Cultural Precinct

Berndt Museum

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Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm


Established in 1976, the Berndt Museum holds one of Australia's most important collections of Aboriginal art and cultural materials.

The collection is supported by photographs and sound recordings, as well as art and artefacts from Melanesia, Asia and South-East Asia. Works from the collection are exhibited in the Janet Holmes à Court Gallery, within the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery.

Current exhibition

Photograph of David Mowaljarlai

Mowaljarlai Vision and Voice | Legacy of a Bush Professor

23 April - 17 September 2016
Honouring the life and legacy of lawman, philosopher, artist, activist, storyteller, bush professor, and statesman, David Mowaljarlai.

Presented by the Berndt Museum

Ngarinyin Lawman Bungal (David) Mowaljarlai, OAM (c.1925-1997) was an artist, philosopher and distinguished advocate for the land rights and culture of the Kimberley Wandjina peoples. Through personality and force of will he guided his people through complex colonial relationships and the momentous changes imposed upon them, including re-settlement hundreds of kilometres away from their Country to Mowanjum, near Derby, in the 1950s.

Through images and sound, the exhibition will introduce audiences to Mowaljarlai’s gift to the world - his extraordinary commitment to communicate with the younger generation and cross-culturally through working partnerships, complex knowledge systems imbued with wisdom, transmitted through eons past, into the future. Visitors will experience a selection of Mowaljarlai’s paintings, drawings and sketches. Along with personal photographs and audio-visual footage in which he features, this will provide an insight into his influence and extensive cultural reach.

Image: Photograph of David Mowaljarlai, Mowaljarlai Archive, the Berndt Museum. Photographer unknown.

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About the museum

The late anthropologists Catherine and Ronald Berndt established the Berndt Museum almost forty years ago.  It holds one of the most significant collections of Australian Indigenous cultural materials, especially from Western Australian, South Australia and Northern Territory locations.

The Museum aims to ethically conserve, protect, contextualise and promote Australian Aboriginal Cultural Material (Paintings, Artefacts, Archives, Photographs and Audio-Visual recordings) by way of exhibition, research, teaching, publication and community engagement.

It is currently situated in temporary offices under the University’s Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery.  A small, dedicated staff manage the collection stored onsite.  In addition to developing exhibitions and caring for the Collection, Museum staff deal with access to material, community-inspired projects, and public programs.

Access the collection

To access the Berndt Museum Collection domain: Archives, Objects (Paintings, Artifacts), Photographs and Audio-Visual material, complete and send through the Access Request Form via email ( or post (255A, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia).