Nomads of the Australian Desert

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    First Edition.

    27cm x 19cm. 628 pages, 737 numbered plates and 33 figures in the text, 13 colour plates (1 folding). Maroon cloth, gilt lettering, pictorial jacket.

    Study of Aboriginal life and custom. Though withdrawn from sale Rigby reported 2,760 copies were sold (of an edition of 4,000), the remaining destroyed in a warehouse fire in 1977. The legal action brought by the Pitjantjatjara Council against the sale of the book was “the first decision in Australia to take into account Aboriginal customary rights to culturally defined notions of secrecy” and because “it treats the information as sufficiently developed to qualify for protection and not as mere ‘trivial’ private information.” (Christoph Antons: Foster v Mountford: Cultural Confidentiality in a Changing Australia in Landmarks in Australian Intellectual Property Law, CUP 2009). Mountford was by no means insensitive and on page 6 as well as on an inserted leaf (not present with this copy) notes “Where Australian Aborigines are concerned, and in areas where traditional Aboriginal religion is still significant, this book should be used only after consultation with local male religious leaders. This restriction is important. It is imposed because the concept of what is secret, or may not be revealed to the uninitiated in Aboriginal religious belief and action, varies considerably throughout the Australian continent: and because the varying views of Aborigines in this respect must on all occasions be observed.” CAINS 121.

    Minor foxing to edges and jacket verso. Very Good Condition.


    SKU: 0033689 Category: