Ronald Berndt

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Ronald Murray Berndt
Born (1916-07-14)14 July 1916
Adelaide, South Australia
Died 2 May 1990(1990-05-02) (aged 73)
Perth, Western Australia
Resting place
Karrakatta Cemetery[1]
Nationality Australian
Alma mater University of Sydney - BA, MA
London School of Economics - PhD
Occupation Anthropologist
Employer University of Western Australia (1956–81)
Spouse(s) Catherine (1941–1990)

Ronald Murray Berndt (14 July 1916 – 2 May 1990) was an Australian social anthropologist who, in 1963, became the inaugural professor of anthropology at the University of Western Australia.

He and his wife Catherine Berndt maintained a close professional partnership for five decades, working among Aboriginal Australians at Ooldea (1941), Northern Territory cattle stations (1944–46), Balgo (1957–81) and natives of New Guinea (1951–53).[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Berndt was born in 1916 in Adelaide. He attended high school at Pulteney Grammar School. He graduated from the University of Sydney in 1951 with a Bachelor of Arts, following up with a Master of Arts in 1954. He was awarded a PhD for a thesis based on his anthropological work in New Guinea.[2]

Aboriginal land rights[edit]

Berndt was an early advocate for legal recognition and protection of Aboriginal sacred sites, and clashed in 1980 with the Liberal premier Sir Charles Court over the Noonkanbah dispute in the Kimberley region.[2]

His interest was much broader than any one specific location or event, and he was focused on the national dimensions of the land rights issue.[3]

Publications[edit]

Some of his sole authored monographs include Kunapipi (1951), Djanggawul (1952), and Man, land and myth in Northern Australia (1970).

Joint works with Catherine Berndt[edit]

The Berndts jointly wrote a book first in 1952 as The First Australians[4] which went into three editions—the last being published in 1974.[5] A similar title The World of the First Australians went into five editions.[6]

Their publications were extensive.[7][8] Their contribution to the 1979 Sesquicentenary of Western Australia was the book Aborigines of the West.[9]

Legacy[edit]

The collected essays in honour of the Berndts in 1990 showed the breadth of the influence of their teaching and writings,[10] with essays by a wide spectrum of anthropologists of their time, including Claude Levi-Strauss and Raymond Firth.

The Berndts were avid collectors, and their collection was bequeathed to the University of Western Australia and exists as the Berndt Museum of Anthropology.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ronald Murray Berndt". Metropolitan Cemeteries Board. Retrieved 6 July 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c Tonkinson, Robert (2007). "Berndt, Ronald Murray (1916–1990)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. 
  3. ^ Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. (Symposium (5th : 1981 : Canberra, A.C.T.); Berndt, Ronald Murray, 1916-1990; Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. Symposium Canberra, A.C.T.) (5th : 1981 (1982), Aboriginal sites, rights and resource development : [Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, Fifth Academy Symposium, 11 November, 1981. Proceedings], Published for the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia by University of Western Australia Press, ISBN 978-0-85564-221-1 
  4. ^ Berndt, Ronald Murray; Berndt, Catherine H. (Catherine Helen), 1918-1994; Berndt, Ronald M. (Ronald Murray), 1916-1990; Berndt, Catherine H. (Catherine Helen), 1918-1994 (1952), The First Australians, Ure Smith, retrieved 7 July 2014 
  5. ^ Berndt, Ronald Murray; Berndt, Catherine H. (Catherine Helen), 1918-1994 (1974), The First Australians (3rd ed ed.), Ure Smith, ISBN 978-0-7254-0169-6 
  6. ^ Berndt, Ronald Murray; Berndt, Catherine H. (Catherine Helen), 1918-1994; Berndt, Ronald M. (Ronald Murray), 1916-1990; Berndt, Catherine H. (Catherine Helen), 1918-1994 (1964), The World of the First Australians, Ure Smith, retrieved 7 July 2014  and Berndt, Ronald Murray; Berndt, Catherine H. (Catherine Helen), 1918-1994; Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies (1996), The World of the First Australians : Aboriginal traditional life, past and present (5th ed. (revised) ed.), Aboriginal Studies Press for the Australian Institute of Aborigina Studies, ISBN 978-0-85575-184-5 
  7. ^ Berndt, Ronald Murray (1916-1990) The NLA/Trove selection identifies 188 separate items
  8. ^ Berndt, Ronald Murray (1962), Bibliography 1939-1962, n.p, retrieved 7 July 2014 
  9. ^ Berndt, Ronald Murray; Berndt, Catherine H. (Catherine Helen), 1918-1994; Berndt, Ronald Murray, 1916-1990; Tylee Memorial Collection (1979), Aborigines of the west : their past and their present (1st ed ed.), University of Western Australia Press for the Education Committee of the 150th Anniversary Celebrations ; Forest Grove, Ore : Agent U.S.A., International Scholarly Book Service, ISBN 978-0-85564-145-0  and Berndt, Catherine H. (Catherine Helen), 1918-1994; Berndt, Ronald Murray, 1916-1990 (1980), Aborigines of the West : their past and their present (2nd ed., rev ed.), University of Western Australia Press, ISBN 978-0-85564-145-0 
  10. ^ Thurston, David B; Howard, Michael C. (Michael Carlton), 1949-; Tonkinson, Robert, 1938-; Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies (1990), Going It Alone : Prospects for Aboriginal Autonomy: Essays in honour of Ronald and Catherine Berndt, Aboriginal Studies Press , 1990, ISBN 978-0-85575-211-8