This year marks 70 years since the American-Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem Land of 1948. Considered the last of the big scientific expeditions in the NT, it was led by ethnologist Charles P. Mountford, and involved 17 American and Australian scientists, photographers and support staff traveling through Arnhem Land for seven months, studying its environment, wildlife, art and culture, with extensive help from local people. While leaving valuable documentation of life in Arnhem Land in the middle of the century, the expedition was not without its controversial aspects. Human bones were removed from caves and other sites, ending up in America’s Smithsonian Institution. Many have since been returned to their communities.


Image: Robert Miller, National Library of Australia


Published: 16 September 2018

Forgotten Territory was a weekly photo column of historic images in the Northern Territory News which I curated from 2016 until 2019 supported by the collections of the Northern Territory Library and other cultural institutions around Australia, as well as local history Facebook groups. 

Click on the images to read the story behind the image.

Warning: May contain images of people who have died.

caddie brain 2021

These works were made on Arrernte, Larrakia, Gaddigal and Lenape land that was never ceded