Banaban Voice

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Over 100 Banaban Artefacts found in Australia Museum dating back to before 1900

For all those interested in the topic of Banaban Identity I think you will be very excited to hear that in the coming weeks the Australian Museum will be photography a very old and unique Banaban Collection that it has in its possession. We already know from discussions with Dr Stan Florek that there are pieces relating to Banaban boxing which we know are one of the most prized of all Banaban sports. We are looking forward to working with the Museum in identifying this important collection which we are confident will provide physical evidence of the link to true Banaban Identity before the influx of thousands of mining labourers to Banaba (Ocean Island) once the phosphate industry began after 1900.

We also could not think of a more important time for this collection to be made public with plans to rehabilitate the homeland getting closer to becoming a reality.

Here are just some of the details regarding this Banaban collection held at the Australian Museum:

The Australian Museum has a small collection of about 100 artefacts from Banaba. Nearly half this collection was donated to the Museum by Frederic Danvers Power and John Stephens. Power (1861-1955), who travelled extensively through the Pacific, probably collected these artefacts and kept them jointly with Stephens (1829-1890) at the University of Sydney with which both men were associated. John Stephens was also a Trustee of the Australian Museum.

It is interesting that the donation of Banaban artefacts in 1901 took place eleven years after Stephens’ death. Probably the artefacts were collected before Stephens died and both men considered themselves equal custodians of the collection. In any case, the Power and Stephens’ collection originated in the 19th century, when the Banaban culture was essentially intact. So, this small collection is part of the Banaban heritage that may contribute, if only in a small way, to fostering their identity and some aspects of traditional culture.

More information is available on the Australian Museum's - Banabans and Their Story:

and we will be linking the details of this collection with the main Banaban website as more information becomes available.

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Comment by Marlie Rota on April 21, 2010 at 11:05am
Yes Roba, and to think that our paternal grandfather's favourite sport was boxing. I don't know if your Dad ever mentioned it, but my Dad talks about it whenever he can. This will be so interesting!!!!
Comment by Roba on April 17, 2010 at 12:50am
unique! that will really tell us our true identity!!


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