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Thomas Draper Campbell (1893-1967)
Slides and papers 1912-1966

MSS 301.2994 C191s

Biographical Note

Thomas Draper Campbell on field trip.Thomas Draper Campbell (1893-1967), Professor of Dentistry and anthropology at the University of Adelaide, was born at Millicent, South Australia, the son of Walter Campbell, storekeeper, and his wife Lucy, née Walters. In 1907 the family moved to Adelaide where Draper attended Prince Alfred College. He qualified with the Dental Board of South Australia in 1917 and in November joined the Australian Army Medical Corps Reserve (Dental) as an honorary lieutenant. After studying at the Elder Conservatorium of Music in 1919, he entered the University of Adelaide (B.D.S., 1921; D.D.Sc., 1923). On 9 December 1927 at the Methodist Church, Archer Street, North Adelaide, he married an actress Elizabeth (Bess) Jane Young; they were to remain childless.

Campbell was House surgeon at the Adelaide Hospital's Dental department from 1921, and became superintendent in 1926. He had also taught dental anatomy at the University from 1925, and was Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry from 1938-58, and Director of Dental Studies from 1949 until 1954 when he was appointed foundation Professor. Campbell was a competent clinician, and a skilful oral surgeon; he maintained a special interest in child dental health. Despite his gruff voice, he was a kindly, spirited and informed teacher who relished debate. He was a fellow of the Royal colleges of Surgeons, England (1948) and Edinburgh (1950), a member (1952) of the odontology section of the Royal Society of Medicine, London, and a fellow (1966) of the Australian College of Dental Surgeons.

With his colleague Frederic Wood Jones, Campbell had made two excursions to remote parts of South Australia in the early 1920s which developed his interest in physical and cultural anthropology. His doctoral research—published as Dentition and Palate of the Australian Aboriginal (1925)—noted the difference between the Aborigines' well-formed dentition’ and the 'ill-formed, disease-stricken' teeth common in Europeans. The book set new standards for the emerging discipline of dental anthropology.

Honorary curator (1924-40) and a board-member (1932-66) of the South Australian Museum, in 1926 Campbell helped to establish the Anthropological Society of South Australia (of which he was President, 1928-29 and 1944) and the University's Board for Anthropological Research (of which he was secretary). Between 1925 and 1939 fifteen expeditions travelled to outback South Australia and the Northern Territory. Campbell organized most of them and accompanied eight. Small teams of scientists from different disciplines contacted tribal Aborigines, often for the first time, and published their findings. Their cinematographic records of Aboriginal life and customs provided unique insights, and were later screened at universities in Europe and the United States of America. In 1939 Campbell was awarded a D.Sc. by the University for thirty-seven papers arising from his field-studies.

In 1951 he led a team of scientists to Yuendumu, an Aboriginal settlement north-west of Alice Springs, Northern Territory. Over the next decade he directed several ethnographic films about the crafts and skills of the Yuendumu people, whom he greatly admired. His significant studies of Aboriginal camp-sites and stone tools culminated in his 1963-65 investigation of archaeological sites for the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies, of which he had been a founding member. Campbell's classification of stone tools became the typology used in Australia. Survived by his wife, he died on 8 December 1967 at his Tusmore home and was cremated. His portrait (1959) by Ivor Hele is in the Adelaide Dental Hospital.

Adapted from the Australian Dictionary of Biography entry by Tasman Brown and Ruth Rogers


The slides listed in Series 1 were donated to the Library by Professor Campbell in 1962. In 1981 the Library received a small grant from the Board for Aboriginal Studies to have 35mm negatives and prints made from the glass slides.

Series 2-4 were transferred from the Craniofacial Biology Research Group Laboratories of the School of Dentistry in May 2015. These records had originally been donated to the School by Mr R. Edwards in 1992.

Further papers and photographs related to Draper Campbell and the Board of Anthropological Research expeditions are held by University of Adelaide Archives and the South Australian Museum.

Contents Listing

Series 1. Slides relating to Central Australian aborigines.

216 glass slides in 21 small boxes
Also 216 photographic prints: b&w; 12x9cm. + 216 negatives (in albums)

List of unrestricted slides/prints
List of restricted slides/prints

In 1986 the slides were examined by a member of the Pitjantjatjara community with a view to identify those depicting sacred and restricted sites, ceremonies and objects. On the basis of this advice, some of the slides have been restricted and can only be accessed by bone fide workers in the field of aboriginal studies or to researchers with written authorisation from the Chairman of the relevant Aboriginal Community Council.


Series 2. Field trips, expeditions etc

2.1. Written accounts, itineraries, documentation etc

Scrapbook containing ‘Record of weekends, trips, expeditions and holidays: from 1916 to eternity’ Typed and ms list of trips undertaken by T.D. Campbell from 1916 to 1954. Some entries include itineraries and names.

Various ms itineraries, accounts and correspondence re individual trips

  • August – September 1938. Simpson Desert Leichhardt search party trip. Black notebook with ms comments on expedition in pencil and pen [28] p.
  • December 1938-January 1939 Motor trip to Melbourne – Canberra. Part letter from Mt Gambier 5/12/1938 re arrangements for proposed lecture and movie presentation
  • April 1943 South East trip. Ms pencil itinerary for archaeological trip to Millicent [3] p. on verso of Roneoed Barr Smith Library Accession Lists
  • October 1945 Monteith, S.A. Examination card for Aboriginal campsite at Monteith near Murray Bridge, with 2 typed pages of notes including description of another camp near Swanport (trip not listed in Record …)
  • 1946 SE (South East) trip. Pencil notes and sketches of Aboriginal tools and artefacts at various locations [5] p. (not listed in Record unless same as 1947?)
  • 1947 Trip to Terowie and Ketchowla rock carvings. [2] pages of ms notes listing artefacts and tools found (listed in Record as 1946)
  • February 1947 South East trip. Pencil notes and sketches of Aboriginal tools and artefacts at various locations [9] p.
  • April 1947 Motor trip to Victoria. Ms pencil daily ‘diary’ on time log cards [18] leaves
  • May 1950 to Aroona with P.S. Hossfield. Typed list of soil samples taken May 1950 in the vicinity of Arcoona Station by P.S. Hossfield.
  • April 1950 Portland trip. Ms pencil itinerary, observations, petrol consumption and expenses, in school exercise book, plus loose sheets
  • August 1951 Yuendumu expedition. Ms notes ‘Yuendumu 1951: Notes by N.B.T.’ [Tindale] Includes notes on individual Aborigines with ‘Brief useful particulars Also lists of children in the Aboriginal schools Yuendumu (September 1951) [5] p.
  • 1960 Woomera / ‘Stonehenge site’. Includes correspondence 1959 between Campbell and the Registrar of the U. of Adelaide and with the Controller of the Weapons Research Establishment (Robert Boswell), re arrangements for visiting Woomera. Also letter from Len Beadell in Maralinga 12/3/1959; typescript copy of article ‘Native monument in Central Australia’ / W.A.S. Butement [et al.] from Antiquity (1956); typed list of slides taken of Stonehedge site (3 copies); 1960 letter of thanks from Campbell to Boswell and request for maps of area; half-leaf typescript description of the trip; letters between J.B. Newman of W.R.E. and Campbell 1960 making arrangement for a second trip to Stonehenge site
  • November 1962 Arcoona trip. Ms list of ‘Arcoona micros’
  • 1963 Filming trip to Yuendumu. Ms daily notes on trip [20] leaves
  • Various undated notes on trip; lists of stone implements collected in various locations; descriptions of topography of sites; typescript ‘Willaura, Glenthomson. Mount Sturgeon, and Lake Bolac’ on stone implements in that area of Victoria; 1947/48 correspondence between Campbell and R. Lindsay Black of Leeton suggesting trip to West Darling area for the collection of stone implements; ms text for talk(?) on state of research into stone implements in Australia localities visited in 1920, 1921 and 1923 [2] p.; undated anonymous typescript re current conditions of Aborigines with header ‘article on Aborigines obtained by S.A. Group’ beginning ‘He (Mr Bleakley) found that of a total aboriginal population … [2] p.


Series 2.2. Associated photographs

Photographs have been largely left in sets as received

2.2/1. Photographs of sites, digs, artefacts etc taken by Campbell (?) (in album)

  • 27/6/1920 Rock Shelter used as aboriginal camping site near River Murray (typed annotation)
  • 23/5/1920 Boulder from which flakes have been struck off (typed annotation)
  • 1921 trip to Miller Creek. 3 negatives of Mound Spring Pool at Coward Springs (in annotated envelope – ‘C.A. trip’)
  • Aubrey Lewis and Thomas Draper Campbell in 19261926? 2 prints (unidentified male in outback; Campbell with Aubrey Lewis [on May 1926 trip to Wilgena and Ooldea – see Record …]
  • April 1928. 12 small prints annotated by Campbell. Includes photo of Campbell extracting his own tooth; sceneray at Angepena near Beltans; Aboriginal wurley; individual Aboriginals showing scarring, method of carrying water etc; children sleeping in Alice Springs ‘Bungalow’; making fire; decorated for corroboree; camp at Wilpena Pound; Haast’s Bluff [trip not listed in Campbell’s ‘Record’]
  • October 1938. Native ceremonial stone ring east of Emu Creek. 3 prints annotated on back (in envelope annotated ‘Cave paintings for antiquity Yankee Hat’)
  • 1947 South east trip. 13 negatives in labelled envelope
  • 1950 Arcoona trip. 5 prints, 21 negatives in labelled envelope
  • 1959 Gartrell – Foul Bay. 6 negatives in labelled envelope at campsite, fetching water etc
  • 1964 Tallaringa. 5 35 mm negatives in labelled envelope
  • Campsites. 6 prints (some annotated – Aboriginal camp site near causeway Coorong; 2 x campsite S. 125 feet {belt site?])
  • 2 prints and associated glass negatives of unidentified site [possibly Belt]
  • Belt site? 4 prints, mounted on card with instructions for reproduction
  • Aboriginal stone circles, west of Lake Torrens
  • South East. Mt Graham sea platform. 2 negatives in annotated envelope
  • Aboriginal skulls, jaw and hand. 7 negatives in annotated envelope
  • Buckland Park shell pits. 2 negatives in annotated envelope
  • Black Point campsite area, Yorke Penninsula, sec. Muloowurlie. 11 negatives , annotated by Campbell
  • 4 panoramic prints of unnamed site
  • South East sand dune site, with Campbell attempting water divining and others in team, campsite hut, and dig profile. 6 prints
  • 4 prints (2 of unidentified waterhole; coloured print of lake(?); group of Aborigines around station well under wood and branch shelter
  • 2 prints. (SE of Blackfellow Cave, Kongorong; Residual mound Cape Buffon, SE)
  • Photo of grave of Queybaum, King of Tugarimba and Gundurimba, died at Monaltrie 1892 aged over 92 years. For 48 years faithful servant of the Wilson family …
  • Typed list of numbered “S.D. P Slides” [after 1963] 2 pages
  • Stone implements. 5 prints with negatives
  • 1 print annotated ‘Snails on post at Mt Gambier …’; 7 negatives of Aboriginal rock sites and burial


2.2/2. Rock art photographs by others (28 prints) Undated, some annotated, many by H.L. Sheard (in album)

  • Aboriginal carvings Devon Downs River Murray … H.L. Sheard
  • Rock carvings Wongulla [Sheard]
  • Pedlars Creek. Campsite in the sanddunes along the coast, south of Adelaide [Sheard]
  • Paintings Haylands” [Sheard?]
  • Rock carvings Wongulla, S. Aust. [Sheard]
  • [Cliff site] North Para. H.L.S.
  • Ochre drawings (Water’s)… South Para. H.L. Sheard
  • Ochre drawings South Para (Water’s) … H.L. Sheard
  • South Para near Yalalunga [near Gawler] x 3 [Sheard]
  • Ochre drawings South Para caves. General view of 1st cave, no. 1. H.L. Sheard photo
  • Ochre drawings South Para caves. Nearer view of another section of no. 1. No. 2.H.L. Sheard photo
  • Ochre drawings South Para caves. Nearer view of another section of no. 1. No. 3.H.L. Sheard photo
  • Ochre drawings South Para caves. Second caves drawings entirely different from first cave. H.L. Sheard photo
  • Aboriginal drawings at Euro Tank [emus etc] [Millington?]
  • Aboriginal drawings Euro Tank “Champion Cat Pool” [Millington?]
  • Aboriginal drawings Euro Tank. Boa constrictor. [Millington?]
  • [Cliff with rock drawings] Copyright, Millington of Baker & ?, Argent St, ?
  • Aboriginal drawings Euro Tank. Millington Copyright
  • Aboriginal drawings, Euriowie [NSW] Annotated by an unknown hand
  • [Fish drawing] Cave near Oenpelli. W.R. Pennifold
  • [Aboriginal woman in front of] Aboriginal paintings. Grub totemic centre, Emily Gap, C. Aust. Typed annotation.
  • [Waterfall and pool] Not annotated
  • [Aboriginal youth in front of tree] Not annotated
  • [Rock drawing of kangaroo] Not annotated
  • [Rock drawings under overhang] Not annotated
  • [Rock drawings, zigzag line etc] Not annotated


2.2/3. Site photographs by Gwen Walsh [of SA Museum] (in album)

  • South East February 1944. Some annotated and numbered. Belt Site, Hatherleigh x 13 prints; Bevilequa Ford x 3; Narrow Neck, Rendelsham x 3; Lake Frome x 1; Cape Buffon x 1
  • Belt Site, South East February 1944. Annotated negatives (Belt Site x 14; Sec Symon x 2; Narrow Neck x 2; Lake Frome x 1; lake Bonney x 1; Cape Buffon x 1
  • South East 1944. 25 annotated negative s (Lake Bonny, Rivoli Bay, Belt Site)
  • South East 1946. 26 annotated negatives (Rocky camp Mt Muirhead, Nora Creina Bay, Mt Burr forest)
  • South East Feb. 1948. 26 annotated negatives
  • Mt Burr Feb. 1946. 6 prints and 11 negatives (some annotated)
  • Robe drain Feb. 1946. 2 annotated negatives


2.2/4. Site photographs by Schulz (in album)

  • Belt Site 1944 additional negative, some annotated (Photos by D. Schulz x 3; unannotated x 7)


2.2/5. Aboriginal portraits and groups (in album)

  • 8 photographs taken from slides (3 head portraits; 3 of ceremonial dance; 2 of making fire)
  • Head portrait of older male (2 copies)
  • ‘Charley‘ with spear & spear thrower. On card labelled 61, no. 7
  • 4 small photos (young woman; Draper Campbell(?) with young girl; front and side head portraits of man in suit)
  • Young woman wearing beads
  • Adults and children listening to phonograph
  • 2 large head photos of young girl
  • Large photo of corroboree?
  • Large photo, mature woman, side on
  • Large photo, 2 women and infants at entrance to shelter
  • Print of charcoal sketch of older man by Vernon Lorimer
  • Melanesian(?) male with scarification


Series 3. Other

University of Adelaide Board for Anthropological Research. Agendas and minutes of meetings October 1964 – July 1966

Various newspaper clippings on Aborigines ca 1920-26

Typed and ms drafts of a text on Prognathism, with single ms page ‘Two important features of the Australian dento-gnathic system’

Bibliography cards of Campbell’s publications, and of articles with lists of people supplied with reprints. Photocopy of bibliography listing.

Letter from Professor Frederic Wood Jones returning draft paper on the zoology of premolar teeth, 4 March 1932


Series 4. Personal / biographical

4.1. Biographical articles about Campbell

4.2. Photographs – personal / family / friends (in album)

  • Prince Alfred College Football Club 1912 (T.D. Campbell front row left end seat)
  • 5 PAC schoolboys (Campbell standing at right?)
  • Campbell in uniform of Australian Army Medical Corps Reserve (Dental) as an honorary lieutenant 1917? (2 copies)
  • 10 photographs of Campbell in later life (mainly head and shoulder, 2 on field trips) plus negatives
  • Campbell and 2 friends fishing
  • Campbell home, 1 with Campbell on verandah (2 photos + copies
  • Mrs Elizabeth (Bess) Campbell. 2 photos, one with unidentified friend
  • D. and Elizabeth Campbell with another couple
  • Tennis party. T.D. and Elizabeth Campbell with another couple ( 2 photos, Campbells on right), and Elizabeth with friend
  • Elizabeth Campbell. 5 photos (as young girl ‘From E. Young; a promise fulfilled’; as young woman signed from Bess; with friend ‘from Bess and Bessie’; as mature woman in front of cliff; in bush with artist’s palette + copy)
  • Campbell with younger man
  • Older Campbell on board ship
  • 3 packets unidentified family/friends including tennis party
  • Unidentified family? (young child in garden; man in suit and couple in garden; older couple ca 1910-20)

4.3. Photographs – trips (mostly recreational) (in album)

  • 1937 world trip (Fiji natives x 5; Indians of the Grand Canyon; packet negatives of 1937 trip – mostly on board ship)
  • River Murray with the Lawrences and P.S. Hossfield ca 1938? Packet of negatives
  • Motor trip to Canberra 1938-39. Packet of negatives
  • Encounter Bay, to home of M.S. Joyner March 1937. Packet of negatives
  • Victoria trip (undated). Packet of negatives – some on board ship with diver; tennis party
  • Strathalburn/Port Pirie/Crystal Brook 1949, with the Rees and G.W. Packet of negatives
  • A. trip 1948. Negatives of Trans train
  • A. trip 1948. Packet of negatives
  • 7 packets of unidentified negatives of holidays / friends / trips
  • Blank postcards of Cologne and Milan (from 1954 world trip?)
  • Blank postcards of Tasmania, Ballarat and Victor Harbour. Postcards from Kruger Park, Copenhagen, and Zurich sent to Campbell 1953-56)
  • List of photographs from trip to Hong Kong (undated, not in list of trips)
  • Tourist map of Venice ca 1937?


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