Keep the Archive Alive!

Hold the world's wisdom in the palm of your hand with the ISTA Flash 9.0. The most comprehensive collection of books on religion, mythology, folklore, and the esoteric ever assembled. An incredible value, with over 1700 sacred books, many of which are rare and hard to find.


Alcheringa: Image © Copyright J.B. Hare 2000, All Rights Reserved

Finding texts about Australian Aboriginal religion in the public domain was extremely difficult. There is a landslide of 19th and early 20th Century books and articles about American and African indigenous traditions, many treating the subject with sensitivity and great depth. Only a few Australian works from this period are available, and most of them are pretty vague on the details. Some of this can be attributed to the traditional tribal secrecy, which is maintained even to this day.

Please be mindful of the historical context in which these books were written. The obvious problem with these books is that they were written by White Australians during the early twentieth century. This material contains racist and sexist characterizations, inaccurate depictions of aboriginal life and misrepresentations of their spiritual practices. Some of these documents contain completely fictional material which was the invention of the author, and have no actual basis in aboriginal belief or traditions. Descriptions of some of the ceremonies in these documents or the naming of dead people may regrettably violate Aboriginal tabus. These texts are provided for scholarly purposes and should not be considered definitive material on Aboriginal culture, only as a starting point for discussion.

In short, we encourage you to ‘read between the lines’.

Ethnographic Descriptions

 Oceanic Mythology
by Roland B. Dixon. [1916]
Part five of this book contains an overview of Australian mythology, as well as comparative material on other Pacific cultures.

 Native Tribes of the Northern Territory of Australia
by Baldwin Spencer. [1914]
This massive ethnography is one of the few books in the public domain which details pre-20th Century Aboriginal culture and traditions in a non-ethnocentric perspective.

 The Native Tribes of Central Australia
by Baldwin Spencer and F. J. Gillen [1899]
A primary source for ethnographic information on the Aboriginal culture of central Australia including details of kinship, ceremonies and everyday life.

Works of K. Langloh Parker

 Australian Legendary Tales
collected by K. Langloh Parker, Introduction by Andrew Lang. [1897]
This is a turn of the century collection of folklore of the Euahlayi (Noongahburrah).

 The Euahlayi Tribe
by K. Langloh Parker. Introduction by Andrew Lang. [1905]
An amateur ethnography of the Eulayhi. This book includes more depth on the culture, spiritual beliefs and ceremonies of the Euahlayi.

Other Books

The following texts are of historical interest.

 The Customs and Traditions of the Aboriginal Natives of North Western Australia
by John G. Withnell 42,061 bytes [1901]
A short amateur ethnography of the Northwestern Aborigines, primarily of historical interest.

 The Aborigines of Western Australia
by Albert F. Calvert [1894]
A short amateur ethnography, one of the few to discuss the Western Australian Aborigines, including music notation for several short songs.

 Some Myths and Legends of the Australian Aborigines
By William Jenkyn Thomas [1923]

 Australian Legends
By C.W Peck [1925]