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Biographical entry Brown, Thomas Austen (Tom) ( - 2009)

Anthropological collector and Solicitor


Tom Brown was a solicitor in Broken Hill, New South Wales, who made a substantial collection of Aboriginal artefacts. He was encouraged by archaeologist Richard Wright to study for a degree in anthropology so that he might understand the necessity for context in collecting. Having graduated in archaeology in 1974, Brown went on to earn a Masters degree in anthropology from the Washington State University, in the United States. Much of Brown's collection was acquired by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies in 2002 under the Cultural Gifts Program. In 2011 the University of Sydney used his substantial bequest to establish both the Tom Austen Brown Chair in Australian Anthropology, the first such chair at an Australian university, and the publication series Tom Austen Brown Studies in Australasian Archaeology.

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Published resources


  • Peter Arnold Pty Ltd, The library of Tom Austen Brown on the Australian Aborigines: to be sold at auction, Melbourne 25-26 June 2002 (Prahran, Vic.: Peter Arnold Pty Ltd, 2002), 131 pp. Details

Journal Articles

  • Anon, 'Tom Austen Brown Collection: a comprehensive milestone', Australian Aboriginal Studies, 2002 (1) (2002), 103-4. Details

Helen Cohn