‘The Trust is unique in a sense where it did things in reverse. Most organizations when they establish expect to have a building, supportive staff. We did things in reverse. We went out and got the collection’
(Jim Berg 2003)
The donation in the early 1980s of a grinding stone to Koorie elder and founder of the Trust, Uncle Jim Berg, prompted the idea of creating a Keeping Place to preserve, protect and promote the Koorie cultural heritage of Victoria. In 1986 the Museum of Victoria provided the Trust with office and exhibition space. In 1988, the museum launched a major exhibition of Koorie art and material culture. This exhibition was the impetus for purchasing a range of contemporary artworks and craft items including paintings by Lin Onus, Les Griggs and Ray Thomas, wooden artefacts by Peter and Alex Mongta, basketry by Connie Hart and Emma Karpany, and jewellery by Maree Clarke and Sonja Hodge.
At the heart of the Trust is our collection of artefacts, pictures (paintings and works on paper), photographs, documentary material, and oral history recordings. Our collection is unique because we focus solely on collecting the Koorie Aboriginal culture of south-eastern Australia.
Through museum-standard storage, documentation and conservation, we seek to protect and preserve the collection for future generations. We also use the collection to promote Koorie Aboriginal culture through an active exhibition program.
Works in our collection have either been acquired or specifically commissioned.
Click here to hear Uncle Jim Berg speak about the vision for the Trust.
Click here to hear Nerissa Broben, our Collections Manager, talk about how the artist Tommy McRae provides a valuable Koorie perspective from the late 1800s through his drawings in our Collection.