Native Tribes of Central Australia

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Sir Baldwin Spencer (1860-1929) was a British/Australian biologist and anthropologist, best known for his work amongst the indigenous Aboriginal tribes of Australia. After graduating from Exeter College, Oxford in 1884, Spencer was elected a fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford, before being appointed the Professor of Biology at the University of Melbourne. In 1896 Spencer joined his friend and co-author Francis James Gillen (1855-1912) to undertake fieldwork during the Aboriginal tribal gathering known as the Engwura. This pioneering volume, first published in 1899, is the result of this fieldwork. Spencer and Gillen were initiated as members of the Arunta tribe and became the first Europeans to witness many tribal customs and social structures. The kinship structures, marriage and burial ceremonies and religious beliefs of several tribes are described. This fascinating volume influenced contemporary ideas concerning palaeolithic society and the origins of art and religion.