Roth Collection

Dr Walter Edmund Roth Collection



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The Roth Collection comprises over 300 objects collected, as Roth claimed, in his capacity as Protector of Aborigines from 1898-1906.  The material primarily comes from North Queensland, with a strong concentration of objects in the Cape, and Central Queensland districts.  The collection includes Aboriginal material culture incorporating spears, stone tools, bags and baskets.  The collection also includes duplicates of photos taken by Roth which he sold to the Australian Museum.  These photos are of Aboriginal people and dwellings.

Dr Walter E. Roth was the Northern Protector of Aborigines from 1898-1904, and then overall Protector from 1904-1906.  Roth was an avid collector and cataloguer of Aboriginal material and culture.  He wrote a significant contribution to ethnography which, in its attention to material culture, had no rival at the time.  Roth followed this 1897 publication with numerous bulletins on Aboriginal culture, with the last in the series published in 1910. Roth's collection at the Queensland Museum is small in comparison with the material he sold to the Australian Museum, however its under-studied nature and the fact that it was claimed to be his government collection lends its significance.  Roth had an international standing at the time as an ethnographer, and this legacy remains in the numerous Indigenous material culture he collected which is retained in international museums such as the Smithsonian Institution.


Anthropology; Australian Aboriginal culture; Ethnography; Indigeous artefacts; Late 19th Century - early 20th Century

Indigeous Australian Peoples

Walter Edmond Roth

Coverage Spatial

Central Queensland, Australia; Cape York, Australia

Coverage Temporal



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2012-05-30 23:43

2011-06-02 17:37