Too often, turtles are trapped and killed by ghost nets, or fishing nets and traps that are deliberately or accidentally abandoned at sea. Turtles hold special significance to the people in the Torres Strait;

Turtles are plentiful in the waters around our island. They are important to the people of the Torres Strait. For some it is one of their totems, for others it is an important source of food. It is important to look after turtles and ensure that they will be around for future generations Erub Erwer Meta.

E095503 - Ghost Net Turtle
Turtle, made by Ellarose Savage in 2012 from ghost nets. Acquired 2013 - E095503. Image: Rebecca Fisher
© Australian Museum

Ellarose is of the Meuram tribe, and the turtle is her totem. When she was a young girl, she had a little turtle that she looked after until it was a certain age, and she let it back into the wild. Ellarose loves the colours and different patterns on turtle shells. She made her turtle out of brightly coloured net and stitched with recycled industrial twines.

The acquisition of this ghost net work was made possible by a grant from the Australian Museum Foundation and the bequest of Patricia M Porritt.