Our Elgin Marbles come home

Our Elgin Marbles come home (the marbles of the Parthenon). Only for a moment. These treasures of aboriginal cultural, sacred objects, will be shipped to the British Museum. Again. The first people of Australia have no say in this. Again.

These objects were stolen, along with the land we now call home. Yes, a Treaty was never signed. If there had been one, would the men and women whose ancestors walked the land for 60,00 years have understood its consequences?

We are almost tripping over the anniversary of that fateful date, January 26, when the nation officially celebrates Australia Day. Many of us now know it as Invasion Day, the day when 11 ships arrived in Sydney in 1788. Others prefer to call it Survival Day.

Wiradjuri woman, Mayrah Sonter explained,

“It’s a tricky day. We don’t celebrate ‘Australia Day’ today. We celebrate the survival of our people. It was the beginning of the end of a lot of Aboriginal culture and people. There were lives lost. Our culture has not been able to fully recover from the things that have happened.”

‘In 2003, Murray and Gary Foley, the Victorian scholar, author and activist, hatched a plan to seize the barks when they were loaned by the British Museum to the Melbourne Museum to mark the Australian institution’s 150th birthday.

The pair convinced a court to use a little-known provision of the National Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act to secure the artefacts. Faced with pressure from the British and legal action from Melbourne Museum, the clan lost the case, but they found a friend in the Greek community, which is lobbying for the return of its Elgin Marbles.

“Our view has never changed. We want them home,” says Murray.’

The National Museum in Canberra is hosting an exhibition of 150 beautiful, hand-crafted spears, shields, necklaces and personal objects from the British Museum. They are here until March 28 and then the British take them away. Again.

Thanks to The Sydney Morning Herald and SBS for the quotes. You can read more: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/art-and-design/encounters-at-national-museum-of-australia-our-elgin-marbles-come-home-20151104-gkp0nv.html#ixzz3y19V7IB1

http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2015/01/26/survival-day-marked-across-australia

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8 thoughts on “Our Elgin Marbles come home

  1. you know i was a regular visitor of the british museum back in the days i was a uni student. before i start saying what i want to say, i always, believed in no boundaries, especially in art. however, if you wander around the whole museum , it really does give you the impression that is nothing but a well spaced place for keeping all the stolen traditions and masterpieces of many, many ancient civilizations-and not only. it is always a good chance to be in london and admire the greek marbles, or the chinese and japanese and the egyptian statues, however, it is so evident that the museum really shows off its imperialist policy as a british nation and this saddens me. In that case, all these treasures really need to get home, where they belong
    and why do they call it ”the british museum” – there is absolutely nothing british at all over there..why instead call it ” a world heritage museum” or something like that..then i really wouldn’t mind at all

    Liked by 1 person

  2. oh, sorry, i just feel the need to mention, something, else i forgot…it is absolutely so wrong to mention the marbles of the Parthenon as ”the elgin marbles”…if we read thoroughly the history, Lord Elgin was a cunning thief who destroyed the temple, signed a ridiculous treaty with the ottoman empire (greece was under ottoman empire at that time) separated the marbles from the Parthenon and sold them to the British..shame really to name them after a thief.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with you. The real name was also stolen and placed deep in the archives along with the precious stolen artefacts of many cultures. I used the term ‘Elgin marbles’ in the quotes from other writers and to capture attention for this story of thievery and deception. But you are right, geo, it is shameful, i do not need to perpetuate the story.

      Liked by 1 person

      • i know what you mean and this comment wasn’t about you ..it is for all the journalists, or academics or politicians or whoever who ”fights” for the return of the stolen marbles with the name of the person who actually took them..how contradictory is that?! thanks for the interesting post, i was sure you were going to post something about Australian Day..haha!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s a common tale, sadly. The monolith Uluru, sacred to the Anangu people since the beginning of Dreamtime, was renamed Ayers Rock a mere 150 years ago after a little remembered politican, Sir Henry Ayers. Since the 90’s the original name been officially recognised and finally Uluru is the name commonly used. I will say the Marbles of the Parthenon from now.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. haha i know it’s not personal. We’re just putting it out there in the public forum.

    Liked by 1 person

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