Tindale Exhibition

9th Jul 2013

‘Transforming Tindale’ looks at the Tindale collection, what it means to Aboriginal people and its place in Queensland’s history.


Transforming Tindale
In 1938, the anthropologist Norman Tindale embarked on a two-year scientific expedition documenting Aborigines from around Australia. Most of the original material collected during this expedition is held by the South Australian Museum. Around 20 years ago, some of this collection relating to the genealogies and photographs of over 1100 people from five Queensland and two northern New South Wales Aboriginal communities was copied and supplied to the State Library of Queensland. Since then, there has been a constant demand from members of the Aboriginal community looking for photographs and information about their families.

One of the many Aboriginal people who have accessed the Tindale collection is Vernon Ah Kee. An important part of the Transforming Tindale exhibition is his use of the images of his family members to produce stunning artworks that are featured alongside enlargements of several of the portraits taken by Tindale in 1938. Many other Aboriginal families also have strong connections to the photographs taken by Tindale and this exhibition is an opportunity to tell some of these personal stories.

This exhibition features text and images that will highlight controversial issues relating to anthropologists studying Aboriginal people and treating them as scientific objects, while also looking at the importance of Aborigines now gaining access to photographs and documents that relate to their family histories held by archives, museum and libraries.

At Cairns Libraries July - August


Display Dates


5 to 28 July


31 July to 13 August


16 to 30 August


4 to 18 September


21 September to 5 October