Crayon drawings relating to the Warburton Range expedition, Western Australia, 1935.

Archive Collections / Board for Anthropological Research / Crayon drawings relating to the Warburton Range expedition, Western Australia, 1935.
Date Range1935  -  1935
Quantity 100cm,   271   crayon drawings in 3 archive boxes
CollectionBoard for Anthropological Research
ArrangedNumerical. Imposed by archives.
Series IdentifierAA346/15
Board for Anthropological Research Expedition K

This series comprises drawings by Aboriginal people that were commissioned by members of the Board for Anthropological Research party whilst on expedition. The process is best described by Charles Pearcy Mountford in 'Aboriginal Crayon Drawings', Records of the South Australian Museum, Vol. 6, pp 1-28: 'Sheets of brown wrapping paper, approximately 50 cm. by 30 cm., were distributed, together with [red, yellow, black and white] crayons..it was especially desired that nothing external should influence the choice either of the subject, the colours chosen or the method of drawing'. The Aboriginal person 'was asked only to make marks (walka) on his paper'. (p5)

Mountford adds that intitially 'simple drawings of everyday things of aboriginal life were made, such as kangaroos, emus, trees, camps and waterholes' but after a week, confidence was gained and 'drawings relating to the travels and exploits of the aborginal's mythical ancestors began to be produced by the older man. From that time onward, no difficulty was experienced in obtaining designs, in fact, it was unfortunate that, as only a limited amount of time was available for interpretation of the detail, and the recording of the data, the distribution of sheets had to be curtailed.' (p6)

Each artist was identified by their data card identifier: see AA 346/4/15

Drawing collected and annotated by: Norman Tindale and Charles Mountford. In Tindale's Warburton Ranges journal, AA 338/1/14, he notes on the 15th of July '..He [Mountford] will gather native drawings for the Museum collection but will so arrange it that his writings will not clash with my work on the drwaings in their relation to mythology, which I an using for a special purpose. I will engage in the gatherings of drawings also as part of the technique developed by myself for the learning of details of the names & movements of totemic ancestors.'

For further information see:

  • 'Anthropological Expedition to Warburton Range, Western Australia by Norman B. Tindale. July-September 1935. Journal. Adelaide, S. A. 1935'. (AA 338/1/14)

  • Sutton, Peter, 1998, 'Aboriginal Maps and Plans', The History of Cartography, volume Two, Book Three, Cartography in the Traditional African, American, Artic, Australian, and Pacific Societies, David Woodward and G Malcolm Lewis (editors), The University of Chicago Press, pp 387-416.

  • Mountford, 'Aboriginal Crayon Drawings relating to Totemic Places belonging to the Northern Aranda Tribe of Central Australia', Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia, Vol. 61 pp 85-95

  • Mountford, 'Aboriginal Crayon Drawings. II. Relating to Totemic Places in South-Western Central Australia', Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia, Vol. 61 pp 30-40

  • Mountford, 'Aboriginal Crayon Drawings III The Legend of the Wati Jula and the Kunkarunkara Women', Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia, Vol. 62 pp 241-254

  • Mountford, 'Aboriginal Crayon Drawings IV Relating to every-day incidents of the Ngada Tribe of the Warburton Ranges of Western Australia', Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia, Vol. 63 pp 3-13

  • Mountford, 'Contrast in drawings made by an Australian Aborigine before and after initiation', Records of the South Australian Museum, Vol. 6 pp 111-114

Included Items