A Different Time: The Expedition Photographs of Herbert Basedow 1903–1928

12 March 2011 – 22 May 2011

Imagine life in a different time with Herbert Basedow's photographs of early 20th-century expeditions into central and northern Australia.

A Different Time: The Expedition Photographs of Herbert Basedow 1903–1928 draws on the National Museum of Australia’s rich collection of Basedow’s photographic work. These revealing, sometimes confronting, images provide a fascinating historical record of the people and places he encountered, and life in remote Australia in the early 1900s.

Herbert Basedow on Buxton, a riding camel, near present-day Granite Downs station, South Australia, 1903. Photograph by Alfred Treloar using Basedow's camera
Herbert Basedow on Buxton, a riding camel, near present-day Granite
Downs station, South Australia, 1903.
Photograph by Alfred Treloar using Basedow's camera

Herbert Basedow was an anthropologist, geologist and medical doctor who used photography to document his expeditions into central and northern Australia in the early decades of the twentieth century.

A great legacy is the collection of photographs taken during his many expeditions to remote central and northern Australia. The National Museum of Australia’s collection includes over 2237 negatives and also holds a number of lantern slides taken by Basedow.

Images from nine of his expeditions, as well as journeys to the Flinders Ranges and the ‘Top End’ of Australia are included in this exhibition. In their content and composition Basedow’s photographs reveal his diverse interests and provide poignant reflections of expeditionary and frontier life.

Things to see and do

  • View up close, more than 100 images taken by Basedow on his many expeditions.
  • Reflect on the stories being told in the photographs, including frontier life and the dignity of people living their way in their own country.
  • Understand the difficulties and challenges faced during these expeditions.
  • Consider the technology of Basedow’s photography.
  • Learn more about Herbert Basedow the man, the scientist and the photographer.

Please be advised that this exhibition contains some images of nudity and people in distressing circumstances. Visitors should also be aware that the exhibition includes names and images of deceased people that may cause sadness or distress to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Discover more

Visit the National Museum of Australia’s Herbert Basedow website to discover more about Herbert Basedow, explore his expeditions (including maps), view images and find out more about the history of the Basedow collection.

Whistle and Nellie, Western Australia, 1916. Photograph by Herbert Basedow
Whistle and Nellie, Western Australia, 1916.
Photograph by Herbert Basedow

Learning Resources

Detailed education resources are available from the National Museum of Australia website. The education activities are designed as starting points for students to investigate different themes in the exhibition, from a variety of viewpoints and perspectives.

Resources include:

  • Annotations for 34 of the Basedow photographs
  • In class activities

Expedition party crossing a clay flat north-west of Gill’s Bluff, South Australia: (from left) Nell Basedow, Erwin Basedow and Richard Grenfell Thomas, 1919. Photograph by Herbert Basedow
Expedition party crossing a clay flat north-west of Gill’s Bluff, South
Australia: (from left) Nell Basedow, Erwin Basedow and Richard
Grenfell Thomas, 1919.
Photograph by Herbert Basedow

Bert Oliffe (left) and Frank Feast washing dishes while Donald Mackay (foreground) relaxes, central Australia, 1926. Photograph by Herbert Basedow
Bert Oliffe (left) and Frank Feast washing dishes while Donald Mackay
(foreground) relaxes, central Australia, 1926.
Photograph by Herbert Basedow


Our Story Your Story

Floor Talk: Gain a deeper insight into Basedow’s photography with Queensland Museum Head of Cultures and Histories Dr Michael Westaway.
Level 4, 11.30 am and 1.30 pm.
Free. Visit the Our Story Your Story page for more information.  


A Different Time: The Expedition Photographs of Herbert Basedow 1903–1928
is a travelling exhibition developed and presented by the National Museum of Australia.

National Museum of Australia

Event Details

Dates
12 March 2011 - 22 May 2011
Location
Queensland Museum South Bank
Cost
Free

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