Lost archive: Photographs from the Upper Sepik

In 1913-14, Richard Thurnwald was exploring in the upper Sepik area and reached Telefomin 19 September 1914. He then explored to the headwaters of the Sand and North Rivers and returned to his base camp at Meander Mountain, opposite the junction of the Yellow and Sepik Rivers. There he found that his camp had been ransacked and all the photographs he had taken, except for those still in his possession from the North River, were gone. One hundred years later, photographs that could only have been taken by Thurnwald turned up on a University of Newcastle website.

A paper by Christine Winter and Barry Craig, Senior Curator, Foreign Ethnology, South Australian Museum, tells the story. You can read it here, and further reading at the Upper Sepik-Central New Guinea Project.

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