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Biographical entry Berndt, Ronald Murray (1916 - 1990)

14 July 1916
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
2 May 1990
Wembley, Western Australia, Australia
social anthropologist


Ronald Berndt joined the Anthropological Society of South Australia in 1938 and became honorary assistant ethnologist at the South Australian Museum. He studied anthropology at the University of Sydney under Adolphus Peter Elkin. During 1946-1951, Ronald and his colleague and wife began studying the Aboriginal people in Arnhem Land. The Berndt's were awarded the Royal Society of New South Wales' Edgeworth David medal for their efforts. Ronald completed his PhD as the London School of Economics and Political Science in 1955. He founded the Anthropological Society of Western Australia in 1958 and the journal Anthropological Forum in 1963.

Published resources

Book Sections

  • Peterson, Nicolas, 'The end of an era: Ronald Berndt and the German ethnographic tradition', in Peterson, Nicolas and Kenny, Anna (eds), German ethnography in Australia, Australian National University Press, Canberra, 2017, pp. 453-77. Details
  • Stanton, John, '"I Did Not Set Out to Make a Collection": the Ronald and Catherine Berndt Collection at the Berndt Museum of Anthropology', in Peterson, Nicolas, Allen, Lindy and Hamby, Louise (eds), The Makers and Making of Indigenous Australian Museum Collections, Melbourne University Press, Carlton, 2008, pp. 511-31. Details
  • Tonkinson, Robert, 'Berndt, Ronald Murray (1916-1990), Social Anthropologist', in Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 17, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 2007, pp. 91-92. Details

Journal Articles

  • Morphy, Howard, 'Re-reading Ronald Berndt: Exploring the Depths of his Yolngu Ethnography', Anthropological Forum, vol. 19, no. 1, 2009, pp. 73-97. Details

Online Resources

Tom Hyde