The Macleay Museum's ethnographic collection comprises some 6000 objects representing Australian Aboriginal and Pacific Islands communities. Nearly half of the collection was acquired between 1865 and 1891. In addition, the museum holds an extensive collection of historic photographs with ethnographic content.
There are approximately 135 items of Fijian material culture in the museum's collections, including domestic and ceremonial objects, weaponry, tools, barkcloth and mats. Material of more recent manufacture includes items collected during the 1st Annual South Pacific Festival of Arts, which was staged in Suva (Fiji) in 1972. The majority of the collection, however, dates to the mid-late 19th century and was collected by J.A Boyd, a European planter based in Fiji (1865-1882).
In the historic photograph collections there are an estimated 100 images with Fijian ethnographic content. These date predominantly to the 1900s-1940s and include portraits, group scenes and landscapes. They document traditional dress, aspects of ceremonial and daily life and historical events.