Kenneth Maddock

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Emeritus Professor Kenneth James (Ken) Maddock (1937 – 2 June 2003) was an eminent anthropologist in Australia, and respected, rigorous scholar of Australian Aboriginal societies.[1]

Over a period of approximately 40 years (from the 1960s through to the end of the 1990s) Maddock's range of interests, his depth of scholarship, his analytical acumen, and his lucidity of exposition lead him to make a contribution to the social anthropology of Aboriginal Australian's "...second to none...".[1]


Maddock was born in Hastings, New Zealand in 1937, obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Law, then (in 1964) a Masters of Arts in Anthropology at the University of Auckland.[1]

Maddock's research interests took him to Aboriginal Australia where he undertook ethnographic fieldwork exploring religious beliefs and rituals of Aboriginal peoples in Arnhem Land under Dr L.R. Hiatt's supervision, and by 1969 completed a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) with the University of Sydney.[2]

He obtained a position as the first lecturer to work with Macquarie University's foundation professor of Anthropology, Chandra Jayawardena, and by 1991 achieved his own personal chair, retiring from the chair in 1995 yet continuing his association with the Department as one of Macquarie University's longest serving and most distinguished academics, until his death in 2003.[2]

He is survived by his wife Sheila and three children, Catherine, James and Harold[citation needed] .

Selected bibliography[edit]

Maddock left a significant body of notes, papers and records of and about Aboriginal Australians plus records detailing some of the ramifications of researching Aboriginal Australians in the shadow of Australian land rights laws.

The record he has left behind includes, significantly, the following three books:

  • Maddock, Kenneth (1972) The Australian Aborigines : a portrait of their society. Penguin Press. London
  • Maddock, Kenneth (1980) Anthropology, law and the definition of Australian Aboriginal rights to land. Katholieke Universiteit. Faculteit der Rechtsgeleerdheid, Instituut voor Volksrech. Nijmegen, The Netherlands
  • Maddock, Kenneth (1983) Your land is our land : Aboriginal land rights. Penguin. Ringwood, Victoria. ISBN 0-14-022505-6


  1. ^ a b c Hiatt, L.R (2003) "Kenneth Maddock 1937 - 2003". The Australian Journal of Anthropology. Volume 14. Number 3. Pages 402-404
  2. ^ a b Norton, B. (2003) "Vale: Emeritus Professor Ken Maddock". Macquarie University News. Accessed 11 March 2008

External links[edit]