books and academic publications and through public exhibitions, displays and events.