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Glass plate negative - Old man in front of his hut, Yandruwandha people, Innamincka district, South Australia, photographed by Herbert Basedow, 1919

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Old man in front of his hut, 1919


This is a photograph by Herbert Basedow of an elderly man standing in front of a small wood-framed shelter. He wears a tassled loin cover, and has tied some string into his beard. The shelter is covered with a mix of leafy branches and European fabric. Woven materials for closing the entrance to the hut are tied back with rope. On the roof is a metal billy can, and next to the man is a bundle of clothing, a tin cup and a dog.

Educational value

This Yandruwandha man was photographed on a cattle station in the Innamincka disctrict of north-eastern South Australia in 1919. By this time Aboriginal people could not live off the land because their food supplies had been disrupted by livestock, fences and other aspects of white settlement. Accordingly they moved to centres like towns and pastoral stations. At some of these sites, rations and blankets from the government would be handed out.

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 Basedow's first medical relief expedition to north-east South Australia.

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

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