Spencer & Gillen

A journey through Aboriginal Australia

Letter from Spencer to Howitt


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Oct. 7. 06

My dear Howitt,

I do not think that you need have any feeling of compunction in regard to the sending home of your articles to Frazer.

In the first place he is very busy? and in the second if it comes to a controversy with the mutual enemy he will be able to say that he has had nothing whatever to do with your articles & has not read them till they appeared in print.

He regards A.L. as a pure Charlatan & nothing will delight him more than your absolutely proving this. As to Frazer's suggestion that you , Gillen & myself & Roth should publish a joint work, I am afraid that this is not feasible. Roth has given up his work in Queensland& gone home to England land & so far as Gillen & myself are concerned this means myself when it comes to writing & I really cannot as yet devote to the work the time which would be necessary.

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What you have done is quite enough for the present. Later on if only I can get beyond this interminable grind of routine work I may buckle-to and attack the enemy. Meanwhile you have given him a few nasty jars which if I mistake not will result in the production of many cracks which will let some daylight in to his inward parts & show up his method of work & bye & bye I may be able to open the cracks still further. Sometime I must certainly have a go at Durckheim [Durkheim] but I do not think that he is such a man as Lang. He does not I think deliberately distort things in order to make them fit in with any theory of his own. He simply does not understand matters & errs through ignorance but not deliberate ignorance as does A.L.

I am glad to hear that your address is making progress. When are you coming down to Melbourne

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again. I am engaged to lecture in Hobart on Nov 7. which means that I shall probably leave Melbourne on Monday Nov. 5 & shall not probably be back again till Nov. 13.

I do not think that I shall go over to Adelaide, indeed after the work of the last year I am afraid that if I stayed in Melbourne till January & then went over to Adelaide for the meeting of the Association it would mean that I would have no real holiday & would have to start the year's work rather the worse for wear than when I left off.

oct. 15.06

I return herewith Frazer's letter. To my great enjoyment by dint of missing two meetings I got some few hours work last week at some semi fossil bones from King Island and amongst them what I take to be a new small species of wombat. Can you by any chance get me a skull or two of the

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typical 'old man' Gippsland wombat - in fact age or sex & I especially want if possible to know the sex.

This cold bleak weather has almost turned my garden into a desert.

Yours very sincerely

W. Baldwin Spencer

Rights: State Library of Victoria

Document Details

Date Made

Document Details

Letter From
Sir, Spencer, Walter Baldwin
Letter To
Howitt, Alfred William
Number of Pages




State Library of Victoria