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Film negative - Different ways of wearing the hair, Petermann Ranges, Northern Territory, photographed by Herbert Basedow, 1926

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Portrait of two men, 1926


This is a photograph by Herbert Basedow of the top half of two men. Each has a long beard and long hair that is tied back in a unique way.

Educational value

Basedow photographed these men in the Petermann Ranges in 1926. Men in this region kept their hair long, although the older man on the left does not seem to have particularly long hair. It is hard to say what his headband is made from but the younger man's seems to be made from human hair string. When men had their tied in a 'bob' like the man on the right, they sometimes carried small items in it, such as a stone flake or pituri - a herb for chewing.

Herbert Basedow was a doctor, anthropologist and explorer. From 1903 to 1928 he ventured to remote regions of central and northern Australia - places rarely seen by Australians even today. Aboriginal people often feature in his photographs. Basedow wanted to document Aboriginal cultures as they had been before British colonisation, and often went to some lengths to craft his photographs to appear as such.

This photograph was taken during a four-month expedition to explore central Australia sponsored by pastoralist Donald Mackay.

© Education Services Australia Limited and the National Museum of Australia 2010

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