lamdha books -
Catalogue of books on Aboriginal Australia

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Bates, Daisy
The Passing of the Aborigines A Lifetime Spent Among the Natives of Australia
John Murray Ltd., London, 1944.
First edition: octavo: hardcover; 254pp., with a monochrome portrait frontispiece, a map and 11 monochrome plates. Moderate wear; binding rolled and shaken; softening to the spine extremities; text block and page edges embrowned; top joint starting; offset to the endpapers; previous owner's ink inscription to the flyleaf. Dustwrapper rubbed and edgeworn; scraped along the hinges; chipped at the spine panel extremities (with some loss of text) and with a small tear in the spine panel centre; a large chip to the top edge of the lower panel; now backed by archival-quality white paper and professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film. Good. Laid in: a newspaper clipping regarding the death, in Adelaide, of Daisy Bates.
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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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Elkin, A.P.
The Australian Aborigines
Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1970.
Reprint. Hardcover, octavo; blue cloth boards with gilt spine titling; 393pp, monochrome plates and colour frontispiece, dark green endpapers. Minor wear only. Illustrated dustwrapper with faded spine and chipping at spine panel extremities. Otherwise near fine and wrapper now protected in archival film with white paper backing. This book was the first authoritative work on the Australian Aborigines. The book was designed to "help the white man understand the Aborigines, to promote greater justice in the treatment of Aboriginal people, and to help them to rise culturally" (Preface, 1934). By 1954 the text had grown from 260 to 400 pages - the many additions and alterations reflecting the changes in Australian public attitudes to indigenous issues since the book's original publication. Elkin was one of the few white Australians who was prepared to speak for the Aboriginal people. It is interesting to note, as Ronald and Catherine Berndt suggest, that one of the most striking aspects of Elkin's writing is "his comprehension of Aboriginal religion and ritual life, which was "essentially theological and philosophical". He transmuted these things into "a kind of personal relevance. His own work had this same special quality" (Berndt, R. and C., 1979:87). Following Radcliffe-Brown's resignation from Sydney University Elkin was appointed lecturer-in-charge of the anthropology department in late 1932 and he was promoted to professor in December 1933. Until his retirement in 1956, he effectively dominated Australian anthropology, advised governments, trained administrators sent to Papua New Guinea, while also continuing his field research.
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Foley, Dennis, (Ricky Maynard, illus.)
Repossession of Our Spirit Traditional Owners of North Sydney
Aboriginal History Inc., Canberra, ACT, Australia, 2001.
Quarto; paperback; 120pp., with many monochrome photographic illustrations. Wrappers scuffed with some minor edgewear. Very good. "Aboriginal people were still living in their traditional country in the 1950's - right in the middle of Sydney. This extraordinary story tells how Dennis Foley, a Gai-Mariagal (northern Sydney) man grew up with his grandmother and uncles. He learned the traditional stories of Manly, Narrabeen, Crows Nest and Forty Baskets Beach."
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Ganter, Regina
Mixed Relations - signed by the author Asian-Aboriginal Contact in North Australia
University of Western Australia Press, Crawley WA, 2006.
Landscape quarto; hardcover, with gilt spine titles; 280pp., with many colour and monochrome illustrations. Mild wear; shaken; signed in ink by the author on the flyleaf; some faint spotting to the text block top edge. Dustwrapper is rubbed and lightly edgeworn; tears to the front flap-turn with associated creasing; now backed by archival-quality white paper and professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film. Very good. Australian histories too often imply that the nation's history began in Botany Bay in 1788. But Australia was not an isolated continent, and long before white settlement, Macassan trepangers had made contact with Aboriginal people along the Northern Coastline, weaving trading networks that extended from China to the Kimberley and Torres Strait. It was this Asian-Aboriginal link that gave rise to the northern pearling industry, a subsequent driver of regional economic development. Mixed Relations explores successive waves of contact in northern Australia and the impact of circumstances - political, legal and economic - on members of the polyethnic communities. Based on extensive fieldwork, including hundreds of interviews, it provides a fresh insight into the national narrative and poses challenging questions about the Australian identity in the twenty-first century.
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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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Herbert, Xavier
Angus & Robertson, Sydney NSW, 1939.
Third Australian edition: octavo; hardcover, with endpaper maps; 549pp. Moderate wear; a few marks to red boards with mild wear to edges and corners; foxing to endpapers, prelims, half-title and title pages with occasional scattered spotting throughout; browning and spotting to text block edges. Lacks dustwrapper. Good to very good otherwise. Effectively, the prelude to the author's magnum opus, 'Poor Fellow My Country'.
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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. Mildly rubbed and bumped illustrated slipcase with some splitting. 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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Johnson, Dianne
Sacred Waters The Story of the Blue Mountains Gully Traditional Owners.
Halstead Press, Broadway, NSW, Australia, 2007.
Quarto; hardcover; 237pp., with many monochrome and colour illustrations. Dustwrapper. New. This is the story of the Gundungurra and Darug people of the Burragorang Valley and lower Hawkesbury, commemorating their survival in a changing world and their ongoing struggle to protect their sacred lands and waters. The Blue Mountains were occupied as a summer camp by the tribespeople before white settlement. After colonization, an exodus began from the valleys and their homelands with many people being pushed into makeshift camps as land development started to encroach on the traditional ranges. Eventually, most families moved to the Gully, in Katoomba, when the Burragorang was flooded in the 1950s to create the Waragamba Dam. This, along with the impact of a new racetrack in 1957 impeded access to the tribal lands. The emotions and impact of history are conveyed through the voices of those who lived through the loss of their traditional lands, and through their descendants, in this moving collaborative effort.
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Lawlor, Robert
Voices of the First Day Awakening in the Aboriginal Dreamtime
Inner Traditions International, Rochester VT, 1991.
Quarto; paperback; 414pp., with many monochrome illustrations. Minor wear; covers lightly rubbed and edgeworn; spine sunned. Very good. Almost totally annihilated by a systematic genocide and the theft of their homelands, the Australian Aborigines met Western colonialism with a culture that had flourished in continuous harmony with the earth for more than 100,000 years. From this culture and its Dreamtime revelation comes a revisioning of the Golden Age of Mankind. Robert Lawlor asks us to suspend our values, prejudices, and Eurocentrism and step into the Dreaming - to walk with our most ancient human ancestors into the First Day and discover a people who rejected agriculture, architecture, writing, clothing, and the subjugation of animals; a lifestyle of hunting and gathering that provided abundant food of unsurpassed nutritional value; initiatic and ritual practices that hold the origins of all esoteric, yogic, magical, and shamanistic traditions; a sexual and emotional life that afforded diversity and fluidity as well as marital and social stability; a people who valued kinship, community, and the law of the Dreamtime as their greatest "possessions"; language whose richness of structure and vocabulary reveals new worlds of perception and comprehension; a people balanced between the Dreaming and the perceivable world, in harmony with all species and living each day as the First Day. Voices of the First Day is illustrated throughout with more than 100 extraordinary photographs, bark paintings, line drawings and engravings. Many of these photographs are among the earliest ever made of the Aboriginal people and are shown here for the first time.
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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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Morgan, Sally
Illustrated My Place
Fremantle Arts Centre, Fremantle WA, 1989.
Quarto; hardcover, with gilt spine-titling, decorated endpapers and a cream marker ribbon; 358pp., with many monochrome illustrations. Toned text block edges; a few marks on some pages. Scuffed dustwrapper with light edgewear (now professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film). Very good. Sally Morgan's 'My Place' was one of the most acclaimed biographies/novels of 1987. The book is a milestone in Aboriginal literature and is one of the earlier works in indigenous writing, in addition to being an important act of reclamation of Australia's black history. In her essay 'Aboriginal Art and Film: The Politics of Representation', Aboriginal scholar Marcia Langton reflects on the (often complex) debates and controversies that surround Morgan's 'My Place' - which have also plagued authors Mudrooroo and Archie Weller - and Aboriginal identity generally. "The enormous response by white Australia to 'My Place' lies somewhere in the attraction to something forbidden... and the apparent investigation and revelation of that forbidden thing through style and family history. It recasts Aboriginality, so long suppressed, as acceptable, bringing it out into the open. The book is a catharsis. It gives release and relief, not so much to Aboriginal people oppressed by psychotic racism, as to the whites who wittingly and unwittingly participated in it."
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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
The Aborigines and their Country
Rigby, Adelaide SA, 1969.
First edition: quarto; hardcover, with spine titles and upper board decoration; 143pp., with many monochrome illustrations. Moderate wear; one or two small marks on the boards; foxing to preliminaries and spotted text block edges. Dustwrapper with tears and associated creasing to the top of the lower panel; faded spine and front panel edges; mild edgewear; now professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film. Very good. A comprehensive thesis resulting from five years of study, research and travel among the aboriginal peoples of Australia, supported by a wide selection of photographs from the author's collection in the State Library of South Australia, with contents arranged under the following headings: Mythological places of the aborigines; Trees of the inland; Trees of the Northern Coast; General subjects (in colour); The Desert People; The aborigines of the North Coast; The aborigines in civilisation; Primitive camps and shelters; Foods of the Northern People; Foods of the Desert People; Water birds as aboriginal food; The many uses of a wooden dish; Water-craft; Art motifs of the Inland; Cave spirits of the Arnhem Land Plateau; The rituals of the Desert; The Arawaltja ceremony, Groote Eylandt; The Kulama Yam Ceremony, Melville Island; The opening rituals, Melville Island Pukamuni burial-ceremony; The final rituals Melville Island burial.
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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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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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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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Yunupingu, Geoffrey Gurrumul
Gurrumul: CD
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Yunupingu, Geoffrey Gurrumul
Rrakala: CD
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