Elaine and Jim
Wolfensohn gift

Travelling exhibitions | Introduction | Blue case | Red case | Yellow case | Melbourne cup

Yellow Case: Form, space, design

David Wallace

Stockman and horse

David Wallace Stockman and horse 1997, recycled materials including wire, fabric, plastic, buttons, National Gallery of Australia enlarge

David Wallace has been making bush toys for the children of his community since he was a teenager. Like many bush toys, Wallace's items are made from salvaged materials and, generally, whatever is available at the time. The stockmen on horseback are made from recycled copper wires wound tightly together, and the figures have been dressed using a range of found and salvaged items.

The choice of the stockman invites us to look at the social history of the region in which Aboriginal people have been central to the pastoral industry for generations.

Objects used for hunting, ceremonies and everyday activities, including bush toys, have been collected and documented by field anthropologists, explorers and mission workers in remote Aboriginal communities since the early 20th century.


  • Think about what the figure is wearing, does it give any clues as to where it comes from or what it does?
  • Do you know what a stockman is? What do stockmen do?
  • Create an animal or person using found and natural objects in your class room, in your environment, or at home. Can you change its appearance by decorating it with different materials?