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Biographical entry Roth, Henry Ling (1855 - 1925)

3 February 1855
London, England
12 May 1925
Leeds, England
Anthropologist and Museum curator


Henry Roth spent several years in Queensland 1878-1884, reporting widely on the sugar industry. He wrote "The Tasmanian Aborigines", an encyclopaedic work which remained the basic source until 1966. He left Australia in 1884 and set up a business in Halifax, Yorkshire, UK and was also first the part-time then full-time curator of the Bankfield Museum.



1876 - 1877
Career position - Timber merchant in Russia
1878 - 1884
Career position - Investigated and reported on the sugar industry in Queensland
1881 - 1884
Career position - Honorary Secretary to the Mackay Planters' Association
Life event - Left Australia
Career position - The Tasmanian Aborigines written
1890 - 1912
Career position - Curator (part-time) at Bankfield Museum
1912 - 1924
Career position - Curator at Bankfield Museum

Published resources


  • Khan, Kate, Catalogue of the Roth Collection of Aboriginal artefacts from north Queensland, vol. 1: items collected from Archer River, Atherton, Bathurst Head, Bloomfield River and Butcher's Hill, 1897-1901 (Sydney: Australian Museum, 1993), 205 pp. Details

Book Sections

  • Griffin, Helga M., 'Roth, Henry Ling (1855-1925)' in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Geoffrey Serle, ed., vol. 11 (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1988), pp. 461-462. Details
  • McDougall, Russell, 'Walter and Henry Ling Roth: "On the Significance of Couvade": the Place of Australia and British Guiana in the Fin de Si├Ęcle Debate Concerning the History of Humanity' in To the Islands: Australia and the Caribbean, McDougall, Russell, ed. (St Lucia: University of Queensland Press, 2002), pp. 61-67. Details

Journal Articles

  • Taylor, Rebe, 'The first stone and the last Tasmanian: the colonial correspondence of Edward Burnett Tylor and Henry Ling Roth', Oceania, 86 (3) (2016), 320-43. Details


Rosanne Walker