Guide to the Collections of the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford (as filmed by the AJCP)



National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2019

Collection Summary

Collections of the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford
Collections belonging to the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford (as filmed by the AJCP)
Date Range
1864 - 23 May 1949
Collection Number
82 items
Language of Materials
Australian Joint Copying Project
The Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP) online portal was created with the assistance of the Australian Public Service Modernisation Fund, 2017-2020. The National Library of Australia gratefully acknowledges the contribution of the other foundation AJCP partners, the State Library of New South Wales and The National Archives of the UK, and all other organisations which supported the work of the AJCP, the world's most extensive collaborative copying project, operating from 1948 to 1997.


Scope and Contents

Papers 1893-1929 of anthropologist and curator Henry Balfour. They include diaries June-November 1914 of a visit to Sydney, Queensland, Bali, Java, Singapore and Malaya, and papers on Easter Island and Tasmanian archaeology. Correspondents include Kathleen S. Routledge, W. Scoresby Routledge, T.R. Johnson and C.M. Woodford.

Diaries April-October 1888 kept by James Blomfield on a journey to New Zealand, including accounts of visits to Tasmania, Ballarat, Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland.

Papers 1931-1949 of Sir Francis Knowles, mainly comprising letters from A.S. Barnes concerning Aboriginal tools and weapons.

Catalogue 1864 of collection of Maori skeletal remains, implements and boats of H.G. Robley.

Conditions Governing Access

Available for Access.

Conditions Governing Use

Many of the records digitised as part of the AJCP are still in copyright. Readers wishing to publish or reproduce documents should seek permission, in the first instance, from the owner of the original material.

Preferred Citation

Acknowledgement of use of this material should refer to the location of the original material and to the Australian Joint Copying Project.

Citation items from this collection should include references to the location of the original material and to the AJCP nla.obj number, which serves as the online identifier for the digital copy.

Example: M Series: Journal of Capt. James Cook, 18 February 1770, British Library Add. MS 27885 (AJCP ref:

Archival History

Material selectively filmed at the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1988 (AJCP Reels: M2804-M2805). Original microfilm digitised as part of the AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

Existence and Location of Originals

Pitt Rivers Museum. Oxford University, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PP, England.

For further information, see Manuscripts at the Pitt Rivers Museum(

Existence and Location of Copies

The original AJCP microfilm of the records filmed from this collection is available at the National Library of Australia [] as well as other institutions holding AJCP microfilm.

The papers of Makereti (M2415-M2421) [], Sir W. Baldwin Spencer (M2422-M2425) [], Sir Edward Tylor (M2803) [], Ernest Westlake (M2413-M2414) [] has been listed and filmed separately by the AJCP.

Finding-Aid Notes

This finding aid is a revised online version of the original finding aid prepared by the Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP), published by the National Library of Australia in 2019. The original AJCP finding aids were unpublished typescripts or photocopies available from libraries that held copies of the original microfilm.

Dates used in this finding aid refer to the date range of the records selected for filming rather than to the date range of the Series or Files.

Advisory Statement

Australian Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Maori people are advised that this Finding Aid contains material and descriptive information which may be considered culturally sensitive and may cause distress, including names and images of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people now deceased. This Finding Aid contains terms that reflect authors' views or those of the historical period, but which may not be considered appropriate today. While the information may not reflect current understanding, it is provided in an historical context.


Anthropologists; Australia; Tasmania: archaeology; Indigenous Australians: artefacts; Aboriginal Australians: artefacts; Auckland, New Zealand; Balfour, Henry; Bali, Indonesia; Ballarat, Victoria; Barnes, A.S.; Blomfield, James; Easter Island; Great Britain; Johnson, T.R.; Knowles, Sir Francis; Indigenous Australians: life and customs; Aboriginal Australians: life and customs; Maori; Queensland; Robley, H.G.; Routledge, Kathleen S.; Routledge, W. Scoresby; Skeletal remains; Tasmania; Singapore: visits; Java: visits to; Malaya: visits to; Melbourne, Victoria: visits to; New Zealand: visits to; Sydney, New South Wales: visits to; Woodford, Charles M.


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 375, p.143.

Item Descriptions

Fonds. Henry Balfour: Papers and Correspondence, 27 July 1889 - 22 September 1936

25 items

Biographical / Historical

Henry Balfour, FRS, (1863-1939) was an anthropologist and Curator of the Pitt Rivers Museum from 1891 to 1939.

Series A. Miscellaneous Papers, 26 June 1914 - 22 September 1936

19 items
Subseries Box 1. Diaries, 26 June 1914 - 1 November 1914
3 items

Archival History

Filmed selectively.

Australia BAAS meeting in Sydney. 3 Notebooks, 26 June 1914 - 1 November 1914 (File 1.7)
London - Sydney, 26 June 1914 - 24 August 1914 (Item 1)

Description of voyage on SS Malwa, on board, souvenirs - passenger list, photographs.

Expeditions from Perth, under care of Dean of Perth, reception at Government House; journey to Sydney- BAAS meetings, expedition to Jenolan Caves.

Drawing of rock wallabies.


Sydney - Singapore, 25 August 1914 - 28 September 1914 (Item 2)

Expeditions in and around Sydney, journey by train to Brisbane, visit to Glasshouse Mountains; voyage to Singapore on SS Montoro, description of blackout on board, Barrier Reef, descriptions of, and some sketches of birds sighted; visit to Darwin, and to a 'native compound'; visit to Bali, and Java, arrival at Singapore. 50p.

Kuala Lumpur - Oxford, 29 September 1914 - 1 November 1914 (Item 3)

Arrival at Kuala Lumpur and expeditions within Malaya; voyage on SS Salsette to Colombo; voyage on SS Maloja; sighting of German ships in Goa harbour; expeditions from Bombay; voyage on to Aden and through Red Sea and Suez canal; visit to Malta and trip to the Museum, arrival at Plymouth on 31 October; arrival in Oxford on November 1st after difficult train journey. 25p.

Subseries Box 6. Appendix - Miscellaneous Papers, 1 July 1936 - 22 September 1936
6 items

Filmed selectively.

Printed unused letter card describing 'Pelorus Jack' the pilot fish of New Zealand by Rev. D.C. Bates (File 6.5.2)
Postcard of 'Pelorus Jack' (File 6.5.3)
Printed sheet. Photo of 'Pelorus Jack' and Russo's Dolphin (File 6.5.4)
Unused postcard of 'Pelorus Jack' (File 6.5.5)
Cutting from Times. Australia and the Antarctic: Norwegian interest in coming annexation, 22 September 1936 (File 6.5.6)
Lord Moyne to H.B., 1, 6, 10, 22, 24, 26 July 1936 (File 6.12)

re cruise in New Guinea by his yacht Rosaura 1935/6 and presentation of specimens. Catalogue of Lord Moyne's exhibition of specimens and photographs. 16p

Subseries Box 7. Easter Island, 10 December 1916 - 9 May 1920
10 items

Filmed selectively

Letters and article, 4 October 1917 - 20 May 1918 (File 1)
3 items
Letter: H.D. Skinner to H.B, 20 May 1918 (Item 1.1)

Enclosing following letter.

Copy of 2 letters from Elson Best to Mr Skinner on the origin of the Maori. (2 sheets), 4 October 1917 (Item 2)

And undated.

Article: 'Discovery of the Chatham Islands' by S. Percy Smith, 1 January 1918 (Item 3)

Church Gazette (Anglican Diocese of Auckland, New Zealand). 2 pages.

Correspondence with W. Scoresby Routledge and Mrs Kathleen Scoresby Routledge, 10 December 1916 - 9 June 1919 (File 2)
WSR to HB, 12 April 1917 (Item 1)

London. Specimens from Pitcairn Islands. B.M. has taken what it wants.

WSR to HB, 8 December 1917 (Item 2)

London. And photo rubbing. P.R.M. collection Easter Island carvings and Publications

(2 sheets).

KSR to HB, 17 December 1917 (Item 3)

London. Comments on proof of article by HB for Folklore: 'Some Ethnological Suggestions in Regard to Easter Island'

Folklore XXVIII 1917 pp. 356-381. (2 typed sheets).

KSR to HB, 27 January [1918?] (Item 4)

London. Easter Island carvings and excavation re. her book.

KSR to HB, 21 April 1918 (Item 5)

London. General.

KSR to HB, 26 April 1918 (Item 6)

London. Used one of HB's drawings as a slide.

KSR to HB, 29 April 1918 (Item 7)

London. Lecture. Can stay with HB?

WSR to HB, 18 November 1918 (Item 8)

London. Asks HB for drawings or photos of specimens for KSR's book.

WSR to HB, 27 November 1918 (Item 9)

London. Thanking HB for photos.

KSR to HB, 31 December [1918?] (Item 10)

London. Asks HB to look through popular Easter Island Ms.

KSR to HB, 24 April 1919 (Item 11)

Bursledon, Hants. Various small points re. book.

KSR to HB, 9 June 1919 (Item 12)

London. Various small points re. book. Publication deferred.

Extract, written by WSR., of letter from H.B. Young, Pitcairn Islands, to KSR, 10 December 1916 (Item 13)

Easter Island stone carving (2 sheets).

Miscellaneous correspondence, 21 August 1917 - 26 March 1919 (File 3)
T.R. St. Johnston to HB, 4 March 1919 (Item 1)

London. Asks for photos for book?; Easter Island carving.

T.R. St. Johnston to HB, 26 March 1919 (Item 2)

London. Photos for book. Easter Island carving.

C.H. Mead (British Museum) to HB, 6 April 1918 (Item 3)

London. Thanks for Easter Island ethnography. Possible excavation at Hengistbury Head.

H. Johnston to HB, 19 April 1918 (Item 4)

Arundel. Comments on Balfour's Folklore article. Pacific migration.

H.G. Beasley to HB, 10 April 1918 (Item 5)

London. Easter Island image (2 photos. res. chem. stain).

A.C. Fuller to HB, 9 April 1918 (Item 6)

London. Thanks for Folklore article. Admiralty Island weapons.

C.M. Woodford to HB, 28 July 1918 (Item 7)

Partridge Green. Bird Cults in Oceania.

A. Montgomerie Bell[?] to HB, 6 February 1919 (Item 8)

South Newington, Banbury. Congratulates HB on Notes on Easter Island.

W. Crooke [?] to HB, 21 August 1917 (Item 9)

Isle of Wight General notes about publications.

H. Forbes to HB, 16 March 1919 (Item 10)

London UCH. Easter Island, Peru, diffusion.

C. Woodford to HB, 29 September 1918 (Item 11)

Partridge Green. Easter Island and Melanesia; bird cult.

Letters or postcards acknowledging receipt of offprint of Easter Island article, 26 February 1918 - 11 April 1918 (File 4)
Card from C. Seligman acknowledging off-print of Easter Island article. Longcredon, 11 April 1918 (Item 1)
Card from E. Harland acknowledging off-print of Easter Island article, 8 April 1918 (Item 2)
Card from R.A.I. acknowledging off-print of Easter Island article, 8 April 1918 (Item 3)
Letter from W. Crooke(?) acknowledging off-print of Easter Island article. Cheltenham, 26 February 1918 (Item 4)
Notes, October 1917 (File 5)
3 items
Notes for business and lecture for Oxford Anthropological Society, October 1917 (Item 1)

Lecture on Easter Island, Routledge expedition (7 sheets).

Notes and references to the Sooty Tern (Item 2)
Rough notes of detailed captions of Easter Island stone tools [faint] (Item 3)
Miscellaneous notes and sketches relating to Easter Island. (9 sheets) (File 7)
Miscellaneous photographs (including many duplicates), prints and tracings relating to Easter Island. (File 8)

521 photos. 3 prints. 11 tracings.

Easter Island Statues. carbon print. 21x35cm (File 9)
Easter Island tablets. Rubbings? and tracings (5 items) in folder with photo (File 10)
15 rubbings, sketches and tracings of Easter Island and Solomon Islands carvings mounted on 15 cards (File 11)

Series B. Correspondence, 27 July 1889 - 25 March 1930

6 items

Filmed selectively.

HB to Beatrice Blackwood, 4 January 1928 (File B 3)

Concerning collection sent from New Guinea and asking her to lecture at Royal Geographical Society on New Guinea.

HB to Beatrice Blackwood re her expedition to Buka, 24 December 1929 - 25 March 1930 (File B 4-5)
From Rev R.H. Codrington concerning a wig collected in Solomon Islands and musical bows, 4 October 1898 (File C 2)
From Alfred Cort Haddon. Sending sketches of Fiji arrows, 27 July 1889 (File H 1)
From Clive Lord, Tasmanian Museum, Hobart, re Tasmanian archaeology, 17 September 1926 (File L 2)
From C.H. Read, British Museum, sending Tobriand objects, 26 October 1893 (File R 4)

Fonds. James Blomfield: Diary of a trip to New Zealand, 19 April 1888 - 12 October 1888

4 items

Biographical / Historical

James Blomfield was a physician with an interest in botany. He made the voyage to New Zealand on SS Arawa in charge of a patient whose health was expected to benefit from the expedition.

Diary, 19 April 1888 - 12 October 1888 (File 1)

The diary does not have an entry for every day but starts as he leaves Fenchurch Street Station. There follows a description of the voyage, weather, fish sighted; 31 May arrival at Hobart- visit to Museum and other expeditions; voyage to Port Phillip - visits to zoo, Ballarat, Melbourne. 19 June arrival Sydney, visits to Parramatta, Manly etc. Voyage to Fiji - ship also carried a circus bound for Noumea; description of Noumea and sighting of bands of convicts and visit to prison Ile de Noa; trips round Fiji; voyage to Auckland - arrival 7 August; visits and trips including a sugar refinery and to the hot springs Wellington, Christchurch; 21 September embarked at Lyttelton N.Z. for London on SS Tainui, printed brochure re ship passengers and log, no entries for voyage. 12 October entry re landing at Cape Town. No further entries. 39p. At back: Accounts 5p.

Brochure about La Laguna, Teneriffe was not filmed by the AJCP.

Written up account of the voyage on RMS Arawa (File 2)

Description of the ship and crew; visit to Teneriffe and its popularity as a health resort; description of life on board - playing of card games and cricket, concerts; landing at Cape Town; burial at sea of a steerage passenger; Account of landing at Hobart and descriptions of the trips made on the island. 21p.

The hot Spring of New Zealand 4p (File 3)

4 sheets of SS Arawa souvenir programmes, list of passengers (File 4)

Fonds. Sir Francis Howe Seymour Knowles Papers, July 1931 - 23 May 1949

50 items

Biographical / Historical

Sir Francis Howe Seymour Knowles, 5th Baronet (1886-1953) was educated at Oriel College Oxford, obtaining his BA in 1918 and a Dip. Anthropology in 1909. He was Physical Anthropologist to the Geographical Survey, Canada and a noted prehistorian. He published Manufacture of Flint arrowheads and other papers on anthropology.

Series Box 1. Papers, July 1931 - 1947

3 items

Filmed selectively.

Tasmanian implements: from shot tower. Paper by A.S. Barnes, July 1931 - 3 August 1931 (File A)

8p. and letter 3 August 1931 enclosing final part of the paper: Tasmanian chopper-scrappers from the Banwell site. 5p

Notes on Australian stone implements., 1942 - 1947 (File J)

12p. and letter 16 February 1942 from A.S. Barnes to FK re gift of Australian spear head.

Notes on Australian Boomerang 1891. St Nicholas Magazine Vol XIX November 1891. 5p. Notes on the article by F.K. 20 May 1940. 7p, 20 May 1940 (File M.2)

Series Box 2. Correspondence with A.S. Barnes, 14 February 1932 - 23 May 1949

47 items

Filmed selectively.

Biographical / Historical

Alfred Schwartz Barnes (1868-1949) FRAI, MSC Tech (Mana) MIEE was an engineer by profession. He was Professor of Electrical Engineering, Manchester University 1905-1912 when he became staff inspector Engineering for the board of Education in Whitehall. From 1915 to 1918 he was science secretary to the Advisory Council Scientific and Industrial Research. His publications included Corrugation of Rails and Testing of Rubber for Electrical Work. However his hobby was archaeology. The following letters, unless otherwise noted, are to Knowles in Oxford from Barnes from his home, Dormers, Farnborough, Kent.

Letters re Australian spearheads and flint implements, 14 February 1932 - 4 March 1934 (File II A-B)
From Les Eyzies, France re showing of a film at the British Museum on Indigenous Australians in North Western Australia, 25 March 1935 (File II C)


A.S. Barnes [Les Eyzies] to Knowles. [14 March 1935]

That A.B. has seen some films at the Anthropological Society which showed in slow motion Indigenous Australians of central Australia throwing boomerangs, 9 July 1935 (File II C)
Thanking FK for his Australian book, 15 June 1936 (File II D)
That he is returning FK his Australian book, which he found 'dealt with things not usually met with in books', 9 September 1936 (File II E)
Re FK's glass Australian points which show clear ripple-less flaking, 15 January 1937 (File II F)
Asking how FK accounts for the clear rippleless flakes on his Australian glass point when AB gets rippled flakes on glass he strikes, 19 January 1937 (File)
Sending article from Anthropological Journal on the breaking of boulders in Central Australia by Prof. Wood Jones and Dr. Campbell, 18 June 1938 (File II I)
Glad he found journal article interesting - his own theories on internal forces, 27 June 1938 (File)
Re Australian flints, 30 November 1938 (File II J)
Re FK's proposed work on boomerang, 28 May 1940 (File III B)
Re acquisition by the Pitt-Rivers Museum of Australian core, 18 June 1940 (File III B/1)
That AB has failed to make an Australian spearhead in glass, with diagram; his fears re the fall of Singapore, 12 February 1942 (File III D)
Re AB's attempt at making the spearhead, 23 February 1942 (File)
That he still cannot make an Australian spearhead, 28 February 1942 (File)
Re his findings on Australian spearhead, 9 March 1942 (File)
Re his attempts, 10 April 1942 (File)
Re Australian cores, 18 May 1942 (File)
Re Tasmanian cores, tracing, 26 May 1942 (File)
Re Tasmanian cores, 27 July 1942 (File)
That he has received a letter from H. Noone, Uni. of Adelaide, giving details of the escape of Noone's family from Malaya and of Noone's work on Aboriginal flint, 24 May 1943 (File III E)
FK, Oxford, to AB, 17 June 1946 (File III F)

re possible exchange of aboriginal implements between the Pitt Rivers Museum and the Australian Museum, Sydney arranged by McCarthy

Re the possible exchange, 25 June 1946 (File)
Re boomerang obtained by McCarthy of the Australian Museum, 26 July 1946 (File)
H. Noone, London, to FK re properties of the Australian boomerang, 3 August 1946 (File)
Re the boomerang, 6 August 1946 (File)
The spread of boomerangs, 24 August 1946 (File)
FK to AB re Noone work on Australian stone tools, n.d. (File)

Archival History

N.d. but next letter in file.

Re Noone and Australian Museum with more information on boomerangs, 19 September 1946 (File)
FK to AB re Australian spearheads, 26 October 1946 (File)
Re boomerangs, 11 October 1946 (File)
Re gifts of Australian items, 16 November 1946 (File)
Re Australian tools, 26 November 1946 (File)
Re Australian tools, 13 January 1947 (File)
Re letter from McBurney on Australian collections, 31 December 1946 (File)
H.M. Cooper, Glenelg South Aust. to AB re his collection of Kangaroo Island pebble implements, 7 January 1947 (File)
FK to AB notes on pebble implement from Kangaroo Island, 1 February 1947 (File)
Re Noone's work in Australia, 29 January 1947 (File)
Re FK's work on Aboriginal tools, 19 January 1947 (File)
On Australian tools, 1 February 1947 (File)
Re Cooper's gift of pebble tools, 4 February 1947 (File)

Archival History

Date is 4 February 1947 but a 6 has been crossed out.

Re helping Cooper and Report on Stone implements from Kangaroo Island by Knowles and Barnes. 3p, 11 March 1947 (File)
Re notes on Cooper's Australian implements, 17 March 1947 (File)
On Australian pebble tools. 6p, 28 March 1947 (File)
On his written paper on Australian tools, 13 April 1947 (File)
Re the possible exchange of specimens between the Pitt Rivers Museum and the Australian Museum, 23 May 1949 (File III G)

Fonds. R.R. Marett Papers, 30 January 1943

1 item

Biographical / Historical

Robert Ranulph Marett (1866-1943) was an anthropologist and Fellow of Exeter College, Oxford. From 1910 - 1936 he was Reader in Social Anthropology.

Series Section D. Correspondence, 30 January 1943

1 item

Filmed selectively.

From Leonhard Adam, Queen's College, Melbourne University, 30 January 1943 (File 1)

A resume of his work on archaeology, and anthropology in Australia and recent developments in the field. 7p

Fonds. H.G. Robley Catalogue, 1864

1 item

A manuscript catalogue of Major - General Horatio Gordon Robley's collection of historical relics of the Maori race. 85p, 1864 (File)

The bound volume comprises photographs of specimens, and manuscript descriptions, including some sketches, of Maori heads, boats, implements and weapons. It came from the H.G. Beasley Collection, Cranmore Ethnological Museum, Chislehurst and there is a manuscript note by H.G. Beasley that he often met Robley who was a rather peculiar person. He was a keen amateur ethnologist but his judgement 'was not always good'.

Advisory Statement

Maori people are advised that this file contains material which may cause distress and contains terms that reflect authors' views or those of the historical period, but which may not be considered appropriate today. While the information may not reflect current understanding, it is provided in an historical context.

Fonds. W.S. Routledge. FRAI, 28 May 1915

1 item

Letter from Easter Island re collections of 22 obsidian 'mataa' spearheads, 28 May 1915 (File)

Fonds. Pitt Rivers Miscellaneous Collections

4 items

Series 3. Collection of material on Borneo and Sarawak possibly collected by R.W.C. Shelford and found in B. Blackwood's papers

4 items

Filmed selectively.

Lecture and slide notes on the history of Sarawak and native characteristics and culture. 13p (File a)
Notes on natural history. 4p (File b)
Ethnological notes. 5p (File c)
Notes, tracings, drawings re art and decoration 25 p. 1 plate, 13 photos by C. Hose[?] (File d)