AA 338  Dr Norman Barnett Tindale  Guide to Records
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Series AA338/09
Annotated source materials, linguistic papers and research notes
Date Range1920s - 1980s
Quantity35.2 cm, 3 boxes: 1 type 1.1 box, 2 type 2 boxes
ProvenanceDr Norman Barnett Tindale

This series contains a variety of linguistic materials utilised by Tindale for research purposes.

The first part of the series, AA 338/9/1, contains source materials, including those previously published by other people and those remaining in manuscript form but gathered by others, to whichTindale added his own observations. Much of the material dates from the nineteenth century, and thus reflects Tindale's interest in Australia's early contact period. The vocabularies relate to a variety of regions in South Australia, Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales.

The second part of the series, AA 338/9/2, contains linguistic source materials, both published and manuscript, which do not contain Tindale's annotated observations. Finally, the third part of the series, AA 338/9/3, contains a variety of linguistic papers and research notes, including orthographic notes, correspondence, and working notes.

ArrangedNo original order (order imposed by archives)

Inventory Listing

AA 338/9/1

Annotated source materials


This item contains the following materials:

  1. Vocabulary of Encounter Bay (SA)
    This is a bound volume containing a photocopied version of Heinrich August Eduard Meyer's 'Vocabulary of the language spoken by the Aborigines of the southern and eastern portions of the settled districts of South Australia, viz., by the tribes of the vicinity of Encounter Bay, and (with slight variations) by those extending along the coast to the eastward around Lake Alexandrina and for some distance up the River Murray: preceded by a Grammar showing the construction of the language as far as at present known', 1843. Meyer, a Lutheran missionary, was based at Encounter Bay in the 1840s. Apart from the Meyer material (111pp. ), there are also bibliographical notes on Meyer and correspondence relating to Arthur Fydell Lindsay, a surveyor who apparently assisted Meyer with the English language. Tindale's handwritten annotations are in ball-point pen and pencil. Note that Tindale transcribed words from this source to his 'Ra:mindjeri' index card files (see AA 338/7/2/21; AA 338/7/1/17).
  2. Peake Station (SA) vocabulary
    7pp. foolscap wordlists, handwritten in black and red ink, with annotations in red ink and pencil; 2pp. letter; approx. 200 paper slips. This is an Arabana vocabulary based upon a wordlist produced in 1895 by EC Kempe, the manager of Peake Station, to the west of Lake Eyre. It is possible that Kempe provided the wordlist to Edward Charles Stirling (see AA 309) at the South Australian Museum: Kempe and Stirling corresponded in the 1890s, with Kempe providing objects of material culture to the museum in 1895. A 2pp. letter to Stirling (dated 20 July 1895), filed with the vocabulary, touches upon these matters. Kempe's original wordlist is entitled 'Peake Station', and is dated 19 August 1895. It is 3pp with Kempe's entries in black ink, annotations by an unidentified hand in red ink, and Tindale's annotations in pencil. The unidentified hand added a 4pp. wordlist entitled 'Peake Blacks, additional words, & c.', handwritten in red ink. The two sections of the vocabulary contain approximately 200 words. The date at which Tindale received the annotated vocabulary is unclear, although it is likely to have been during the late 1920s, as he transcribed the vocabulary onto paper slips c.1928.
  3. Notes on grammar and vocabulary of the Wi:rtjapakandja Tribe (SA)
    This is a 31pp. foolscap typescript by James Robert Beattie Love, entitled: 'Notes on Grammar and Vocabulary of the Wi:rtjapakandja Tribe of the Musgrave Ranges, South Australia' (unpublished). It contains: an introduction and grammatical notes (8pp. ); a general vocabulary (23pp. ); and handwritten annotations by Love in ink and by Tindale in ink and pencil. James Robert Beattie Love was a missionary and linguist who travelled to the Musgrave Ranges in 1937, where he gathered the material contained in this document. This copy was provided to Tindale in 1938. Note that Tindale lists this material under 'Jangkundjara' in his catalogue of tribes (in Aboriginal Tribes of Australia, 1974). Filed with this original document is a photocopied version, produced by the museum archive, for access and photocopying;
  4. Bunganditj vocabulary (SA)
    This is a bound notebook, 135 pp. , entitled: 'Vocabulary of the Buandik Language, S.E. of South Australia by Duncan Stewart with notes, comparisons and comments by N.B. Tindale. Also copy of a journal written by Duncan Stewart in 1853'. In the introduction Tindale writes: 'this vocabulary has been abstracted from a manuscript in the possession of Mr D.H. Schulz of Rendelsham, S.A. It was compiled by Duncan Stewart and published with variations in Mrs Smith's book on the "Booandik tribe"'. Duncan Stewart (1834-1913) was the son of Christina Smith who, under the name Mrs James Smith, published Booandik tribe of South Australian aborigines, in 1880.The vocabulary is structured with three columns on right hand pages and notes and additions, often of a comparative nature, on facing pages. The three columns are entitled: 'the Duncan Stewart version'; 'English: adapted in part'; and 'NB Tindale's version in Adelaide Univ[ersity phonetic] system'. The volume also includes: short texts; a letter to M Moorhouse, 1853; lists of Aboriginal people; and extracts from Stewart's journal covering the period March 1853-March 1854. Note that this volume appears to have been produced by Tindale in 1965. See also Duncan Stewart, AA 309;
  5. Bunganditj notes
    This is a 9pp. foolscap typescript with handwritten annotations (plus 3 copies), entitled: 'Ms containing several drafts of a description of the Booandik natives. Original in possession descendants of Mrs Smith'. An additional note states: 'see letter 30 Apr. 1954 from Mr Finlay Stewart' (this letter is located at AA 298 'SA Museum Anthropology Correspondence, May 1953-June 1954'). Tindale had previously written to Stewart requesting access to materials in his possession as part of Tindale's task of 'bringing together all information available about the Aborigines of South Australia' (Letter to Finlay Stewart, 22 April 1954). The manuscript contains vocabulary, ethnological and brief grammatical notes. See also Duncan Stewart, AA 309;
  6. 'Specimens of the Language spoken by the Aborigines of Moreton Bay'
    This is a 3pp. photocopy, with Tindale's handwritten annotations, from JD Lang's Queensland. Australia, 1861, pp. 433-435. Note that Tindale assigns this source under the 'Jagara' tribal heading in his catalogue of tribes (in Aboriginal Tribes of Australia, 1974);
  7. 'Grammar, Vocabulary, and Notes of the Wangerriburra Tribe'
    This includes 13pp. , plus 4 leaves of plates (a map and 3pp. of photographs). This is a paper apparently written by John Lane, and published in the Annual Report of the Chief Protector of Aboriginals, Queensland, 1913. Tindale's annotations suggest that he considered this material to relate to the Kalibal tribe (NSW & Qld);
  8. Vocabularies extracted from the Australasian Anthropological Journal, 1896-97
    This is a 15pp. booklet containing photocopies of vocabularies of New South Wales and Queensland languages, many of which are listed in parallel. There are also a number of handwritten pages transcribing 'illegible' data from the photocopied pages. The vocabularies were originally published in the Australasian Anthropological Journal, Vol.1 parts 1-6;
  9. 'Aborigines' Word and Meanings'
    This includes 3pp. photocopied from J Larmer's parallel vocabulary of New South Wales languages, published as 'Aborigines' Words and Meanings', in Science of Man, 2(8), pp. 146-148. Tindale's annotations relate to assigning the wordlists, which are listed according to geographical location, to a tribal category as found in his catalogue of tribes (in Aboriginal Tribes of Australia, 1974);
  10. 'Note on the Languages of the Wellesley Islands'
    This is a 4pp. typescript appendix to Arthur Capell's 'Languages of Arnhem Land', Oceania,1942, 13(1), pp. 24-50. Tindale's annotations provide contextual details relating to the recording of the data presented in Arthur Capell's appendix;
  11. 'Aboriginal languages of the Gascoyne-Ashburton Region'
    This is a bound typescript, 35pp. , by Peter Austin, entitled: 'Aboriginal languages of the Gascoyne-Ashburton Region [WA]'. Produced by Austin in 1987, it also includes Tindale's handwritten annotations and notes on yellow adhesive slips. Austin offers a 'description of the language situation in the region between the Gascoyne and Ashburton Rivers in the north-west of Western Australia' (p. 1), as well as a historical background and an annotated bibliography of relevant literature and manuscript sources;
  12. A. J. Bussell notebooks
    This includes bound photocopies, 89pp. , entitled: 'A.J. Bussell Notebooks'. These papers relate to the 'South-West Aboriginal Language or dialect', Western Australia. Copied from the original papers held at the Public Library of Western Australia, they include ethnographic notes, grammatical notes, phrases with English translations, vocabulary lists, and notes on place names. Note that Alfred James Bussell's 'South-west Aboriginal' is listed by Tindale under the 'Pibelmen' and 'Wardandi' categories in his catalogue of tribes (in Aboriginal Tribes of Australia, 1974); and
  13. Copy of Arthur Capell's A New Approach to Australian Linguistics, 1956
    The full title of this 103pp. monograph is A New Approach to Australian Linguistics (Handbook of Australian Languages, Part 1), 1956. It contains handwritten annotations by Tindale.

Tindale Tribes: Ramindjeri; Arabana; Jangkundjara; Bunganditj; Jagara; Kalibal; Pibelmen; Wardandi.

  Creator Dr Norman Barnett Tindale
Control AA 338/9/1
Date Range c. 1930 - c. 1988
Quantity 17.4 cm, 1 type 1.1 box containing 4 bound volumes, 8 archival folders
Inventory Identifier AA 338/9/1
Series AA338/09

AA 338/9/2

Linguistic source materials


Contents include:

  1. Matthew Flinders's vocabularies
    These 2pp. , foolscap, contain notes and vocabulary drawn from Flinders's A Voyage to Terra Australis, 1814. Included are the vocabularies from King George Sound (WA) and Van Diemens Land (i.e., Tasmania) Vol.I, p.67; and from Caledon Bay (NT), Vol.II, p.215;
  2. Vocabularies of Wakka Wakka, Kiramai, Wulili and Kitapul
    This is includes 13pp. of photocopies of John Mathew's 'Vocabulary of the Wakka Wakka'; 'Vocabulary of (i) the Kiramai language, Herbert River, Queensland, and of (ii) the Wulili language, Auburn, Redbank, Camboon, Walloor on the Dawson'; and 'Vocabulary of Kitapul, spoken about Allora, Killarney and generally the source of the Codamine and the Logan Rivers', in Report of the --- Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science, Vol.18 pp. 540-547; 547-550 and 550-552 respectively;
  3. Fraser's 'Native Vocabulary' survey booklet
    A blank copy of Malcolm AC Fraser's survey booklet, published in 1904, requesting information on 'the Language, Customs, and Habits of the Aboriginal Natives of Western Australia';
  4. List of native animals, Central Australia
    This includes two 17pp. typescript copies of 'List of native animals' names obtained by collaboration between Dr Ken Hale and A Newsome 1959-1960 in Central Australia'. This apparently unpublished paper includes words for fauna in Central Australian languages, such as: Arrernte, Warlpiri, Pintupi, Alyawarre, Luritja, Anmatyerre, and Kaytej; and
  5. Pitjandjara language course notes
    This is a 50pp. photocopied and bound typescript entitled: 'Pitjandjara Language: Elementary and Intermediate courses taught by W. H. Douglas 2-18 January 1969 at the University of Adelaide, Australia'. The first page is rubber stamped 'Dr. John Greenway' (i.e., one of Tindale's American research associates), suggesting that Tindale borrowed and made copies of Greenway's course notes. Note that the corresponding set of course audiotapes is not located in the South Australian Museum archive.
  6. W.H. Douglas 1952ms
    This is a typescript entitled: 'Description of Australian Aboriginal Language Spoken at Ooldea, South Australia. 1952. Part 1. Phonology'.
  Creator Dr Norman Barnett Tindale
Control AA 338/9/2
Date Range 1930? - c. 1970
Quantity 8.5 cm, 1 type 2 box
Inventory Identifier AA 338/9/2
Series AA338/09

AA 338/9/3

Linguistic papers and research notes


Contents include:

AA 338/9/3/

  1. Orthographic papers
    • 1p. foolscap, both typescript and handwritten, entitled: 'Phonetic system adopted for Australian Aboriginal Languages, by the Board for Anthropological Research at the University of Adelaide'. This orthographic system was developed between the years 1931-35 by a committee at the University of Adelaide, which included Tindale as a member (see Tindale's 'Legend of Waijungari, Jaralde tribe, Lake Alexandrina, South Australia, and the phonetic system employed in its transcription', Records of the South Australian Museum, 1935, vol.5(3), pp. 261-274 for further details);
    • 1p. foolscap typescript with annotations in ink and pencil. This page presents a version of the University of Adelaide phonetic system and is accompanied by a short text on the pronunciation of tribal names. It is from a draft version of Tindale's 1935 article described above (p. 264); and
    • 5pp. foolscap typescript entitled: 'Public Library, Museum, and Art Gallery of South Australia. Language'. These pages provide a recommended approach to writing indigenous speech in the field, and include: the Royal Geographical Society's system of orthography (developed especially for the accurate writing of indigenous place names for maps and charts); and a section entitled: 'Notes on learning a new language'. These passages have been extracted from the fourth edition of Barbara Freire-Marreco's and John Linton Myres's Notes and Queries on Anthropology, 1912, pp. 186-193.

  2. 'Vocabularies'
    23 pp. photocopies and loose sheets. This material was removed from a ring folder entitled 'Vocabularies', and includes: notes on the scope of Tindale's vocabulary collecting activities (1p. plus map); vocabulary and ethnological notes relating to Wirangu and Kukata (SA), 18pp.; brief notes on a Victorian word (1p.); brief notes on words from north-west Australia (1p.); and an A3 photocopy containing an index of personal names relating to the 'Beeton (Beadon)' family, recorded during the Harvard-Adelaide Universities Anthropological Expedition, 1938-39 (copied from Tindale's Genealogies of Australian Aborigines of New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania). Note that the Wirangu and Kukata material is copied from Tindale's journals: 'Research data on aboriginal tribes in Australia gathered by Norman B. Tindale. Chiefly from South, West and Central Australia. Period 1924 to 1936' (AA 338/1/29) and 'Notes on the Coastal tribes of the Western Part of South Australia by Norman B. Tindale. South Australian Museum. (incomplete) 1928 ms unpublished' (AA 338/1/30).
  3. Pidgin English vocabulary
    6pp., double sided, handwritten in pencil. These pages contain grammatical notes, phrases and vocabulary relating to Tok Pisin (New Guinea). These notes were apparently provided to Tindale for his use during airforce work in New Guinea during WWII. A note of the first page reads: 'F/L H.O. Clappison, Material Section', possibly indicating the name of the author.
  4. Written exercises in Arrernte
    5pp. handwritten in pencil. These pages contain Arrernte words in columns as well as sentences. They appear relate to the Arrernte vocabulary gathered at the Hermannsburg Mission (NT) (see Carl Friedrich Strehlow's Die Arande-und Loritja-stamme in Zentral-Australien). Tindale visited the mission in 1929;
  5. List of museum specimens
    2pp., handwritten in ink. This is a list of 62 objects in three columns: English name, Native Name, Use of Article. An annotation in Tindale's hand reads: 'names used by the natives at Katarlgoo [Kaparlgoo] Mission near Darwin, N.A. from an early list of specimens in the [J. W.] Lindo Coll. now at Canberra where the specimens are exhibited';
  6. Letter from John Ekblom
    8pp., handwritten letter to Tindale from John Ekblom, Newcastle Waters (NT), 4 January 1961. The letter reports on Ekblom's work on recording the Tjingili language; and
  7. Unsorted working notes from Tindale's parallel vocabularies box
    These papers were formerly located with Tindale's parallel vocabulary material (AA 338/8/20) and include vocabulary scraps, notes on social organisation, and notes on tribal distribution. Order imposed by the South Australian Museum archives.
  8. Richard See corrspondence
  9. This item consists of a covering letter from See to Tindale requesting Tindale's assistance as a referee for See's National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship Program application.
  10. Song and story texts
  11. This item consists of handwritten notes and typescript pages relating to songs and story texts, including: notes on the Kalaia (Emu) tjukurpa; notes and transcription of a Pintubi song; typescript of 'The Watti Totem of Nawoluko' (includes interlinear gloss translation and notes); typescript notes on the 'Nana Nana Increase Ceremony of Taliwora' and 'Story of the Alknarinja Women of Amunuruna (Luritja) Tribe'; handwritten version of The Story of Ngurunduri by Karloan (in Jarildekald with English translation) plus two typescript versions; typescript 'Dinewan Pular Puralka' (Emu and Brolga story); typescript of 'The Story of Peindjali and Perolge' by Karloan (x3); and a sketch map of the northern portion of the Hundred of Glyde 'showing native place names of some clans of the Tanganekald to illustrate story of Prupe and Koromarange'.
  12. Notes on tribes and language
    The papers in this item were found inside Anthropological Linguistics, Vol.8, No.2, 1966. They include a draft letter to Geoffrey O'Grady (9 July 1958) on the subject of tribes and language in Western Australia and a number of pages of notes entitled: Tribal movements; Tribe and Language; Effect of Desert on Language; and vocab.
  13. Letter from Daniel Sutherland Davidson
    This item consists of a letter from DS Davidson to NB Tindale, 7 July 1930. Among other topics, the letter discusses Gerhardt Laves's linguistic work in Australia.
  14. 'Index of Aboriginal place-names in South Australia. Card index compiled by Norman B. Tindale. Anthropology Archives. South Australian museum'
    This item consists of a bound print-out of an electronic database compiled at the South Australian Museum (c1990s). It is based on a collection of index cards. A note at the front of the bound pages states that 'apparently while being types errors crept in'.
  15. 'Aboriginal place names in the Lower Murray Valley with meanings'
    4pp typescript.

  Creator Dr Norman Barnett Tindale
Control AA 338/9/3
Date Range 1931 - c. 1991
Quantity 8.5 cm, 1 type 2 box
Inventory Identifier AA 338/9/3
Series AA338/09