Members of Tasmania’s Aboriginal community tried unsuccessfully to stop the auction of three ancestral photographs at Sotheby’s in Melbourne on Tuesday night.
Ruth Langford and Rosie Smith from the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre said they asked people not to bid on the three photos which depicted Aboriginal residents of the Oyster Cove settlement near Hobart in the 1860s.
Ms Langford objected to the title under which a photo was listed: “The Last of the Tasmanian Natives”.
“It devalues who we are today,” she said.
“The title the ‘Last Tasmanian Natives’, or what we often hear is the last of the full blood Tasmanian Aboriginals, really disregards the strengths and survival of the Aboriginal people here in Tasmania,” she said.
She said no-one in the crowd objected to the protest, but they were escorted out by security.
“You should’ve seen the height of this big security guy, and as they jostled us away,” she said.
“I was just standing there putting on my jacket on to leave and they’re like pushing me out the door.”
Sotheby’s went ahead with the auction and the photos were sold for almost $7,000.
Sotheby’s has been contacted for comment.