Australia: William Blandowski’s illustrated encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia

william blandowski cover

Harry Allen

Mark Dugay-Grist

Luise Hercus

Thomas Darragh

Sep, 2010
Anthropology and Archaeology
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$60.00 RRP incl. GST


William Blandowski was an explorer, natural scientist and artist who led a Victorian government expedition to the junction of the Murray and Darling Rivers from 1856 to 1857.

Australia is the first publication in English of his nineteenth century illustrated encyclopaedia of Aboriginal life, Australien in 142 photographischen Abbildungen nach zehnjärigen Erfahrungen.

In Australia, Blandowski explores the potential of images to portray the lives of people engaged in everyday activities, as well as dramatic conflicts and rituals. They include Blandowski’s own photographs, and photographs of sketches or illustrations created by others, including the only nineteenth century portrait image of the Nyeri Nyeri people. By reading Australia, we become on-the-spot participants in moments of ‘first contact’.

Harry Allen teaches in the Department of Anthropology at Auckland University, New Zealand. He is a Research Associate at La Trobe University, Victoria.

Mark Dugay-Grist was State Heritage Adviser Aboriginal Affairs Victoria Department for Planning and Community Development at the time of writing, and is now working as an independent consultant. He belongs to the Wergaia, Wemba Wemba and Nyeri Nyeri [Yerri-Yerri] peoples. His work has included protecting Aboriginal heritage sites and returning Aboriginal remains to communities.

Brook Andrew is a Wiradjuri interdisciplinary artist working in photography, neon, screen print, mixed media, public art and installation.

Luise Hercus is a Visiting Fellow in the School of Language Studies, ANU. She specialises in Aboriginal languages, and has also studied songs and mythologies, particularly in the Lake Eyre Basin.

Thomas A Darragh is a palaeontologist and historian of science, who has specialised in the study of German scientists and explorers in Australia, such as Blandowski, von Mueller and Leichhardt. He is an Emeritus Curator at Museum Victoria.

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Last reviewed: 10 Jul 2020