Bragge Collection

Strickland Gorge, West Sepik Province in the early 1960s. Oksapmin man and child.
Image reproduced with permission of the photographer, Laurie Bragge.
Source: The Bragge Collection, JCU Library Special Collections.

The Bragge Collection features two intimately connected components - more than 600 material culture artefacts collected by Laurie Bragge during the time he lived and worked in Papua New Guinea, and the extensive personal library he amassed containing various resources, which he used extensively when writing his multi-volume history of the Sepik.

Laurie Bragge spent more than 45 years living and working in Papua New Guinea after taking a job with the Australian administration as a Patrol Officer (aka Kiap) in 1961, and during this time he developed a deep appreciation and respect for PNG and the peoples of the Sepik. He spent most of his time in the Sepik area but also in other parts of the country such as the Highlands, Milne Bay and the Gulf Province.

This generous donation has been granted to the University to assist with research into this diverse and fascinating tropical region and the societies that have called it home.

The launch of the collection in the Library at the Cairns campus on the 22nd of May, 2019, featured speeches by Prof. Sandra Harding (Vice Chancellor of JCU), Dr Andrew Moutu (Director of the PNG National Museum and Arts Gallery), Prof. Nola Alloway (Dean of the College of Arts, Society and Education), Helen Hooper (Director of Library and Information Services) and Prof. Rosita Henry (Chair of Anthropology), and Laurie Bragge himself.

The material artefacts from this collection are curated by the Discipline of Anthropology, Material Culture Collection (College of Arts, Society and Education), and housed in The Cairns Institute. To enquire about these items, please contact Prof. Rosita Henry.

Laurie Bragge’s personal library is managed by JCU Library Special Collections (Library & Information Services), and housed in the Cairns Library. Access will be available in the Special Collections Reading Room on arrangement. Enquiries can be directed to our Special Collections team.

The Bragge Collection Archive is listed in NQHeritage@JCU, the online Special Collections repository of James Cook University. The record includes:

  • Video (Patrolling the Past: a conversation with Laurie Bragge about his work and life in Papua New Guinea.
  • Listing of the material culture component of the Bragge Collection
  • Listing of the library component of the Bragge Collection

Would you like to read more about the Bragge Collection? Follow posts on the JCU Library News Blog for information and interesting stories about the items and the collection.