Lockhart River has a rich past and affinity with the sea. Part of this history was shared with members of the Australian community when a dugout canoe from Lockhart River was loaned from the University of Queensland Anthropology Museum in Brisbane to the National Museum of Australia in Canberra.


The canoe formed part of the Lockhart River display in their Gallery of First Australians.

The dugout canoe, with two outriggers, weighed a hefty 150 kilograms and was eight-metre-long.


The canoe, made in 1976 by James Butcher was the last of its kind to be produced with particular craftsmanship skills.  To build the canoe, James selected the tree, had it cut and transported, dug it out, cut the outriggers, carved the paddles, made the ropes from bark fibre and carved a harpoon.

The Puuya Foundation helped to advocate, make connections and broker partnerships between the community and the Museum for the canoe to become part of the display.  The Foundation supported the Lockhart River leaders to navigate through the negotiation process to help make the dream of sharing their heritage a reality.


Wayne Butcher, Puuya Foundation Director and Mayor of Lockhart River, said that it was one of the best experiences of his life to be part of reconstructing the canoe for the display.