Arthur Palmer - Aboriginal, Oceanic & Tribal Art

Sunday, February 14, 2010


ARTIST: Andrew Jack Chinny O’Chin 1917-1978
DIMENSIONS: 46cm (18ins.).
MATERIAL: Local wood Crows Ash
CONDITION: Fine very well preserved presentation.
AGE: Circa Pre - WW11. Depression Era.
ETHNOGRAPHY: Traditional SE Queensland Wuka Wuka returning boomerang carved at Cherbourg Aboriginal Mission Reserve in the 1930’s to pay homage to two of the greatest Queensland & Australian athletes of their time – Frank “KING” Fisher & Edward “Eddie” Gilbert (1905-1978). Fisher served in the Middle East during the War & pre War played Rugby League for Australia 1932-36 including a Great Britain Test.

Frank King Fisher, the grandfather of athletics great Cathy Freeman, was regarded as the Aboriginal version of Wally Lewis, was selected for the all Aboriginal side of the century after representing Wide Bay against touring Great Britain sides in the 1930s. Fisher was denied the opportunity to tour with the Kangaroos when he was refused a passport to pursue his career overseas.

Cherbourg footballer Frank Fisher (grandfather of Olympic gold medallist Cathy Freeman) was a particularly fine footballer of the 1930s. Playing at five-eighth, "King" Fisher starred in representative teams for Wide Bay in 1932 and 1936 against touring Great Britain teams.

After the 1936 match, in which Fisher scored a great try, the Lions' captain Gus Risman is reputed to have declared that Fisher was the best individual player his team had encountered on the whole of the tour. So impressed was Risman that he promised have his home club (Salford) send out a contract offer to Fisher as soon as he returned home to England.

The contract from Salford duly arrived, but Fisher was refused permission by the Queensland Government's "Protector of Aborigines" to leave - the famous Aboriginal cricketer Eddie Gilbert had already been given leave from Cherbourg, and the rumoured true reason for rejecting Fisher's request being reluctance by the authorities to approve another.

Eddie Gilbert played first class cricket 1931-1936 & stated his career by bowling the legendary Sir Don Bradman for a duck.

Eddie Gilbert was born at Durundur Reserve near Woodford in 1905 or 1906, later being separated from his parents and removed to Barambah Reserve near Murgon.

By 1917, when he first began to play cricket for the new Barambah Aboriginal Cricket Club, he was working as a contract seasonal labourer. Coached by the local schoolmaster, he soon developed a remarkable style of fast bowling. His reputation grew to the extent that the Queensland Cricket Association brought him to Brisbane in 1929, when he stunned onlookers with his whip-like wrist action and rapid delivery.

In 1930 he was chosen for the Queensland Sheffield Shield Team against South Australia and was named bowler of the match. In January 1931 Gilbert took 7 West Indian wickets for 91 runs. In November 1931, in a match against New South Wales, Gilbert’s delivery knocked the bat from Donald Bradman’s hands; the next ball made him fall backwards on the pitch, and the third ball had him caught behind. He was however soon subject to criticism of “throwing”, an accusation which had ended the careers of several other indigenous cricketers.

In spite of Gilbert’s remarkable record of taking 87 wickets in first-class cricket at an average of 29.21, he was never considered for inclusion in an Australian team and eventually would be retired in November 1936 and returned to Cherbourg. He died in State care in 1978.

Both men have been described as the only 1930’s depression hero’s Aboriginals’ had in Queensland.

PROVENANCE: Local Murgon Queensland Family collection. Artifact has never been displayed, published or shown publicly. Gifted to the owners father thence by descent. An extremely rare significant & important & beautiful historic example of post contact neo traditional SE Queensland Aboriginal art.
VALUATION: Aud$ 12,000

Approved to value the following classes for the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Programme:

Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander material culture and contemporary art, Arnhem Land barks (19thC to present), Hermannsburg watercolours (1930s to present), Pacific, African, Asian, American material culture, Australian Early and Modern Fine Art, International Aviation Art, Trench Art WWI & WWII.

A.B.N. 78 088 240 576
Phone: +61 (07) 3876 0115
Mobile: 0418 845515


Web: (Artefact Gallery)Ebay Trader ID: arthur-beau-palmer-artifacts

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