This unique brass plate has been held by a Southern Downs family for nearly 50 years.
This unique brass plate has been held by a Southern Downs family for nearly 50 years.

History is passed in at auction

AN Aboriginal breastplate, which originated at Glengallan Homestead outside Warwick, was passed in at auction in Toowoomba on Sunday.

Auctioneer Graham Lancaster said the Aboriginal breastplate engraved with “King Jemmy – Glengallan” generated considerable interest among bidders.

But he said the piece was “referred to the auctioneer” after being passed in.

Mr Lancaster said legal reasons prevented him from commenting on the amount or to whom the piece was passed in to at the weekend.

The sand-cast brass breastplate has been held by a Southern Downs family for more than 50 years.

Estimated to be more than a century old, the breastplate was believed to have been given to an Aboriginal elder in recognition of his position as tribal chief or for assisting early Warwick settlers.

Speaking prior to the auction last week Mr Lancaster put the value of the breastplate at between $6000 and $8000.

But the fact the historical piece was placed up for auction at all created consternation for local Aboriginal elders.

Sam and Ethlynn Bonner believed the piece should never have been offered for sale at auction.

Instead the pair said they would like to see the breastplate protected as an artefact and kept at Glengallan Homestead or placed on display at a museum.

“It is the same as Glengallan Homestead: that's heritage and it should be protected,” Mr Bonner said.

This breastplate is believed to be the brother piece to a similar sand-cast brass plate inscribed with “King Tommy – Glengallan”, which has been held by the Queensland Museum since about 1918.


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