Rare Australian tribal artefacts collection reaches auction market

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 15th September, 2018

As a boy in the 1950s on the family property in the southern Mallee region of Victoria, Daryl Blythman became fascinated with Australian indigenous artefacts that predated European migration by thousands of years.

“My passion for collecting began thanks to my father who collected stone artefacts and axes that dated back to the Aboriginal tribes who lived or travelled through this area,” he said.

“It wasn’t long before this hobby became mine and ultimately my obsession, when I recognised that these items revealed a story that was unique to Australia.

Growing up, Blythman listened to locals dismiss the artefacts as having no intrinsic value. Despite this, by the time he was 30 he began collecting as many as he could for future generations.

Blythman started with local second hand shops before checking out auctions concentrating on tribal memorabilia and ending up at privates sales in London, New York and New Zealand.

So big did the collection become that he eventually placed it in storage.

Now in his mid-60s, Blythman realises the time has come to share his collection with others – so he has asked Leski Auctions to auction the artefacts from 2pm Sunday September 23 at 727-729 High Street, Armadale.

Leski Auctions Harry Glenn says the sale contains items from remote parts of Australia seldom seen on the auction market.

“It is the best collection of tribal artefacts seen on the Australian market for 10 years,” he said. And because it is one man’s collection, it has been very well curated.”
Glenn said the preservation of indigenous art and culture was extremely important to any community that valued its history.

Some of the auction highlights include lot 47, a late 19th century rainforest shield from far north Queensland and lot 1, a 19th century boomerang club from the Lake Eyre region.

Other attractions include a 19th century lil lil club (lot 2) from New South Wales Darling River region and a circa 1900 incised parrying shield (lot 5) from the same State.

South East Australia is represented through a circa 1900 incised broad shield, while a mid-20th century fishing line and hook from north. Queensland is a novel attraction.

An early 20th century shell and seed necklace from the Millingimbi region in the Northern Territory is another find along with two early 20th century emu feather whisks from the Arnhem Land.

Collectors also should be interested in late 19th century conical headed club from the Mirboo Mission and a circa 1900 broad shield from Lake Condah Mission.

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