Dr Barry Craig

Senior Curator World Cultures

+61 8 8207 7374


After attaining a degree in Anthropology and a Diploma of Education in the early 1960s, Barry spent three years teaching at Telefomin in the middle of New Guinea. He carried out research on the material culture of the region in his spare time.  Barry continued this research in the central New Guinea–upper Sepik region (1967–1969) while earning his keep as an economics Research Assistant at Macquarie University. He attended post-graduate courses in art history at New York University, Columbia University and Yale (1969–1971). During 1972–1973, Barry did fieldwork in the upper Sepik region. He taught courses in the art of Africa, Oceania and Pre-Columbian America at the University of Southern California (1975–1976). Barry returned to Australia (1977) to Adelaide and worked in market research/management consulting until taking the position of Curator of Anthropology at the PNG National Museum (1980). He returned to Adelaide in 1984 and worked in Community Health Research until obtaining a position in 1988 with the Aboriginal Family History Project at the South Australian Museum. He was appointed Curator of Foreign Ethnology at the Museum in 1995.


Research Interests

Pacific art and material culture, especially of Papua New Guinea. Documenting the Foreign Ethnology (non-Australian Aboriginal) collections of the South Australian Museum.


Current Research Projects


Songs of the upper Sepik and central New Guinea.  A six-month Fulbright visiting research fellowship for Dr Christopher Roberts, July-December 2012 and Kina 20,000 (= ~$10,000) from Ok Tedi Mining Ltd to publish Dr Roberts’ book, ‘Music of the Star Mountains’. On-going research on the songs of the Abau of the Idam Valley, upper Sepik, New Guinea, recorded by Dr Craig in 1973.


During and after WW1, ethnographic collections made by military men serving in ex-German New Guinea were acquired by the South Australian Museum. These are being researched by Dr Craig and Dr Christine Winter of Flinders University for publication as a book.


Digitisation of African collections in Museums in Australia and New Zealand. Digitisation of over 6500 objects from Africa held by collaborating museums in Australia and New Zealand has commenced with funding being sought to complete the project and make the collections available on a website.


Awards & Achievements

  • Fulbright scholarship and study grant, Wenner Gren Foundation, USA (1969–71)


Professional Associations           

  • Member, Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania

  • Member, Oceanic Arts Society

  • Member, Pacific Arts Association



  • BA (Hons), Anthropology, University of Sydney (1960)

  • Diploma of Education, University of Sydney (1961)

  • MA (Hons), Anthropology, University of Sydney (1970)

  • PhD, Flinders University (1996)


Community Engagement

Assisted with organising and hosting the Annual Forum of the Oceanic Art Society at the South Australian Museum, 18-20 May 2012 plus three talking tours of the Pacific Cultures Gallery.


Media Expertise

Papua New Guinea – art and material culture studies.






  1. Craig B. and Winter, C.  (2016)  Richard Thurnwald and Thomas James Rodoni in the Upper Sepik region of New Guinea 1914.
  2. Craig B. (2016)  Slit Gongs of the Sepik and Madang Provinces.
  3. Craig, B. Vanderwal, R. and Winter, C. (2015).  War Trophies or Curios? The War Museum Collection in Museum Victoria 1915-1920. Melbourne: Museum Victoria Publishing. 
  4. Craig, B. (2012). Carved and Painted Works of the Torricellis, West Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea. Pacific Arts NS 12: (1) 5–20.
  5. Craig, B. (2011). Scenes hidden from other eyes: Theodore Bevan’s collection from the Gulf of Papua in the South Australian Museum. The Artefact 33: 30–48.

  6. Craig, B. (ed)(2011). Living Spirits with Fixed Abodes. The Masterpieces Exhibition of the Papua New Guinea National Museum and Art Gallery. Adelaide, Australia: Crawford House Publishing.
  7. Craig, B. (2011). ‘Edgar Waite’s ‘North-west Pacific expedition’ - the ‘hidden’ collections’ in S. Cochrane and M. Quanchi (eds), Hunting the Collectors: Pacific Collections in Australian Museums, Art Galleries and Archives, pp. 168–190. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  8. Craig, B. (2009). The Pacific Cultures Gallery in the South Australian Museum from 1895 to 2007. Pacific Arts NS 8: 18–31.

  9. Craig, B., Lewis, G., and Mitchell, W. E. (2008). War shields of the Torricelli Mountains, West Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea. Oceania 78: (3) 241–59.

  10. Craig, B. (2008). Sorcery divination among the Abau of the Idam Valley, Upper Sepik, Papua New Guinea. Journal of Ritual Studies 22: (2) 37–51.

  11. Craig, B. (2007). ‘To ‘paddle our own canoe’: The Rev William Gray Collection in the South Australian Museum’ in Stevenson, K. and Webb, V.-L. (eds) Re-presenting Pacific Art, pp.6–27. Adelaide: Crawford House Publishing Australia.

  12. Craig, B. (2005). ‘What can material culture studies tell us about the past in New Guinea?’ in Pawley A., Attenborough R., Golson J., and Hide R. (eds) Papuan Pasts, cultural, linguistic and biological histories of Papua-speaking peoples, pp. 493–513. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University.

  13. Beran, H. and Craig, B. (eds) (2005). Shields of Melanesia. Adelaide: Crawford House Publishing Australia.