Black Diggers

Black Diggers


Tom Wright

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Australian Museum, Sydney Term Analysis

The oldest and arguably most famous museum in Australia, which was founded in the early 1800s as the Colonial Museum to valorize the British Empire and advance the project of national territorial expansion by trying to show indigenous culture’s continuity with natural history (including animal specimens). In Black Diggers, a taxidermist working for the museum saves Nigel as a specimen after other settlers kill his parents, then appears to adopt him; in another scene, he shows the young Nigel around the museum, telling him about humankind’s evolution out of apes, but then disappears as the exhibits attack the boy.

Australian Museum, Sydney Quotes in Black Diggers

The Black Diggers quotes below are all either spoken by Australian Museum, Sydney or refer to Australian Museum, Sydney. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Australian Nationhood and Indigenous Dispossession Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Playlab edition of Black Diggers published in 2015.
Act One Quotes

NIGEL: Father, what happened to my aborigine parents?

TAXIDERMIST: You know that, little man. They died.

NIGEL: How did they die?

TAXIDERMIST: I’ll tell you one day. Look, a chimpanzee. They are our closest relatives.

NIGEL: Why not now?

TAXIDERMIST: Because you’re not ready yet.

NIGEL: Ready for what?

TAXIDERMIST: The world—the bigger, grown-up world—is a complicated, difficult place. You should enjoy every moment of your childhood. Plenty of time for truth later.

Related Characters: Nigel (speaker), Taxidermist (speaker)
Page Number: 19-20
Explanation and Analysis:
Act Two Quotes

Tarzan. At the Empire. Tarzan, man of the apes. The ape man. Tarzan. Ape. Man. Lowland Gorilla. From Zanzibar. Ape. Man.

He stops, has a surreptitious swig from a bottle. Stands still, watching people rush past him.

Sorry Dad.

Related Characters: Nigel (speaker), Taxidermist
Page Number: 90
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Black Diggers LitChart as a printable PDF.
Black Diggers PDF

Australian Museum, Sydney Term Timeline in Black Diggers

The timeline below shows where the term Australian Museum, Sydney appears in Black Diggers. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act One
Racism Theme Icon
The scene shifts to 1895, when the Taxidermist takes a boy, Nigel, through Sydney’s Australian Museum , showing him the exhibits of stuffed animals (really the play’s actors). When Nigel asks... (full context)