Diamantina (SA) 1934

Supplementary to: 'Journal of the Anthropological Expedition to the Diamantina, North-East of South Australia. August 1934', AA 338/1/12

This series contains restricted material.

This item consists of 14 wax cylinders recorded by Norman B Tindale during the University of Adelaide's Board for Anthropological Research expedition to the north-east of South Australia in 1934. In a report on the expedition, Tindale wrote: 'pitjuri trade routes and the songs chanted during journeys to obtain this narcotic were set down and 15 songs of the Jawurawalka, Ngamani, Wonkanguru, Aranda and Dieri were recorded on the Edison phonograph' (AA 338/1/12, p.201). The 4 pitjuri (Duboisia) songs were not recorded on wax cylinder but transcriptions and additional descriptions are found in Tindale's 'Journal of the Anthropological Expedition to the Diamantina, North-East of South Australia. August 1934' (AA 338/1/12, pp. 87-91). Another song not recorded on wax cylinder, a navel string song, is located at AA 338/1/12, p.191.

Tindale's preferred recording method involved making two recordings of each song, 'the first was played back to the aboriginal, who then again sang it. Such repeats have never been replayed, they are virgin, awaiting some sophisticated system of reproduction' (letter from Tindale to the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies, 6 Feb 1975). Accordingly, cylinder contents listings often contain the letters 'T' and 'R' for 'trial' and 'repeat', respectively.

Documentation relating to the wax cylinders is found in Tindale's Diamantina field journal (AA 338/1/12) and song notebook (AA 338/12/1/6). The S. A. Museum Speech and Sound Collections register offers an incomplete record of songs recorded during the expedition (see AS 250-255). As mentioned, a number of songs were written down but not recorded on wax cylinder.

Transcriptions of songs are found in Tindale's field journal and the expedition song notebook. Note that the transcriptions vary in quality: they are often partial, and may be accompanied by English glosses. Tindale usually provides details on the identity of the singer, the place or places to which the song is associated, and in some cases more detailed contextual notes relating to the ceremonies of which the songs form a part.

According to documentation stored with the cylinders, as well as notes on the canisters, the Diamantina expedition wax cylinders contain the following songs:

AA 338/11/10/

  • Cylinder 1: Test, Song 1T & R
    [Track 1. Tape No. 9568; TT5; R1; Cyl. 1]

  • Cylinder 2: Song 2T, 2R, spoil
    [Track 2. Tape No. 9568; TT5; R2; Cyl. 2]

  • Cylinder 3: Song 3T, 3R
    [Track 3. Tape No. 9568; TT5; R3; Cyl. 3]

  • Cylinder 4: Song 4T & R solo, Song 5T
    [Track 4. Tape No. 9568; TT5; R4; Cyl. 4]

  • Cylinder 5: Song 5R, Song 6
    [Track 5. Tape No. 9568; TT5; R5; Cyl. 5]

  • Cylinder 6: Song 7T & R, 8T
    [Track 6. Tape No. 9568; TT5; R6; Cyl. 6]

  • Cylinder 7: Song 8 & 8 'trio'
    [Track 7. Tape No. 9568; TT5; R7; Cyl. 7]

  • Cylinder 8: Song 9T & R
    [Track 8. Tape No. 9568; TT5; R8; Cyl. 8

  • Cylinder 9: Song 10
    [Track 9. Tape No. 9568; TT5; R9; Cyl. 9; AS250]

  • Cylinder10: Song 11T & R, 12T
    [Track 10. Tape No. 9568; TT5; R10; Cyl. 10]

  • Cylinder 11: Song 12
    [Track 11. Tape No. 9568; TT5; R11; Cyl. 11]

  • Cylinder 12: Song 13
    [Track 12. Tape No. 9568; TT5; R12; Cyl. 12]

  • Cylinder 13: Song 14
    [Track 13. Tape No. 9568; TT5; R13; Cyl. 13]

  • Cylinder 14: Song 15
    [Track 14. Tape No. 9568; TT5; R14; Cyl. 14]

According to Tindale's song notebook, the following song titles relate to the recorded material:
  • Song 1: Wima song from Warrina, Lake Eyre

  • Song 2: Wama or snake song

  • Song 3: Song of Maleara from Uleita place

  • Song 4: Kuti or black swan song

  • Song 5: Black cockatoo song from Finke River Mission

  • Song 6: Warumbara Katuwiri Wima (Crow sneak away song)

  • Song 7: Murulpura place song

  • Song 8: Song from Murulpura near Oleita on Finke River

  • Song 9: Ilpinja song, Finke Creek

  • Song 10-12: Atjilparta ceremony songs
    [Song 10: AS250]

  • Song 13: Brolga song

  • Song 14: Wima Mindri of Mairumiti

  • Song 15: Circumcision ceremony song

  • Song No. 1-4 Pitjuri Song
    [AS251-254. No audio nor transcription]

  • Dieri navel string song
    [AS255. No audio nor transcription]

Tindale often assigned songs to particular tribes in the song notebook. However, note that in general the actual language or cultural ownership of a particular song is not necessarily indicated in the catalogue descriptions provided in this series. In many cases, such comment awaits further work upon the collection.

Tindale Tribes: Jauraworka; Ngameni; Wongkanguru; Aranda; Dieri.

CreatorDr Norman Barnett Tindale
ControlAA 338/11/10/Tracks 1-14
Date Range1934  -  1934
Quantity   14   wax cylinders, 1 access CD
Series AA338/11