Similar items over time

Article - A. A. Abbie, 'The Australian Aborigine', Australian Medical Publishing, 1952 Document Reg. No: HT 25465

'The Australian Aborigine' by anatomist and anthropologist, Andrew Arthur Abbie (1905-1976). It was first published in the journal 'Oceania', December 1951, Vol. XXII. No. 2. This edition is a 1952 reprint by the Australasian Medical Publishing Company Limited. The article's author, Abbie, moved from England to Australia in the 1920s and in the 1950s wrote his first paper about Indigenous Australia. During his career he authored over 120 articles. This particular publication explores Indigenous Australia's "...origin, ethnological affinities, physical characteristics, antiquity in Australia and relationship to the Tasmanian..." in anthropomorphic terms.
This publication does not have a cover and is held together at the spine by two metal staples. It has 20 pages front and back, 11 of which are text based on matt paper and four that are picture plates on glossy paper. The remaining six pages are blank.
Statement Of Significance:
This publication succinctly reflects the social and historical context in which it was produced. A.A. Abbie conducted anthropomorphic research to construct scientific findings regarding the physical and mental characteristics of Australian Indigenous people. In doing so he reaffirms the culturally constructed idea that scientific knowledge holds greater worth and objectivity than other forms of knowledge and that the use of scientific classification is a valid form of understanding unknown peoples. It has been argued by theorists (namely Focault) that getting to know a group of people is a first step to governing them. In the case of Australian Aboriginal people, it was felt by many that 'cataloguing' Aboriginal types was necessary to ensure their dying race was adequately documented and understood before its extinction, and to also provide better 'protective supervision' as a means of slowing down this process. Abbie also used his scientific discourse to argue against popular notions that the Aboriginal race was inferior to European races. However, he does so by creating similar notions under the guise of science, such as that after proper education and training, Australian Aboriginal people may come up to par with New Zealand Maoris' mental capabilities.
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 244 mm (Height), 187 mm (Width)

More information

Tagged with: aboriginal depictions, anatomy, racism, aboriginal people, scientific research, anthropology
Themes this item is part of: Cultural Diversity Collection, Science & Measurement Collection
Primary Classification: CULTURAL IDENTITY
Secondary Classification: Indigenous Cultures
Tertiary Classification: racial classification
Inscriptions: Front cover, text: Reprinted from Oceania, December 1951. Vol XXII. No. 2 / The Australian Aborigine / By A. A. Abbie / Sydney / Australian Medical Publishing Company Limited / Arundel and Seamer Streets, Glebe / 1952
Front cover, handwritten: with regards [illegible signature]
Interior pages, handwritten: corrections on pages 93, 95, 96, 99 & 100 and on plate II, III & IV
Author: Andrew Abbie, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1951
References: Abbie, Arthur Andrew (1905-1976) Australian Dictionary of Biography Online Edition. Accessed 1 November 2010.
The Brisbane Courier (1930) Australian Aboriginals. Saturday 31 May 1930. Accessed 1 November 2010.

Add your comment

  • Museum Victoria does not provide valuations, for more information please visit the valuation infosheet
  • Please note that Museum Victoria staff will not normally respond to comments posted on our website.


This item is part of the following themes:

Similar items

Yes No