Yuki (bark canoe): Sharing Ngarrindjeri culture

The Yuki (bark canoe): Sharing Ngarrindjeri culture is a new multimedia, immersive display at the South Australian Maritime Museum which helps the Museum tell important stories of South Australia’s waterways and embed First Nations culture in the Museum’s narrative.

 “In our culture, we made this for thousands of years. It was taking the bark off the tree, treating it, drying it, shaping it. The yuki, the bark canoe, that’s something that we are very proud of, that it was a part of our culture – the Ngarrindjeri.” Ngarrindjeri Elder, Uncle Major ‘Moogy’ Sumner

The Ngarrindjeri were skilled canoe makers and a yuki was used for travel, fishing, hunting, and to meet up for ceremonial gatherings along the Murray River and Lower Lakes regions of South Australia. Ngarrindjeri Ruwe (Ngarrindjeri Country) extends east from Pomberuk (Murray Bridge), across the southern tip of Fleurieu Peninsula, and down to The Granites near Kingston, south of the Kurangk (Coorong).

The History Trust of South Australia teamed up with Ngarrindjeri Elder Uncle Major ‘Moogy’ Sumner, First Nations digital creator Arthur Ah Chee (Wangkangurru man), cinematographer Josh Trevorrow (Ngarrindjeri man), and Motion Capture Specialists, Cameron Mackness, Jason Bevan, The Void, Flinders University.

Uncle Major ‘Moogy’ Sumner led the creation of a yuki, made from bark taken off a red river gum in Kuitpo Forest, Kaurna Country. The collaboration with digital creatives and the team at the Void at Flinders University enables us to share the yuki story in a unique way, using animated scenes based on motion capture data, as well as immersive project mapping onto the yuki display itself.

More information is available on the Yuki website.

This exhibition will be open to the public from 11 July 2024.

The project was supported by the Department of the Premier and Cabinet through Arts South Australia.

ForestrySA supported the cutting of the yuki at Kuitpo Forest, Kaurna Country.