1949 Magazine Article On Arnheim Land, Australia, Aborigines For Sale
Selling is a 1949 magazine article about:
Arnheim Land, Australia
Title: Exploring Stone Age Arnheim Land
Author: Charles P. Mountford
This article is about the aboriginal (indigenous) people of the Arnheim Land area of Australia..
From the first page: “
A strange world below our plane unfolded like an ancient chart on weathered parchment. Scattered rains and mist blurred brown watercourses, swathed soggy green plains, and beveled gray edges of sharp escarpments. It seemed almost unfair to fly with such ease over country where so few white men dared to venture on foot. Hundreds of feet above Arnhem Land one could feel its inhospitable vastness and infinite emptiness.
Scarcely scratched by European exploration, Arnhem Land, an aboriginal reserve about the size of Maine, lies in northern Australia (map, pages 748-9). Except for the everspreading influence of widely spaced Christian missions, it remains blackfellows' country with a Stone Age look.
Here nomadic natives follow their age-old customs. In small groups they hunt with spears over the black-soil flats, among the monotonous eucalyptus forests, and in steepwalled gorges of the stony plateau. In primitive dugout canoes they fish off the coast, gather food in the swamps, or along the many tidal rivers.
Often the aborigines hold an all-night corroboree (tribal song and dance), their painted bodies flashing grotesquely in the firelight. And sometimes their spears fly in a fight to the death over women.
In early April, 1948, two Catalina flying boats moved the majority of our expedition staff from Darwin to Groote Eylandt in the wide Gulf of Carpentaria. A supply ship followed with three more members, the bulk of equipment, and food supplies.
Ten Australians and five Americans made ours the largest purely scientific expedition ever to take the field in Australia.
Original plans called for a much smaller group. However, through the personal attention of the Commonwealth Minister for Immigration and Information the party expanded; the Honorable Arthur A. Calwell was anxious to further collaboration between the scientists of his country and the visiting ones.
As the story unwinds, you will meet the members; so we won't herd them all on the stage at once (page 760). The National Geo graphic Society and the Smithsonian Institution (both of Washington, D. C.) and the Commonwealth Government of Australia sponsored the international expedition, hand-picking their respective representatives for the comprehensive eight-month survey.
Main objectives were to observe the everyday life of Arnhem Land aborigines; try to determine where they originally came from; learn how they coped with their own environment; collect specimens of their material culture, such as spears, throwing sticks, mats, and baskets. No less important was the task of recording mammals, fish, birds, and plants in the region.
The scientific departments helped one another in the field. Naturalists supplied anthropologists with information on the natives' environment, while the nutritional unit judged how well aborigines lived off the country. No other expedition in Australia has embraced so many interlocking branches of anthropology, natural history, and medical research.
We divided our time in the field fairly among three main bases.
Our first camp, at Umbakumba in northern Groote Eylandt, offered an island environment with a generally arid, sandy hinterland.
Secondly, Yirrkala, in the northeast corner of Arnhem Land, let us study life on the seacoast as well as among fresh-water billabongs (lagoons) and rich eucalyptus forests.
Oenpelli, our final site, was some 40 miles from the sea; here the great stony plateau of Arnhem Land rose abruptly from flood plains where extensive lagoons and marshlands teemed with fish and wildfowl and crocodiles lived in the writhing tidal rivers.
Although among the first areas of Australia discovered, Arnhem Land remains the least-known corner of this island-continent.
As early as 1606 a Dutch East India Company vessel penetrated 300 miles into the huge Gulf of Carpentaria to Cape Keerweer…”
7” x 10”, 18 double-sided pages, 11 B&W & 25 color photos plus map.
These are pages from an actual 1949 magazine. No reprints or copies.
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1949 Magazine Article On Arnheim Land, Australia, Aborigines: $7