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My grandmother used to do shell necklaces and a couple of my aunties … we’d go around with them on the beach and collect shells with them. (Dulcie Greeno)
Auntie Dulcie Greeno was born on Cape Barren Island in 1923 and spent her childhood on the beaches of the Furneaux Island Group.
Auntie Dulcie is an elder of the Tasmanian Aboriginal community and the knowledge and skills of shell stringing has been passed down through generations of her family. She is considered a senior custodian of necklace-making and has developed a distinctive approach to making shell necklaces, constructing subtle variations of gull shells, rice shells, crow shells and the rare blue and green mother-of-pearl maireener shells, which are all collected, washed and strung by hand. Dating back thousands of years, necklace-making is one of the few Palawa traditions that has remained intact, conferring iconic status on them.
During her time living on Flinders Island, Auntie Dulcie made shell craft objects, using a garage converted into a studio/shop to sell to visitors to the islands.
Auntie Dulcie’s work has been exhibited widely including an international exhibition developed between the National Museum of Australia in 2002, Stories from Australia, and the Guangzhou Museum of Art in China. Her traditional shell necklaces can also be seen at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery and Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery in the permanent Strings Across Time exhibition.
Auntie Dulcie’s basketwork is also represented in the tayenebe Tasmanian Aboriginal womens’ fibre work exhibition, which tours nationally in 2010 and 2011. This exhibition is the result of Tasmanian Aboriginal women journeying together across Tasmania in a determined process of cultural revival.
Auntie Dulcie lives in Launceston and regularly travels to the Furneaux Islands to collect shells for her necklaces.