Sacred Aboriginal Artefact In Sale At The Canterbury Auction Galleries On Wednesday September 7, UK auctioneers The Canterbury Auction Galleries will sell an ancient stone Churinga, a sacred object of mystical significance to the Aborigine nation. Estimate £4,0000-6,000
According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, the Churinga (or Tjurunga) is a ritual object said to “represent the indestructible personalities of members of the local descent groups connected with them; they assert the continuity of all life and human immortality. They are a symbol and an expression of communication between man and the mythological time called the Dreaming, between man and the great mythic beings, and between the material aspects of ordinary living and the spiritual heritage of man”.
The following is taken from digitised newspaper cuttings held by the National Library of Australia: G. E. Archer Russell was one of three sons and three daughters of James and Eezia Russell, she having emigrated as an infant with her father from Brigstock, Northamptonshire, in 1833.
Archer was educated at North Adelaide Public and Christ Church Schools. He found work on the sheep stations in the Lower Murray region of South Australia but was soon struck with the wanderlust. He began to explore the country and subsequently Africa, working as a merchant and trader with companies in Rhodesia and the Belgian Congo. He returned to Australia in 1911.
He was on the staff of the Deputy Federal Commissioner of Taxes in Adelaide, but he enlisted as a driver with the 3rd Brigade Field Ambulance and was involved in the disastrous landing with the ANZACs at Gallipoli on April 25, 1915. He was also one of 2,000 Australasians who marched through London on the first anniversary of Anzac Day the following year. By then he was on the clerical staff at Harefield hospital in Middlesex, (presumably having been injured and invalided out).
Writing in the Adelaide newspaper The Register in 1916, he describes London living in fear of air raids, but also his travels throughout the Home Counties and his delight at hearing the “song of the lark, the piping of the cuckoo and the ceaseless trill of the nightingale, sweetest of English song birds”.
He returned to Australia by hospital ship in May 1917, whereupon he embarked on a career of wanderings, sometimes alone, other times wife his wife Miranda, sometimes for as long as three months at a time. In a foreword to his first book, “Wildlife in Bushland” (1919) he wrote: I think one of the greatest delights in this trammelled world is the enjoyment of periods of unrestrained freedom. In all my life I have experienced no greater exhilaration than when pursuing an unmapped itinerary. Going a-sauntering! I fear too few of us go a-sauntering nowadays. It has become relegated to the sundowner. "It is too idle, it brings no monetary recompense,'' says the get-rich-quick maniac. "It holds no excitement," says the all-week-end card player. ''Life is too strenuous," says the book student. And perhaps it is all true. Indeed, it is true. But because it is true, because it brings but little money and little excitement, because it is idle and life is strenuous, let us make up our minds once on a