This article details the discovery of early twentieth-century sailcloth and fishing-net samples pertaining to the lives of Aboriginal peoples on Point Pearce Aboriginal Mission (Burgiyana). Biographies for the samples are explored, from which it is argued that these objects may have many viewpoints assigned to them. The sailcloth and fishing-net samples allow the telling of complex stories from the past and present. These stories include the resilience, adaptability and strength of Narungga culture when exposed to colonial contextual risk. Indeed, these objects reveal the efforts of missions and government agencies to control the lives of Aboriginal peoples (through the lenses of ‘racism’, paternalism and self-interest), as well as agency and the involvement of Aboriginal peoples in capitalist economies. Objects as subjects can also reveal ongoing struggles for traditional and commercial fishing rights – with the aforementioned being informed by the traditional knowledge and lived experiences of Narungga peoples.