Fiji Collection

HP.99.1.1567 © Sydney University Museums

Chief’s house. Fiji. Before 1940. Anthropology Department glass lantern slide (HP99.1.1567) © Sydney University Museums

There are approximately 130 items of Fijian material culture in the Macleay collections including domestic and ceremonial objects, weaponry, tools, barkcloth and mats. The majority of the collection dates to the mid-late 19th century and was collected by J A Boyd, a European planter based in Fiji between 1865 – 1882. Boyd also sold animal specimens to William John Macleay which are housed in the Macleay Natural History collections. Material of more recent manufacture includes items collected during the 1st Annual South Pacific Festival of Arts, which was staged in Suva, Fiji, 1972.

In the historic photography collections there are an estimated 100 images depicting aspects of Fijian life. The images document aspects of ceremonial and daily life, and historical events of the period 1900–1940.

ETD.698 © Sydney University Museums

Yaqona, kava dish. Fiji. Collected between 1865 – 1882 (ETD.698) © Sydney University Museums


We are currently preparing more detailed information on the Fijian collections in conjunction with the Fiji National Museum and the research project, Fijian Art: political power, sacred value, social transformation and collecting since the 18th century being coordinated by the Sainsbury Unit, University of East Anglia, UK. As we refine our documentation we will be making our Fijian collections publicly accessible via our collections search.