Chris Taylor with Gurindji elder Jimmy Wavehill along the Wave Hill Walk-Off route in the Northern Territory

National Treasures

National Treasures from Australian History

Stories of Significant Places and Objects
 Stephen Groenewegen

WARNING: this article contains names, images or voices of deceased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Discover the stories behind some of Australia's beloved – and also lesser-known – national treasures.

From the National Heritage List

In this season of five-minute documentaries, comedian and broadcaster Chris Taylor travels around Australia delivering historical snapshots of notable places on the National Heritage List.

In this episode, he looks at Wattie Creek, arguably the birthplace of the Aboriginal land rights movement:

Australia's Heritage: National Treasures with Chris Taylor – Wattie Creek, 2009. NFSA: 1480941

In 1966, Vincent Lingiari led a strike by 200 Aboriginal workers over slave-labour pay and conditions at Wave Hill cattle station in the Northern Territory.

They set up a community at Wattie Creek, which they renamed Daguragu. It was here that Prime Minister Gough Whitlam visited the Gurindji people in 1975 to grant them deeds to their land.

View all 10 episodes in our Australia's Heritage: National Treasures curated collection.


Boats, Bats and Even More National Treasures

Cartoonist and self-confessed history 'tragic' Warren Brown investigates more national treasures drawn from collections across Australia.

In this episode, Brown visits the National Library of Australia to examine the now 250-year-old handwritten journal of Lieutenant James Cook:

Investigating National Treasures with Warren Brown – Endeavour Journal, 2004. NFSA: 1435373

Brown's other treasures range from a 'Waltzing Matilda' songsheet to a Gallipoli lifeboat and the first fully automatic electronic digital computer to be built in Australia.

View all 15 episodes in the Invesigating National Treasures with Warren Brown curated collection.

Warren Brown also hosted a second National Treasures series, devoted to 12 objects used or adored by Australian prime ministers, ranging from Robert Menzies' home movie camera to Joseph Lyons' love letters and Harold Holt's briefcase.

View all 12 episodes in The Prime Ministers' National Treasures curated collection.


Main image: Chris Taylor with Gurindji elder Jimmy Wavehill along the Wave Hill Walk-Off Route.