BASEDOW, Herbert (1881-1933)


BASEDOW, Herbert (1881-1933)
anthropologist
was born at Kent Town, South Australia, on 27 October 1881. He was the youngest son of M. P. F. Basedow, who was minister of education in the W. Morgan (q.v.) ministry. Educated at Prince Alfred College, the School of Mines, Adelaide, and Adelaide university, Basedow subsequently studied at the universities of Heidelberg, Göttingen, Breslau and Zürich, and graduated M.A., Ph.D., and B.Sc. He entered the geological department of South Australia and became assistant government geologist. He accompanied or led several exploratory expeditions, developed an interest in the aborigines, and lived a considerable time among them. After leaving the geological department, Basedow was appointed in 1909 to take charge of the aborigines' department for the Commonwealth government in the Northern Territory. In 1925 he published The Australian Aboriginal, a volume of over 400 pages with many illustrations. This was reprinted in 1929. In 1927 he stood for Barossa in the South Australian house of assembly as an independent candidate, was elected head of the poll, and held the seat until 1930. He was again elected for the same constituency in April 1933. He died on 4 June 1933. He married Olive Nell, daughter of A. C. Noyes, who survived him. His Knights of the Boomerang, Episodes from a Life Spent Among the Native Tribes of Australia, was published posthumously in 1935, and Basedow was also the author of various pamphlets on anthropology and geology. He was an able man whose energies were dissipated in too many directions for pre-eminence to be reached in any one of them. His most important work, The Australian Aboriginal, is the work of a scientific observer writing largely from his own experience.
The Advertiser, Adelaide, 5 June 1933; Who's Who, 1933; Introductions to Basedow's books.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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