WHITE, Samuel Albert (1870-1954)
Photographs of the Everard and Musgrave Ranges Expedition, South Australia, June-September 1914
A highly important record of early European contact with the Yankunytjatjara people.
Eight gelatin silver print photographs, each 100 x 127 mm, unmounted; versos with the photographer's pencilled captions and sequence numbers; all of the prints are in fine condition.
Although principally an ornithologist, by the early 1900s Adelaide-born Samuel White 'had earned a reputation as Australia's pre-eminent field naturalist … During the years 1906 until 1922 he completed six major expeditions into Central Australia and a number of shorter trips.' (Jones, Philip. Images of the Interior: Seven Central Australian Photographers. Adelaide : South Australian Museum, 2011, p.30). The expedition to the Everard and Musgrave Ranges in June-September 1914 was undertaken in conjunction with the South Australian Government's geological expedition to the far north-west of South Australia. White was invited to accompany it as naturalist and 'to make observations on Aboriginal life and customs. This was to be one of the last Australian exploring expeditions in the nineteenth-century tradition. The party of six Europeans and two Aboriginal guides set out from the Oodnadatta railhead with sixteen camels on 28 June 1914. They travelled north-west into the unexplored Musgrave and Everard Ranges, making observations and collecting natural history specimens.' (ibid. p.33)
The photographs of the Yankunytjatjara people of the Everard Ranges taken by White created much scientific interest, as the only previous contact the Yankunytjatjara had had with Europeans was during the brief encounter with members of the Elder Exploring Expedition in 1891-92. The prints were sent to renowned anthropologist A.C. Haddon at Cambridge, and White's essay on the Yankunytjatjara, accompanied by four of the photographs, was published in the journal Man in 1921. White also published his own memoir of the expedition, In the far north-west : an expedition to the Musgrave and Everard Ranges (Adelaide, 1916).
White's pencilled captions on the verso of each photograph are as follows:
9a. Everard natives in camp
9b. Aborig. who accompanied on exp. thro the Ev. Ranges
10a. Aborig. of E.R. throwing spear
11a. A young Everard man
13a. Middle-aged woman of the Everard.
14a. Young woman with child
14b. Nursing the first child
16a. A Musgrave native home. Native shelter in the Mulga scrub