lamdha books -
Catalogue of books on Aboriginal Australia

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Bates, Daisy (Barbara Ker Wilson, ed.; Harold Thomas, illus.)
Tales Told to Kabbarli Aboriginal Legends Collected by Daisy Bates
Angus & Robertson, Sydney NSW, 1977.
Reprint: quarto; hardcover, with gilt spine titling; 101pp., with many monochrome illustrations. Mild wear; previous owner's name in ink; spotting to text block edges with light toning; two very faint tape marks on endpapers. Dustwrapper with tiny tears and chipping to the spine panel extremities; now backed by archival-quality white paper and professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film. Very good.
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Blake, Barry J.
Australian Aboriginal Languages A General Introduction
Angus & Robertson, Sydney NSW, 1981.
Hardcover, octavo, 137pp. Text block edges mildly toned; slight scraping at board corners. Otherwise very good to near fine in like dustwrapper.
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Charlesworth, Max, et al. (eds.)
Religion in Aboriginal Australia An anthology
University of Queensland Press, St. Lucia Qld., 1989.
Octavo; paperback; 458pp., with maps and monochrome illustrations. Minor wear; text block, page edges and inside covers, well toned. Very good.
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Davis, Jack
The First-born and Other Poems: signed
J.M. Dent, Melbourne, 1983.
Octavo hardcover; black boards with gilt spine titling; 51pp., b&w illustrations. Signed in ink on the front endpaper by the author. Toning to text block edges with a few scattered spots; on or two small marks on front endpaper; mild rubbing to black illustrated dustwrapper with a tiny scrape on lower front corner; now professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film. Very good.
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Haagen, Claudia
Bush Toys: Aboriginal Children at Play
Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra, 1994.
Quarto paperback; 165pp., colour & b&w illustrations. A few scattered spots on text block edges and minimal rubbing and edgewear to covers. Very good to near fine. Begun as a catalogue of the collections of National Museum of Australia, this 'ensemble of texts' grew into an account of a little-known aspect of Australian social history, surveying material from collections all over Australia.... From spears, shields and throwing sticks, to hockey, marbles and fireworks, this beautifully illustrated and cleverly structured book builds for the reader a composite picture of the lives of Aboriginal children in the past and present, and adds significantly to records of Aboriginal society then and now.
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Hale, Monty (Minyjun)
Kurlumarniny We come from the desert
Aboriginal Studies Press/AIATSIS, Canberra ACT, 2012.
Quarto; paperback; 230pp., with maps and many monochrome illustrations. Mild wear. Very good. "Monty Hale's (Minyjun) autobiography is a vibrant account of a fascinating period of Western Australian history. Monty recounts the story of his parents and other Nyangumarta people walking hundreds of kilometres from the Western Desert to the coast in the nineteen thirties, and meeting white people for the first time. He also paints a rich account of Aboriginal people's experience of station life in the forties and fifties, including 'their right to a fair wage', the Pilbara strike, and mining for tin to buy land. It is a history of co-existence told through poignant personal stories. This book is a rich contribution to historical accounts of Western Australia's social, cultural and economic history. Kurlumarniny is written in both English and Nyangumarta so is an important contribution to acknowledging and maintaining Aboriginal languages." - Dr Kathryn Trees
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Horton, David (ed.)
The Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia - Two Volumes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History, Society and Culture: Volume 1 - A-L; Volume 2 - M-Z
Aboriginal Studies Press/Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Canberra ACT, 1994.
Two volumes: quarto; hardcover, full cloth faux half-binding with gilt spine titles on a royal blue label and endpaper maps; 1,340pp. [633pp. + 707pp.], with maps and many monochrome and full-colour illustrations. Minor wear. Dustwrappers lightly edgeworn. Mild rubbed illustrated slipcase with one corner bumped. The first significant authoritative and comprehensive reference on all aspects of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, society and culture. A prime intent of the compilation of the work was to produce 'not only an encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia, but an encyclopaedia for Aboriginal Australia.'
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Natural History Museum, London, 1995.
Square quarto; paperback; 168pp., with many full-colour and monochrome illustrations. Minor scuffing and edgewear; previous owner's ink inscription to the first page; some minor spotting to the text block edges. Very good. Children's book, told in blank verse, about a six year old Aboriginal boy who was adopted by Surgeon White of the First Fleet and who acted as an interpreter for Governor Philip.
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Knox, Kelvin, & Eugene Stockton (eds.)
Aboriginal Heritage of the Blue Mountains Recent Research and Reflections
Blue Mountains Education and Research Trust, Lawson NSW, 2019.
Quarto; paperback; 256pp., with maps and many monochrome and full-colour illustrations. New. People have inhabited Australia for thousands of years. At the foot of the Blue Mountains, New South Wales, human occupation is dated at up to 50,000 years ago. In 1788, the way of life for Aboriginal people living in the Mountains irrevocably changed. However, their cultural heritage, handed down from ancient generations, has remained in the form of occupation sites, art, artefacts, axe-grinding grooves, scarred trees, stone arrangements and other physical traces of their presence in the landscape. "Aboriginal Heritage of the Blue Mountains" gathers together some new research, stories and reflections about the Mountains' Aboriginal inhabitants and their heritage, perhaps what could now be understood as Australia's shared heritage.
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Lewis, Megan
Conversations with the Mob
University of Western Australia Press, 2008.
Landscape quarto hardcover; black boards with silver gilt spine titling, black endpapers; 239pp., colour plates. A few scattered spots on upper text block edges. Otherwise near fine in like dustwrapper now professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film. Conversations with the Mob is an intimate photographic portrayal of the Martu Aboriginal people, one of the last Indigenous groups in Australia's Great Sandy Desert to come into contact with Europeans. When the Mob allowed a whitefella - photojournalist Megan Lewis - to come and live with them, the understanding was she was there to take photographs to share with outsiders. But as two and a half years passed and Megan absorbed herself in the Mob's way, it became apparent that the project was more than a book or an exhibition - it was a journey of marpan (healing) for whitefellas and Martu alike. "Your photos are making Martu look at themselves and think, what are we doing... Now I see why you have to do this, because Martu have to look at themselves." Conversations with the Mob captures the reality of a traditional people living neither in their old world or in a white world. Through photographs, oral stories and Megan's own experiences with the Mob, the reader enters the reality of desert life where health, grief, footy, humour, sorry business and spirits consume daily survival.
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Lowe, Pat & Jimmy Pike
Jilji: Life in the Great Sandy Desert - signed by Pat Lowe
Magabala Books, Broome WA, 1990.
Quarto; hardcover, with white upper board titling and decorated endpapers; 147pp., with many colour illustrations. Minor wear; institution stamp on half-title page and presentation date handwritten on the title page; mild wear to board edges and corners. One or two tiny scrapes on the dustwrapper edges; now professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film. Very good to near fine. This book describes some of the features of life in the desert as told or shown by people who once lived here. Where there has been no real change, the present tense is used; for accuracy, however, when life is described as it was lived by nomadic bands before they settled, the past is used. The desert language in the text is Walmajarri.
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Morwood, M J
Visions from the Past The Archaeology of Australian Aboriginal Art
Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington DC, USA, 2002.
Quarto; hardcover; 347pp., colour and monochrome illustrations. Dustwrapper. Remainder. New. This book provides a comprehensive examination of Aboriginal rock art. It also asks how and why archaeologists study prehistoric art. M.J. Morwood reviews the techniques, methodologies, and technologies that scientists employ and explains why their insights often cannot be gained through other types of archaeological evidence. The symbolic evidence found in rock art is virtually the only window into understanding the ideology, territoriality, resource use, and social organization of an ancient society.
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Mountford, Charles P.
Nomads of the Australian Desert
Rigby, Adelaide SA, 1976.
Quarto; hardcover, with gilt spine-titling; 628pp., with many monochrome illustrations and 13pp. of full-colour colour plates, one folding. Very slightly rolled; some very light toning to the text block edges; previous owner's ink inscription to the flyleaf; some mild offset to the endpaper edges. Dustwrapper lightly rubbed and sunned along the spine panel, with some very light wear to the top edge; now professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film. Very good to near fine. Laid in: a slip of printed paper warning against exposing the book to indigenous Australian perusal without first consulting tribal elders. Image of the cover available upon request only. Ex-libris: Michael Boddy. This book concerns the Aborigines of the Mann and Musgrave ranges who lived in one of the world's most arid and desolate regions - the study of a people isolated from every outside influence. Dr Mountford shows how the landforms of the tribal areas are interwoven in their spiritual lives and how they inspired a cherished body of myths, legends rituals and ceremonies. These observations are augmented by a collection of drawings and photographs principally taken during his own field researches and is closely integrated with the text.
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Simon, Ella
Through My Eyes
Collins Dove, Blackburn, 1987.
Octavo paperback; 190pp., b&w photographic plates. Owner's name. Browned text block and page edges; rubbed covers with wear to edges and corners. Very good. Through My Eyes was among the first Aboriginal women's narratives available to a mainstream audience. Ella Simon, a prominent Biripi woman from Taree on the mid north coast of NSW, made oral recordings of her life story in 1973. She was determined that her resultant autobiography would prove to Aboriginal and white readers alike that 'white and black can live together; that they've got a lot in common'. Ella Simon believed that publishing her life story would provide a forum for her complex and then controversial views on assimilation. She resolved to articulate her sense of Aboriginality and defend her positive interpretation of assimilation in response to unsettling events in the Purfleet Aboriginal community: events that reflected wider reform and change in Aboriginal affairs.
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Smith, Jim
Aboriginal Legends of the Blue Mountains
The Author, Wentworth Falls, 1992.
Quarto paperback, 99pp. + fold-out map. Bookplate to cover verso. Minor wear; foxing and some marks and stains to white illustrated covers; spotting to text block edges. Very good. Issued for subscribers only.
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Sykes, Bobbi
University of Queensland Press, St Lucia, 1996.
First edition. Octavo paperback; 38pp. Minor wear only; near fine.
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Sykes, Bobbi
Love Poems and Other Revolutionary Actions
University of Queensland Press, St Lucia, 1989.
Reprint: octavo paperback; 57pp. Minor wear only; near fine.
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Sykes, Roberta
Snake Dreaming Trilogy - signed by the author "Snake Cradle", "Snake Dancing", & "Snake Circle"
Allen & Unwin Pty. Ltd., St. Leonards NSW, 1997-2000.
Three volumes: octavo; paperback; 1255pp. [330pp. + 270pp.+ 325pp.], with monochrome illustrations. Minor wear; scuffing to the covers; text block edges spotted; signed in ink on the first two title pages; previous owner's ink inscription to the first page of volumes 1 and 2. Very good. "The flamboyant Aboriginal rights activist, academic and writer, whose searing autobiography laid bare racism in Australia and provoked debate over what it meant to be an Aborigine, died on Sunday. She was 67. Dr Sykes spent much of her adult years in the glare of publicity. From being arrested in 1972 at the Aboriginal tent embassy in Canberra, to being the first black Australian to graduate from a US university - namely, the ivied halls of Harvard - and the unresolved controversy over her entitlement to call herself Aborigine, she both polarised and compelled." - Jamie Walker & Andrew Fraser
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Thomas, Martin
The Many Worlds of R.H. Mathews: In Search of an Australian Anthropologist
Allen & Unwin, Crow's Nest NSW, 2011.
Octavo; hardcover, with gilt spine titling and illustrated endpapers; 462pp., with a monochrome portrait frontispiece, many maps and monochrome illustrations and 8pp. of colour plates. Minor wear; some light bumping to the board bottom edges. Dustwrapper slightly rubbed; now professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film. Very good to near fine. "Martin Thomas has brought back anthropologist Robert Hamilton Mathews from almost total obscurity. Thomas has pursued his man with forensic intensity, and astutely located him in time and place. This alone is a significant achievement. But in so doing he examines many wider themes that inhere in the story. He employs the story of Mathews' public career to examine the world of Australian - and indeed English-speaking anthropology in its formative years in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Thomas considers the place of Indigenous people in Australian society at the time and reflects on the wider colonial encounter. Mathews was the son of Irish emigrants who had fled Ireland under suspicion of murder before pursuing and gaining respectability in the colonies. He had a successful career as a licensed surveyor, became wealthy and attained mild eminence as a justice of the peace - nothing to render him either memorable or historically important. But in 1892, at the age of 51, something extraordinary happened to him: Thomas describes the life-changing experience as a sudden onset of 'ethnomania'. Mathews became obsessed by the need to find out and record everything he could about the remaining Indigenous communities in south-east Australia. The mystery of his sudden ethnomania derives as much from the timing as the task. As a surveyor, he had travelled incessantly across New South Wales and had obviously met many Indigenous people while on his professional excursions, but there is no evidence that he made any attempt to collect information or artefacts before 1892. Some general characteristics of the time allow Thomas to approach (but not penetrate) the mystery. There was a strong sense in white Australia that the Aborigines were dying out, particularly in south-east Australia. This was at the moment when European thought, deeply penetrated by Darwinian evolution, considered that those viewed as primitive held the secrets to the early history of the human race. These two facts help explain both the energy and urgency of the Mathews crusade and the interest that his work evoked in intellectual circles in many parts of the world. Between 1893 and 1912 he published 171 articles in learned journals in London, Washington, Vienna, Berlin and Paris, as well as the Australian states. It was an extraordinary achievement - a forgotten contribution to anthropology and to the cultural history of the continent. Fortunately he has now found a worthy and persuasive champion. We are left in no doubt that behind the book is a powerful and well-informed intellect. But the repeated intrusions of the author's persona make it seem as though he finds himself quite as interesting as Mathews, and assumes his readers will feel the same. Nonetheless Thomas is a fine advocate and writer, able to create not just a memorable montage of Mathews and his milieu but an unforgettable one." - Henry Reynolds
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Traditional (Catherine H. Berndt, trans. & ed.; Djoki Yunupingu, illus.)
Land of the Rainbow Snake Aboriginal Children's Stories and Songs from Western Arnhem Land
Australian Children's Classics/John Ferguson Pty. Ltd., Sydney NSW, 1981.
Reprint: octavo; hardcover, full leather with gilt spine titles on brown labels and tipped-on upper board decoration; 117pp., with many monochrome illustrations. Minor wear; boards a little rubbed; text block top edge dusted. No dustwrapper as issued. Very good.
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Turbet, Peter
The Aborigines of the Sydney District before 1788
Kangaroo Press, East Roseville, 2001.
Revised edition. Octavo paperback; 170pp., b&w illustrations. Mild toning to text block edges. Very good to near fine.
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Various (introduction by Wandjuk Marika)
The Aboriginal Children's History of Australia Written & Illustrated by Australia's Aboriginal Children
Rigby, Adelaide, 1981.
Reprint. Quarto hardcover; orange boards with dark brown spine titling and lower board illustration, orange endpapers; 149pp., colour illustrations. Owner's name. Minor wear; board spine sunned and rubbing to board edges, frayed corners; mildly toned and spotted text block edges. Illustrated white dustwrapper slightly toned along the spine panel; now professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film. Very good.
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Wongar, B.
The Trackers
Outback Press, Collingwood, 1975.
First edition. Hardcover, octavo, 135pp. Minor wear; rear panel of dustwrapper rubbed and small bump on lower front board and dustwrapper. Very good to near fine and professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film. An Asian architect dreams of building a bridge linking the two continents of Australia and Asia. But his hopes of creating racial harmony are suddenly shattered. One morning he discovers his skin has turned black; overnight, he is forced to become a fugitive. During his flight to freedom the Asian discovers the Aboriginal people. He is accepted as a brother, and quickly embraces aboriginal culture, lifestyles and legends. His experiences become our window into the lives of the indigenous population who inhabit the vast, tyrannical Australian outback. A compelling story, magically written.
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