AA 338  Dr Norman Barnett Tindale  Guide to Records
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Series AA338/10
Notes and drafts for a proposed gazetteer of Aboriginal place names in the South East of South Australia
Date Rangec. 1930 - 1991
Quantity35 cm, 2 boxes, containing 29 folders and 1 bound volume
ProvenanceDr Norman Barnett Tindale

The materials contained in this series reflect Tindale's long held interest in Aboriginal place names, and relate in particular to a research project that remained incomplete at the time of his death in 1993. During the 1980s, Tindale devoted much of his time to preparing contributions to the official gazetteer of South Australia, then in the process of computerization. In consultation with the Geographical Names Board of the South Australian Government, Tindale gathered together from his voluminous writings, but also from other sources, Aboriginal place names in the South East of South Australia. In correspondence relating to the project, Tindale was informed that 'the basic aim of the gazetteer is to assemble in one file, all the names used or in use within South Australia, including such information as derivation/meaning, variant spellings etc and it is hoped that eventually all the Aboriginal place names recorded by you in South Australia will be included in the gazetteer, and where appropriate on the maps' (letter from the Secretary of the Geographical Names Board, M Medwell, to Tindale, 20 November 1986). As Tindale trawled through his writings, he amassed place name data on index cards filed under tribal headings (see Index cards relating to language research, series AA 338/7/1). Place names were also entered onto Hundred maps (see Maps - Hundreds and counties, South East of South Australia, AA 338/24).

As well as his contribution to the general gazetteer of the state, it was also proposed that Tindale would prepare a separate special gazetteer of Aboriginal place names in the South East of South Australia (note that for Tindale, the South East of South Australia included land from the lower Flinders Ranges south and east to the Victorian and New South Wales borders). Tindale's draft title for this volume was 'Aboriginal names of places in southern South Australia'. Besides the materials contained in this series, correspondence and Tindale's notes on matters relating to this project are also found in the volumes of his Canberra and California Journal for the 1980s (see especially AA 338/1/53/10 - AA 338/1/53/14).

Note that the materials in this series were originally contained in ring folders, and that, in moving them to archival folders, the South Australian Museum archive has preserved Tindale's original order.

ArrangedNo original order (order imposed by archives)

Inventory Listing

AA 338/10/1

'Place Names: S.E. of S. Aust.'


This item contains correspondence and papers relating to Tindale's research on Aboriginal place names in the South East of South Australia, including:

  • Copies of correspondence (including two original letters) between Tindale and David Mack between the years 1986-88. Mack, one of Tindale's research associates, provided details on place names of the River Murray region as well as contributing to Tindale's research for other areas. The letters often carry handwritten references to Tindale's Canberra and California Journal (AA 338/1/53)
  • Copies of correspondence between Tindale and the Geographical Names Board between the years 1985 and 1988
  • Working notes

Includes: receipts for research materials; lists of maps held; data cards; notes for a draft, entitled: 'Native Place names of Southern South Australia - our heritage from the past, by Norman B. Tindale'; notes on the Adelaide tribe (Kaurna); an orthographic chart; and a photocopy of D Tunbridge's 'Language as Heritage: Vityurna (dried meat) and other stored food among the Adnyamathanha', Journal of the Anthropological Society of South Australia, 1985, Vol.23(7), pp. 10-15.

Finally, this item also includes a letter to Tindale from Stephen Davis, 24 January 1991, commenting on aspects of Tindale's tribal mapping work.

  Creator Dr Norman Barnett Tindale
Control AA 338/10/1
Date Range c. 1985 - c. 1991
Quantity 1.5 cm, 1 archival folder, 119pp.
Formats General Correspondence and Drafts
Inventory Identifier AA 338/10/1
Series AA338/10

AA 338/10/2

'Place Names: drafts for text'


This item consists of materials falling into three main categories. The first category contains Tindale's drafts for the proposed special gazeteer of Aboriginal place names in the South East of South Australia to be published by the Geographical Names Board of the South Australian Government. These papers have the appearance of short draft chapters and often consist of several handwritten pages on a topic and an additional typed version. The second category contains sections of place names work forwarded by Tindale to the Geographical Names Board, and the third category contains correspondence.
Headings of the draft sections, and this list is not comprehensive, include:

  • Water & camps;
  • Aboriginal name of Adelaide;
  • Tribal boundaries;
  • Notes for Potaruwutj place names;
  • Some peculiarities of the Lower Murray languages;
  • Mode of gathering and recording place names;
  • Stability of names;
  • Ngadjuri tribe;
  • Place names: Tanganekald;
  • Place names of a Ngaiawang tribal area;
  • Place name bibliography;
  • Places of special importance;
  • Errors and misunderstandings;
  • Ecology;
  • Place names as history;
  • Railway place names of Aboriginal origin in South Australia;
  • Boundaries of area in which place names have been recorded;
  • Stability of tribal nomenclatures;
  • Post-contact Aboriginal place names;
  • Murray Mallee place names;
  • Narangga; and
  • Notes for Bunganditj place names.

The sections of work forwarded to the Geographical Names Board include copies of index cards containing Narangga and Yaralde place names (for the original cards see Index cards relating to language research, AA 338/7/1). Finally, the correspondence in this item includes:

  • A letter to Tindale from the Department of Environmental Planning, 30 April 1984, answering an enquiry about 'an Aboriginal track between Nildottie and Loxton and a half-way water'; and
  • A letter from Tindale to Edward Ruhe, 25 September 1987, on place names and explorers.
  Creator Dr Norman Barnett Tindale
Control AA 338/10/2
Date Range c. 1930 - c. 1991, most of the materials were written in the 1980s
Quantity 2 cm, 1 archival folder, 180pp.
Formats General Correspondence and Drafts
Inventory Identifier AA 338/10/2
Series AA338/10

AA 338/10/3

'Hundred of Baker place names, 1982'

  The full title is 'Aboriginal place names in the Hundred of Baker, South Australia. Data from the South Australian Lands Department. Received by Norman B. Tindale, 6 December 1982'.

In 1982, Tindale wrote to the Surveyor General requesting information about the recording of Aboriginal place names in the Hundred of Baker (SA). In particular, Tindale was interested in confirming whether any records existed that could support Albert Karlowan's claim that he provided surveyors with place names (Karlowan was an important informant for Tindale in the 1930s and early 1940s). This bound volume contains the official response by M Medwell, Secretary of the Geographical Names Board. Medwell's reply contains a wealth of data concerning the history of land surveys and colonial occupation in the Hundred of Barker. It contains the following headings with detailed responses:

  1. When was the Hundred of Baker Surveyed?;
  2. What are the names of the surveyors who might have transcribed native place names on their maps?;
  3. 1 page note on original plans forwarded; and
  4. Does any record still exist which indicates that Karlowan (an aboriginal of the Manaka clan of the Jarildekald tribe of Lake Albert was linked with the survey of the Hundred of Baker?

For further details see Tindale's letter to the Surveyor General, 17 September 1982 (in 'Anthropology Letters 1982, vol.2', AA 338). See also Tindale's maps of the Hundred of Baker, AA 338/24/3-338/24/9.

  Creator Dr Norman Barnett Tindale
Control AA 338/10/3
Date Range 1982
Quantity 1 cm, 1 bound volume, containing 17 pp. of photocopied typescript documents and 11 survey plans and maps
Formats General Correspondence and Maps
Inventory Identifier AA 338/10/3
Series AA338/10

AA 338/10/4

'National Mapping Code for Place Names and Notes'


This item contains a variety of materials relating to Tindale's Aboriginal place name research for the Geographical Names Board of the South Australian Government, including:

  1. Letter from Tindale to L Muller-Wille, 20 May 1988, regarding Muller-Wille's work on Inuit place names in Canada and the influence it has been on Tindale's own place names work
  2. Photocopy of D Tunbridge's 'Aboriginal place names', Australian Aboriginal Studies, 1987, No.2, pp. 2-13;
  3. Letter from M Medwell to Tindale, 20 November 1986, on methods of inputting place name data onto the electronic database;
  4. Codes for the designation of topographical features;
  5. Data inputting forms;
  6. Notes on a Jarildekald place name in the Hundred of Goolwa;
  7. Grammatical notes relating to place name suffixes;
  8. Notes for treating place names recorded in historical sources;
  9. Lists of Hundreds held and 'lacking';
  10. List of geographical terms in the Ngaiawang tribal area; and
  11. Index of place names (incomplete).
  Creator Dr Norman Barnett Tindale
Control AA 338/10/4
Date Range c. 1986 - c. 1988
Quantity 0.8 cm, 1 archival folder, 62 pp. (various sizes, typescript and manuscript)
Formats General Correspondence and Drafts
Inventory Identifier AA 338/10/4
Series AA338/10

AA 338/10/5

Place names project: financial records


Bank statements, financial correspondence and receipts for secretarial help relating to the Aboriginal place names project for the Geographical Names Board of the South Australian Government.

  Creator Dr Norman Barnett Tindale
Control AA 338/10/5
Date Range 1989 - 1991
Quantity 1 archival folder, 15 pp.
Formats Accounts and General Correspondence
Inventory Identifier AA 338/10/5
Series AA338/10

AA 338/10/6

Place names: alphabetical a-y


The materials contained in this item fall into two sections.

The first section includes 24 folders with alphabet headings, holding photocopies of index slips for place names, both Aboriginal and colonial. Generally there are two slips per A4 page, with a total of 627 A4 pages (handwritten and typed). Many of the slips are printed forms with the following categories: derivation; discoverer; nomenclator; date discov; reference; position; native nomen; other notes. Many of the slips do not have pre-printed categories, and simply contain handwritten data. These papers apparently predated the Geographical Names Board's place names project (see AA 338/7/1), and entries may have been made as early as the 1940s. A small number of words relate to places outside the borders of South Australia.

The second section includes one folder of photocopied archival documents, entitled: '888/1899 South Australian Chief Sec. Office: Aboriginal Names'. There are 42 pp. of photocopied pages (mostly A3) + 2pp. of summary notes by Tindale. These documents relate to a project by the Anthropological Society of Australiasia to compile records of Aboriginal names of places in diverse regions of Australia. Apparently 150 circulars were produced to be sent to 'Inspectors of Police, District Surveyors and the Telegraph Masters on the Overland line'. Tindale writes: 'it seems as if the project died & no data was ever forwarded to the Anthropological Society of Australasia. The latest date evident in the docket is 28 Aug 1901'. Tindale notes receiving the data in 1974. Of interest are short vocabularies sent in by some correspondents. These relate to areas in the far north east, the mid north and the south east of the state.

  Creator Dr Norman Barnett Tindale
Control AA 338/10/6
Date Range c. 1930 - c. 1974, much of the data appears to have been gathered in the 1950s and 1960s
Quantity 17.5 cm, 1 type 1.1 box, containing 25 folders
Inventory Identifier AA 338/10/6
Series AA338/10