Aiston Collection

George 'Poddy' Aiston (1879-1943)




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More than 230 Aboriginal artefacts collected by mounted police-trooper, ethnographer and store-keeper George Aiston.

George Aiston (1879-1943) developed an interest in ethnography during his posting to the west coast of South Australia following his return from the Boer War. This interest deepened after his transfer to Mungeranie, on the Birdsville Track, and he began documenting material culture processes with photography, and gathered ethnographic and stone tool collections for museums and private collectors following his retirement from the police force ca. 1913, when he established a small museum at his Birdsville Track general store at Mulka, south of Mungeranie. He supplied most of the text and illustrations for Savage Life in Central Australia (Macmillan, London), co-authored with George Horne, 1924. Aiston's collecting interests extended to guns, edged weapons and armour, a collection largely preserved at the South Australian Museum, together with his Australian ethnographic material.

Out of copyright

Restricted access to secret sacred objects

These artefacts were separately donated to the museum, by Aiston's widow (Mabel Aiston) and Glover, Lady; from estate of Charles R.J. Glover; Charles R.J. Glover (1870 - 1936) Mayor of Adelaide (1917 - 1919), Lord Mayor (1923 - 1925, & 1930 - 1933). His son, Sir John Glover later held the same office (1960 - 1963). His collection includes items from the Chewings & Aiston Collections. Further information may be found in specimen document files. Related collection notes and external related collections: Associated archival component held in the SAM Archives collections (AA3), including correspondence, photographs, newspaper clippings. Aiston ethnographic material is also held in the National Museum of Australia, Australian Museum (Sydney) and the Brisbane Museum. For ADB entry see: Philip Jones, 'Aiston, George (Poddy) (1879 - 1943)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 13, Melbourne University Press, 1993, p. 18:


Aboriginal artefacts; Aboriginal culture; Aboriginal peoples (Australians); Photography

Aboriginal artefacts; Australian Aboriginal material culture; Axe; Bag; Bags; Basket; Boomerang; Ceremonial objects; Club; Container; Cordage; Early 20th century; Fire-making; George Aiston; Glover; Knife; Material; Medical; Message; Musical instrument; Narcotic; Ornament; Photographs; Plume; Shield; Sorcery; Spear; Spear-thrower; Toy

Aboriginal peoples; Artefacts; Ceremonial objects; Drugs; Indigenous medicine; Musical instruments; Photography; Sorcery; Toys

Anthropological specimens; Ceremonial objects; Containers; Edged Weapons; Personal adornments; Photographs; Projectile weapons; Tools; Toys; Weapons

Charles R.J. Glover; George 'Poddy' Aiston; Lady Glover; Mabel Aiston

Coverage Spatial

Mungeranie; Mulka; Cooper Creek; Birdsville; Lake Eyre district; Birdsville Track South Australia.; Kanowana

Coverage Temporal



Related Collections


2012-05-30 23:41

2011-03-18 18:27