The Unambal Aborigine Tribe of North West Australia

The Unambal

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An account of Doctor Andreas Lommel's studies in 1938 of the
Tribe of Aborigines living in North West Australia

In 1938 Doctor Andreas Lommel, a member of the Frobenius Institute, lived for several months in the Outback of north west Australia in a region called Kimberley, with the Aborigine tribe named Unambal. During this time he recorded and photographed the daily life of a Stone Age hunter-gatherer people. The story of this unique experience has now been published by Grahame Walsh's Takarakka Publishing, and is recommended to all students of Anthropology.

An Introduction by the late John Robinson, co-founder of the Bradshaw Foundation

dr andreas lommel
Dr Andreas Lommel
I first met Andreas and Katharina Lommel on June 23rd 1955 when Constable Buster Thorpe and I rode our mules into their camp north of Gibb River Station where they were studying a sacred Wandjina Cave painting.

Buster was the resident policeman of Fitzroy Crossing, a one-horse town in Kimberley, North West Australia. With two aborigine trackers, the four of us were on the last mounted police patrol, a 700 mile ride on mules visiting some of the Cattle Stations north of the King Leopold Range. Gibb River Station was our most northern destination and we had come to check up on the activities of two German archaeologists, Andreas and Katharina Lommel.

katharina  lommel
Dr Andreas Lommel
Katharina is an artist, and her job was to trace the Wandjina paintings on the walls of the sacred Aborigine site, and then copy them onto canvas and reproduce the original colours. In 1955 there was no colour photography. Her paintings can still be seen in the Munich Natural History Museum.

During the 1991 Bradshaw Foundation's expedition with Grahame Walsh in the Kimberley researching the Bradshaw Paintings, he referred to an unpublished document by Dr Lommel recording the time he had lived with North West Australian Aborigine Tribes in 1938. This lead to Grahame and myself visiting Andreas and Katharina in Munich in 1992, and Grahame arranging for an English translation, leading to the subsequent publication of Unambal.

The Bradshaw Foundation believe the story of these Australian Aborigines to be one of the most important documents in existence as it is a unique first hand account of the life of a Stone Age people. We feel that every student of anthropology and archaeology should read the book as it must surely have a baring on all Stone Age Societies that have existed in prehistory times. On the following pages we present an introduction to Unambal including colour photographs of Wandjina, Katharina's paintings, and some of the original black and white photographs taken by Andreas of a Corroboree in 1938.
aborigine hunting group australia
Aborigines set out for the hunt
aborigine group australia
Unambal Aborigine Group

The Unambal | Page | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |
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