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Biographical entry Berndt, Ronald Murray (1916 - 1990)

AM

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

Summary

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 Catherine 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. Berndt was the inaugural Professor of Anthropology at the University of Western Australia from 1963 to 1981. Of the 31 books he wrote or edited, 15 were in collaboration with his wife. The Berndt Museum of Anthropology at the University of Western Australia, founded in 1976, houses the couple's collection of indigenous art.

Details

Events

1943
Education - Diploma of Anthropology, University of Sydney
1948 - 1982
Award - Fellow, Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland
1950
Award - Edgeworth David Medal (jointly with Catherine Berndt), Royal Society of New South Wales
1951
Education - BA, University of Sydney
1954
Education - MA, University of Sydney
1955
Education - PhD, London School of Economics and Political Science
1956 - 1959
Career position - Senior Lecturer in Anthropology, University of Western Australia
1958
Career position - Founder, Anthropological Society of Western Australia
1958
Award - Wellcome Medal, Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland
1959 - 1963
Career position - Reader in Anthropology, University of Western Australia
1962
Career position - Member, Social Science Council of Australia
1962 - 1964
Career position - Inaugural President, Australian Branch, Association of Social Anthropologists of the Commonwealth
1963 - 1981
Career position - Inaugural Professor of Anthropology, University of Western Australia
1964 - 1990
Career position - Foundation Member, Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies
1972 - 1973
Career position - President, Royal Society of Western Australia
1979
Award - Medal of the Royal Society of Western Australia
1981 - 1990
Career position - Emeritus Professor, University of Western Australia
1982 - 1990
Award - Fellow, Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science
1982 - 1990
Award - Honorary Fellow, Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland
1983
Award - Silver Jubilee Medal, Anthropological Society of Western Australia
1987
Award - Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in recognition of service to anthropology, particularly in relation to the Aboriginal society and culture
1987
Award - DLitt honoris causa, University of Western Australia

Published resources

Book Sections

  • Peterson, Nicolas, 'The end of an era: Ronald Berndt and the German ethnographic tradition' in German ethnography in Australia, Peterson, Nicolas and Kenny, Anna, eds (Canberra: Australian National University Press, 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 The Makers and Making of Indigenous Australian Museum Collections, Peterson, Nicolas, Allen, Lindy and Hamby, Louise, eds (Carlton: Melbourne University Press, 2008), pp. 511-31. Details
  • Tonkinson, Robert, 'Berndt, Ronald Murray (1916-1990), Social Anthropologist' in Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 17 (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2007), pp. 91-92. http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/berndt-ronald-murray-12202. Details

Edited Books

  • Berndt, Ronald M. and Berndt, Catherine H. eds, Aboriginal man in Australia: essays in honour of Emeritus Prof. A. P. Elkin (Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1965), 491 pp. Details

Journal Articles

  • Anon, 'Royal Society Medallists, 1979', Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia, 63 (1) (1980), 29-31. Details
  • Berndt, Ronald, 'Practical anthropology in Aboriginal Australia: some personal comments', Anthropological forum, 5 (2) (1983), 161-75. Details
  • Berndt, Ronald M., 'Professor A. P. Elkin: an appreciation', Mankind, 5 (3) (1956), 89-101. Details
  • Berndt, Ronald M. and Berndt, Catherine H., 'Adolphus Peter Elkin, 1891-1979', Archaeology and Physical Anthropology in Oceania, 14 (3) (1979), 161-7. Details
  • Gray, Geoffrey, '"You are... my anthropological children": AP Elkin, Ronald Berndt and Catherine Berndt, 1940 - 1956', Aboriginal History, 29 (2005), 77-106. https://www.jstor.org/stable/24046689. Details
  • Gray, Geoffrey, '"He has not followed the usual sequence": Ronald M. Berndt's secrets', Journal of historical biography, 16 (2015), 61-92. Details
  • Gray, Geoffrey, '"Anthropology and sociology were of no value ... in war time": Ronald and Catherine Berndt and war-time security, 1939 - 1945', Anthropological Forum, 29 (2) (2019), 116-33. https://doi.org/10.1080/00664677.2018.1537909. Details
  • Gray, Geoffrey and Munro, Doug, 'Australian Aboriginal anthropology at the crossroads: finding a successor to A. P. Elkin, 1955', Australian journal of anthropology, 22 (3) (2011), 351-69. Details
  • Morphy, Howard, 'Re-reading Ronald Berndt: Exploring the Depths of his Yolngu Ethnography', Anthropological Forum, 19 (1) (2009), 73-97 . Details
  • Sutton, Peter, 'Ronald and Catherine Berndt: an appreciation', Anthropological forum, 11 (2001), 121-4. https://doi.org/10.1080/00664670124939. Details

Resources

Resource Sections

Tom Hyde and Helen Cohn