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Professor Andrew Arthur Abbie (1905-1976)

MSS 572.994 A124m

Biographical Note

Professor Andrew AbbieAndrew Arthur Abbie was born in Kent in England in 1905 and was educated at Sir Joseph Williamson’s Mathematical School at Rochester.  His family emigrated first to New Zealand and then to Sydney, where Abbie, after a year in an insurance office, undertook his medical degree at the University of Sydney.  He graduated in 1929 after a brilliant undergraduate career.  From 1929 to 1932 he was Resident Medical Officer at Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney and from 1932 to 1934 worked with Sir Grafton Elliot Smith at University College London, completing his Ph.D. in 1934.  From 1936 to 1941 he was Senior Lecturer in Anatomy at the University of Sydney and, after war service as a chemical warfare physiologist, was appointed Elder Professor of Anatomy and Histology at the University of Adelaide, retiring from the Chair in 1970.  In Adelaide he was active as a member of the Board for Anthropological Research, as well as other anthropological and medical societies.  He undertook a number of research expeditions with the Board between 1951 and 1961 and published extensively on the physical anthropology of Aborginal Australians, in addition to his other special field of neuroanatomy.

In February 1999 the Library received an extensive collection of miscellaneous papers from Mrs A.A. Abbie.  It included printed and typescript/draft articles, talks, broadcasts and books by Abbie, together with photographs, drawings, diagrams and reprints of papers by others.  The papers appear to have been listed as received and are in no discernible order (see Part I below). There may be duplication both within this collection and within the listed papers of Part II.

Another extensive collection of papers, consisting of manuscript and typescript articles by Abbie and others, as well as newspaper cuttings of articles re Aboriginal Australians was also apparently given to the Institute of Aboriginal Affairs.  There is a listing of these in Part II, Series 2.  In 1977 Mrs Abbie donated additional material (relating to Sir Grafton Elliot Smith?) to the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland.

Contents Listing

Part I

Miscellaneous papers (received 1977)
Miscellaneous papers (printed and typescript/draft articles, talks, broadcasts and books by Abbie, together with photographs, drawings, diagrams and reprints of papers by others).

  • 1.2 Pencil drawings of bones are located in MAP CABINET
  • 2.1 located in MAP CABINET

Part II

Series 1: Biographical

  • Curriculum vitae, notes on ancestry, list of publications, issues of The Williamsonian (magazine of the Rochester Mathematics School) 1934 and The Old Williamsonian Club 1953, letters of reference and recommendation 1924 and 1932-33 programme of performance of the Prince Alfred Hospital Amateur Dramatic Club 1932.
    See also: school and medical certificates, Series 11; folio of reports, photographs and sketches, Series 13 and volume of obituaries, Series 14.

Series 2 to 3: Publications

  • Published papers, 1929-75.  15cm.
    'University notes' by Wotan [ie A.A. Abbie], 1929-32 and the collected Studies in Physical Anthropology, 1975.  [Added to this series is a copy of the list of Abbie papers given to the Institute of Aboriginal Affairs and the 1975 agreement with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies re publication of Studies in Physical Anthroplogy II].
  • Miscellaneous addresses: Dental Eruption, Navel Occasions, Space, Time and Optometry (all undated), address to Presbyterian Girls School assembly 1966, and draft introduction to his History of the Anatomy Department.

Series 4 to 8: Correspondence

  • Letters received (personal) 1935-71.
  • Correspondence with Dr A.C. Walker, Darwin Hospital, regarding a full-blood albino child, 1969.
    See also: album in Series 13.
  • Letters regarding publication and reviews of The Original Australians, 1963-72.
    See also: Series 13.
  • Letters received regarding The Original Australians, 1966 and 1969-75.
  • Letters by A.A. Abbie to the newspaper, 1974 and undated. 

Series 9 to 10: Diaries

  • Appointment diaries, 1946-51, 1953-76.
  • Diary/daily record of trips and visits May-August 1950, May-July 1950 and March/July 1960 [in the same volume], August-September 1963.  3v.

Series 11 to 13: Certificates, reports and sketches

  • School and medical certificates of A.A. Abbie, 1915-22 and 1929-51.
  • Music and medical certificates of Freida Ruth Heighway, 1918-22 and 1930-38.  [Ruth Heighway qualified as a medical practitioner in 1930, became the first female Doctor of Medicine of Sydney University and was elected a fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in 1958.  She married Professor Abbie in 1934 and died in 1962].
  • Folio of school reports, prize lists (1917-22), Navy apprenticeship documents (1920-21) and war-time course papers (1943-44).  Note: this album also contains photographs, sketches by Abbie (New Guinea 1944 and Flinders Chase 1948), articles about him and reviews of The Original Australians, as listed in the relevant series above and below.

Series 14: Obituaries

  • Obituaries and memoirs of A.A. Abbie (1976-84) and others (alphabetical) 1934-68.

Series 15 to 19: Photographs

  • Photographs of Yuendumu people taken August 1951 (mainly men), 1955 and June 1957 (children).
  • Photographs [many used in publications of The Original Australians] of aboriginal rock art, dances, shelters, food, weapons and tools, hunting scenes, making fire etc. undated, some identified (mainly Arnhem Land); also prints of hand and foot X-rays.
  • Photographs of 'Indian Australoids' sent to Abbie by Carleton S. Coon, Massachusetts, 1981.
  • Maps of South Australia and the Northern Territory showing aboriginal reserves, and map of Aboriginal languages of Australia (O'Grady, Wurm and Hale, 1966).
  • Reports of the Aboriginal Affairs Board for 1969 and 1970 and miscellaneous articles on Aboriginal Australians.
    See also: correspondence with Dr A.C. Walker in Series 5.
    See also: photographs of Anatomical Society conferences 1962-68, Flinders Chase (release of Koalas by Professor T.G.B. Osborn 1923 and 1963), A.A. Abbie (c1960 and at opening of Abbie Museum of Anatomy).
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