Spencer, Sir Baldwin

Kakadu people (also spelled Gagudju) were a tribe – or language group – of Australian Aborigines living along the East Alligator River when Baldwin Spencer visited that part of the Northern Territory of Australia in 1912.

For thousands of years, people of the Kakadu region recorded their own culture on the walls and ceilings of cliff edges and rock shelters, and examples of this rock art are included in this book. The publisher has also added colour images of local Aboriginal artefacts and scenery. These include some of the bark paintings and bags Spencer and Cahill collected, a selection of artefacts acquired by Paul Foelsche and others in the 1870s and 1880s, and additional artefacts from his own collection.

Spencer’s careful observation and documentation give us a unique picture of Aboriginal life in northern Australia. None of his material is excluded and some readers may criticise this decision to include Spencer’s records of secret and sacred objects and ceremonies. However,  its presence is essential for an appreciation of the richness of Aboriginal customs and art. The incorporation of Kakadu rock art images further enhances Spencer’s text and promotes a true understanding of Aboriginal culture.

In stock


David M Welch, 2008.  272 pages, paperback, 204 illustrations which include 106 colour photos of local rock art, artefacts and people, 91 historic black and white photos, and 7 drawings, including 2 maps.