Segments in this Video

Studying Customs and Beliefs (02:09)


The study of the Australian aborigine starts a revolution of how people evolve.

Anthropology Invites a New Respect (01:29)

The viewer learns how anthropology allows us to learn of unfamiliar customs and learn of how we view ourselves.

Edward Tyler's Influence (02:09)

Sir Walter Baldwin Spencer, a student at Oxford, has many other interest besides his own personal studies. He becomes interested in the lectures of Edward Tyler, professor of anthropology.

Spencer Goes to Australia (02:48)

In Australia Sir Walter Baldwin Spencer is invited to explore the vast unexplored, unknown interior regions of the area.

Australia's Native Peoples (02:44)

The viewer learns about the different tribes of Australia which eventually dwindle as the country is colonized.

Early History of Mankind (01:41)

The viewer listens to the narrator of Sir Walter Baldwin Spencer's journals discuss the peculiarities of the Aborigines.

Gillen Station (01:47)

Frank Gillen wins the confidence of the Aborigines through his respectful attitude toward them. Here Sir Walter Baldwin Spencer stays to learn more of the Aborigine natives.

Art & Aboriginal Culture (01:39)

Sir Walter Baldwin Spencer learns more of the culture by living with the Aborigines. He discovers that paintings on their bodies and in caves represent their culture.

Sacred Land (03:40)

The origin of the Aborigine people is contained in the sacred sites of the land.

Continual Struggle (01:05)

Every natural feature of the land is part of the Aborgine's ancestry.

Sir James Fraser (00:59)

A professor at Trinity College takes interest in Spencer and Gillen's work and helps them to take a year off of their jobs in order to live in Australia with the Aborigines.

Sir Walter Baldwin Spencer's Writings (01:34)

The viewer learns that when Spencer returns from Australia he writes several popular books about his experiences.

Elimination of the Aborigines (01:54)

An expert explains that the field of anthropology before Sir Walter Baldwin Spencer and Gillen was an excuse to rid the area of the native people.

Differing Views of Aboriginals (01:47)

While Sir Walter Baldwin Spencer and Gillen discover the wonders of the Aborigines, the rest of the white population views them negatively.

A New Expedition (02:56)

In 1901 and 1902 Sir Walter Baldwin Spencer and Gillen decide to travel north in order to learn more about the aboriginal tribes.

Traditional Aboriginal Ceremonies Today (03:00)

The viewer is able to observe traditional ceremonies that continue today.

Soundless Communication (02:15)

Sir Walter Baldwin Spencer and Gillen learn both secular and sacred ways of Aboriginal life and write of everything they learn. Finger talk fascinates the two and they write as many symbols as possible in their books.

Australia's Barren Land (02:36)

Plants, animals, insects and honey are a main source of food for the Aborigines.

Protector of Aborigines (02:41)

The viewer learns that the 1901 exhibition was a major landmark in aboriginal studies. Sir Walter Baldwin Spencer's research encompasses many of the undocumented tribes.

Training Aboriginal Children (01:30)

Sir Walter Baldwin Spencer explains through his journal writings how the aboriginal children must learn the ways of the white man.

Sir Walter Baldwin Spencer's Legacy (03:21)

Sir Walter Baldwin Spencer not only is committed to the aboriginal culture but to his own adopted culture of Australia. He felt that the white man must learn more about the aboriginal culture.

Spencer's Influence Around the World (01:42)

The viewer learns that other Europeans who found great value in the works of Sir Walter Baldwin Spencer and Gillen.

Sir Walter Baldwin Spencer Retires (01:39)

One learns that even though Spencer retires in 1929 from his work in Australia he moves on to do field study on the tip of South America, Tierra del Fuego.

Constraints of Spencer's Day (01:11)

The theory of social evolution collapses with Sir Walter Baldwin Spencer's study because he believes the Aborigines were doomed to extinction.

Credits: Sir Walter Baldwin Spencer: Fieldwork (00:48)

Credits: Sir Walter Baldwin Spencer: Fieldwork

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Sir Walter Baldwin Spencer: Fieldwork

Part of the Series : Strangers Abroad
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $239.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $159.95



In 1887, Sir Walter Baldwin Spencer left England to study Australian aborigines. Spencer began to work with Frank Gillen, the operator of a telegraph station and an initiated elder of the Aranda tribe—a remarkable man who was befriending aborigines at a time when most whites were persecuting them. Gillen’s special place in aboriginal society enabled both men to witness scenes that no white man had ever seen. The approach the two men used to study the aborigines has strongly influenced the way that other cultures have been studied since. Their method came to be known as fieldwork. (52 minutes)

Length: 53 minutes

Item#: BVL2541

Copyright date: ©1990

Closed Captioned

Reviews & Awards

"Reasonably priced, and highly recommended for college-level collections in support of anthropological and Australian studies."—Library Journal

"The producer of this video has done an exemplary job of blending Spencer’s work with a contemporary interpretation of anthropology... The total image created is of a seamless video montage that interprets both the triumphs and failures of Spencer’s work."—Video Rating Guide for Libraries

Recommended by Landers Film & Video Reviews and Choice.

Performance Rights

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