Cow-horn sharks by unknown artist

Two in one

A favourite pastime of many locals was to carve whatever enduring materials were at hand—turtle shell and catfish bones for the saltwater people, and cow horns and boab nuts for those from the station country. These wonderful examples of carved cow horns of the station country have been transformed into animated sharks from the saltwater country. They were carved by Aboriginal residents from Bungarun, the leprosarium, across the Derby marsh. Opened in 1936 for 50 years Aboriginal people suffering from leprosy were ‘rounded up’ and kept at the leprosarium and tirelessly cared for by the compassionate sisters of St John of God. Many never returned home to their families. Art and music were favourite pastimes of the residents as they adapted to life in the leprosarium.

Available at:

Shire of Derby / West Kimberley Library - local studies collection

Muddy Waters

Named after the Earl of Derby, the town has a rich colonial history as the first regional and administrative centre, supporting the sheep and cattle stations of the west Kimberley. Keeper of this...


Clarendon Street
Derby WA 6728

Open Hours
Mon, Tues, Wed & Fri 9.30am - 12pm; Thurs 1 - 5pm; Sat 10am – 12pm

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While you're in the area

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