1903 - 1928

A Different Time

National Museum of Australia

Frontier life in Australia in the early 20th century

A Different Time provides poignant reflections of expeditionary and frontier life in Australia, as captured by Herbert Basedow.

Basedow — anthropologist, geologist, scientist, explorer and medical practitioner — was a remarkable Australian. He was renowned for the breadth of his work across central and northern Australia in the early decades of the 20th century.

Basedow's extensive knowledge of the country, research and opinions were highly valued by scientists, politicians and businessmen of his era.

Part of his great legacy is the National Museum of Australia's collection of more than 2200 negatives created during his many expeditions in remote Australia.

Basedow's photographs reveal his diverse interests and provide a window into a different time.

This selection of images from the exhibition A Different Time: The Expedition Photographs of Herbert Basedow 1903-1928 is an introduction to Basedow's work.

More images and information can be found on the National Museum of Australia's website

Basedow always took a camera on his numerous trips into what were then remote areas of Australia.

His photographic collection begins with the 1903 Government North-West Prospecting Expedition into the far north-west of South Australia and the Northern Territory.

Basedow's next expedition, in 1905, investigated the geology of the coastline between Port Essington and the mouth of the Victoria River, and from Darwin south to Katherine.

Between 1905 and 1907 he made a number of short visits to the Flinders Ranges in South Australia, again undertaking geological investigations. On the first he came across Aboriginal rock engravings which he continued to document on subsequent trips.

Basedow undertook further expeditions in search of mineral deposits; to the Kimberley in 1916 and the Victoria River district in 1922.

Basedow's other major expeditions were to report on the health of South Australia's Aboriginal people in the state's settled districts and the south of the Northern Territory in 1919 and 1920.

He also undertook a vice-regal trip to central Australia in 1923.

This was followed by two trips funded by wealthy grazier Donald Mackay into central Australia in 1926 and Arnhem Land in 1928.

This exhibition includes images and names of deceased people that may cause sadness or distress to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Credits: Story

More of Basedow's images and information can be found on the National Museum of Australia's website

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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