Current Pitt Rivers Museum information about the shields displayed in Bethnal Green Museum

Australian Heileman or Shield

Previous record

Next record

How to read the information in a record

Parrying sticks and shields, Africa

Parrying shields of double antelopes' horns, India

Long narrow shields from the Asiatic Isles

Back to the beginning of 'current information'

Find out more about Australian shields

1874 catalogue entry:
56 to 58. SHIELDS of the form called Mulabakka, showing a further increase in breadth, with projecting ends for parrying.
Compare these ends with the stick of the Caffir shield, No. 65, used for the same purpose. These Australian shields are, in some places, called Wadna, and some idea of the slight value which aboriginal names afford as conveying a correct idea of the thing named may be formed from the circumstance that on seeing for the first time an English boat, they called it Wadna, from its resemblance to their shields. In Victoria this kind of shield goes by the name of Turnmung, the great divergence in the names as contrasted with the resemblance in form, will be noticed.

Front Back  

Pitt Rivers Museum record:
 General Description: Australian shield, made of wood, incised decoration.
Accession number: 1884.30.16
Continent: Australia Country: Australia Region: Northern Territory
Dimensions: L = 750 mm, Max W = 248 mm
Condition: Very badly cracked along length of shield.
When collected: ?Prior to 1874
Other owners: Pitt Rivers sent this object to Bethnal Green Museum for display by ?early 1874.
Black book entry - Screen 2 13 - 15 Shields, Mulabakka, greater width (56 - 58).
Delivery Catalogue II entry - Shields from different localities. Wood shield, mulabakka. Australia 57
Accession Book IV entry - Mulabakka, brown, unpainted, with longitudinal zigzag ornament and central groove. N Australia [Drawing]
Card Catalogue entry - ALF 57. North Australia. 57 = 14 black (273). Wooden shield, mulabakka, of long elliptical form with projecting parrying-sticks carved out at the ends; brown, unpainted of longitudinal zigzag ornament and central groove. Original Pitt Rivers collection.
Written on object - "Mulabakka" N Australia PR 57.
Hand-written label stuck on object - 'Shield Australia 273'
Printed labels stuck to object - Broad shield, Australia, called "Mulabakka" '14' and 'Shield Australia 273'
Other information - Displayed in Bethnal Green and South Kensington Museums (V&A). Wooden shield of long elliptical form with projecting parrying sticks carved out at the ends: brown unpainted with longitudinal zigzag ornament and central groove. In March 1996 there was only one parrying stick at the end of the object and it appeared that the other had not broken off but never existed. Decoration is latitudinal zigzag and is incised. Two holes have been made from the back, one above the other along the length of the shield. Also remains of ?handle from fur and metal nails. One strip of fur loose in bag.
PR number: 57


Find out more about Australian shields