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20. CP Mountford
Title : 20. CP Mountford 20. CP Mountford
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Date of creation : 1938
Format : Photograph
Dimensions : 60 x 60 mm
Contributor : State Library of South Australia
Catalogue record
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Description :

Portrait of Charles P. Mountford taken during a South Australian Government expedition sent to the Simpson Desert to search for possible remains of explorer Ludwig Leichhardt. The expedition was mounted to examine relics found near Mount Dare Station by station owner Edwin Lowe.

Acting ethnologist of the Adelaide Museum at the time (standing in for Norman Tindale) Mountford was considered "one of the best authorities available on Aboriginal rites and customs."

By 1938 Mountford had been developing his interest in ethnography for over ten years, and had since 1935 taken part in anthropological expeditions to the Warburton Ranges, Central Australia and the Flinders Ranges.

On this expedition, Mountford's role, according to his biographer Lamshed was to "make friendly contact with the Aborigines of the region and to induce them to tell what they might know about the relics". Whilst he was unable to ascertain any relevant information from those in the area, Mountford did have time to record stories and songs with local man, Iliyarinika. (This ethnographic work did not form part of the sizable donation of material Mountford made to the State Library between 1959-1970, and any information on its whereabouts would be gratefully received).

Despite the faith placed in Mountford's knowledge of Aboriginal customs, current South Australian Museum curator Philip Jones believes that it may have been Mountford's lack of experience in this area that led to an oversight by the party. Whilst it was believed by Grenfell Price and others that their finds were the remains of a European campsite, Jones believes there is a more likely explanation.

"...this was an Aboriginal burial that they were looking at. The bits of metal, leather and so on were not uncharacteristic of Aboriginal burials in the contact period where these accumulated pieces all with their own talismanic qualities could be incorporated in burials. This is well documented across Australia. It didn't seem to occur to any of them. I think it would have occurred to Tindale if he had been involved in the excavation."
From Deepening the mystery: the 1938 South Australian government Leichhardt search party (see link to National Museum symposium below)
Related names :

Mountford, Charles P. (Charles Pearcy), 1890-1976

Coverage year : 1938
Region : Flinders Ranges and Far North - Outback
Further reading :
Connell, Gordon. The mystery of Ludwig Leichhardt. Carlton, Vic. : Melbourne University Press, 1980

Lamshed, Max. 'Monty' : the biography of C.P. Mountford, Adelaide : Rigby, 1972, pp. 56-60

Mountford, Charles P. 'Papers relating to the South Australian Government Expedition to search for the remains of explorer Ludwig Leichhardt', PRG 1218/9

Price, A. Grenfell. The Mystery of Leichhardt : the South Australian government expedition of 1938, South Australia : Royal Geographical Society, 1937-38

Roderick, Colin. Leichhardt, the dauntless explorer, North Ryde, N.S.W. : Angus & Robertson, 1988
Internet links :
Australian Dictionary of Biography - Charles Pearcy Mountford

Australian Dictionary of Biography - Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig Leichhardt

National Museum of Australia. Leichhardt: the man, the mystery, the science, the history [symposium held in 2007]



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