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Commonwealth Government Records about the Northern Territory


Theodore (Ted) George Henry Strehlow (1908–78)

Ted Strehlow was born at Hermannsburg, Northern Territory on 6 June 1908. He was to become one of Australia's most prominent experts on Aboriginal languages and cultures of Central Australia.

Following periods of research in Central Australia for the Australian National Research Council in the early 1930s, Strehlow became a patrol officer (1936–42) and Deputy Director of Native Affairs (1939–42) in the Northern Territory. During World War II, he served in the Australian Army.

Post-war Strehlow became associated with the University of Adelaide. In the last years of his life, Central Aboriginal elders allowed him the rare privilege of witnessing and filming sacred Aboriginal ceremonies. These materials are now housed (on restricted access conditions) in the Strehlow Research Centre in Alice Springs, which was opened in 1991.

Strehlow died on 3 October 1978

Selected records relating to Ted Strehlow
National Archives, Canberra
T G H Strehlow, 1936–47 A220, S1939/1100
Reports on patrol of Petermann Ranges – by patrol officer Strehlow, 1939 A659, 1939/1/15262
T G H Strehlow – assistance for research amongst Aboriginal people, 1952–56 A452, 1953/43
T G H Strehlow – Commonwealth Literary Fund, 1957–72 A463, 1969/1453
Inquiry into 'The Environmental Conditions of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders and the Preservation of their Sacred Sites' – correspondence – T G H Strehlow, 1972 A13154, ATS 47
National Archives, Darwin
Papers of patrol officer Theodore Strehlow, 1936 F128
Patrol officer Strehlow – correspondence regarding duties, accommodation, and transport, 1936–39 F1, 1939/300
Patrol officer Strehlow – monthly reports, 1938–42 F3, 32/3
University of Adelaide expedition to Central Australia T G H Strehlow, 1954–60 F1, 1955/325
University of Adelaide expeditions to Central Australia – Strehlow TGH, 1961–69 F1, 1971/2067

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Chapter 16
Territory Personalities