This series comprises maps annotated by Tindale during expeditions and field trips throughout Australia from the 1920s to the 1970s. The series also contains those maps compiled at his desk to further research on 'tribal' boundaries. Except for a small number of maps containing data from Tindale's early field work in South Australia including the south east, this series does not include his maps of southeastern South Australia. For a description of maps relating primarily to Tindale's research in the south east of South Australia, see series AA 338/16 and AA 338/24. See also a copy of Johann Georg Reuther's map (see AA 266) of Aboriginal place names in the eastern Lake Eyre region of South Australia (drawn by Henry James Hillier (see SAMA 1123, 1904). This annotated map contains 'Tribal distribution data as worked out by N. B. Tindale 1930-35.'
The function of the maps was to support or supplement Tindale's journals. For example, the series includes maps relating to journals kept by Tindale on the University of Adelaide's Board for Anthropological Reseach expeditions. (See series AA 338/1 for a description and list of journals.) Included in this series are annotated topographical, aerial survey, pastoral and road maps, as well as hand drawn maps and others he obtained from colleagues. Tindale recorded original data from informants, including Aboriginal place names, clan names and 'tribal' boundaries. He also recorded expedition routes and scientific data (e.g. archaeological, botanical, entomological, geographical and geological). Many maps contain references to published and unpublished sources, thereby providing links to related research. Some 'field maps' are clearly linked to a particular expedition or journal entry, whereas others contain data compiled over years onto a single map. Annotations on many maps are neither dated nor clearly associated with a particular trip.
Tindale occasionally made copies of the annotated maps, to which he added corrections or conclusions in another ink colour. In some instances, a copy was later made of the annotated copy and further notes added. As a result, ink colour may provide a clue to date of annotation. The maps are arranged in chronological order by date of annotation or printing. If dates of annotation and printing are unknown, an approximate date or 'date unknown' has been recorded in the description. Within this chronological arrangement, maps are grouped by expedition and/or geographical region.
Where relevant, 'Tindale tribes' are listed and linked to the Catalogue published in Tindale's 1974 publication Aboriginal tribes of Australia, their terrain, environmental controls, distribution, limits, and proper names. Descriptions of maps can be accessed via the Catalogue.
A small number of maps relating to Tindale's personal research outside of Australia, including Japan, Malaya and North America, have been included in this series. They are listed at the end of the inventory.