Transforming Tindale at State Library of Queensland

Glimpse Queensland’s past at Transforming Tindale

Science and community studies are rarely thought to go hand in hand, but that’s exactly what noted scientist Norman Tindale merged in the early 20th century. This Australian was one of the most revered scientists of his time in the nation – not for his experimentation or invention, but for his detailed documentation of the aboriginal communities of Queensland.

Norman spent the year of 1938 journeying through community centres of regional Queensland including Cherbourg, Palm Island and Mona Mona. An endless swathe of data was collected during his travels, including intimate portraits and sketches of people from each community. While Norman’s journey was not without controversy – he has been criticised by some for his ‘invasive’ nature of his research – his name is now synonymous with articles on anthropology, linguistics, native title and aboriginal history.

In ode to Norman’s work, the State Library of Queensland is hosting a huge range of these remarkable images in the exhibition Transforming Tindale. Borrowed from the South Australian Museum, the display is an incredibly important record in aboriginal study, as well as for the ancestral family of the portrait subjects. These community subjects include the ancestors of artist Vernon Ah Kee, who has contributed to the exhibition with artworks inspired by Norman’s records. Vernon will also be giving a talk on his re-imaginings of the scientific originals on Thursday October 25.

@ State Library of Queensland, until December 9

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