Guide to the Papers of Gerald Wheeler (as filmed by the AJCP)



National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2019

Collection Summary

Wheeler, Gerald, 1872-1943
Papers of Gerald Camden Wheeler (as filmed by the AJCP)
Date Range
1953 - 1954
Collection Number
28 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

Incomplete typescript draft of 'The Mono-Alu People of Bougainville Strait' containing detailed descriptions of various aspects of their culture such as kinship, religion, marriage, ownership and death rites. Many of the statements are supported by verbatim quotations in the vernacular language together with translations. The draft includes a contents list and glossary of the Mono-Alu language.

Notes and correspondence 1953-1954 of George B. Milner of the University of London with Mrs Wheeler and the Royal Anthropological Institute relating to his work on the Wheeler Papers.

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 School of Oriental and African Studies.

Preferred Citation

Acknowledgement of use of this material should refer to the School of Oriental and African Studies and to the Australian Joint Copying Project.

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: Ranjang poems, 1783, School of Oriental and African Studies (AJCP ref:

Archival History

Material selectively filmed at School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1965 (AJCP Reel: M599). Original microfilm digitised as part of the AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

Existence and Location of Originals

School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Thornhaugh Street, London.

For more information see Papers of Gerald Wheeler at the School of Oriental and African Studies [].

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.

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.


Alu Island, Solomon Islands; Anthropologists; Anthropology; Bougainville Strait, Solomon Islands; Milner, George B.; Mono-Alu language, Solomon Islands; New Zealand; Religion; Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain; Royal Geographical Society; Solomon Islands; Solomon Islands: life and customs; University of London; Wheeler, Gerald C.


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 499, pp193-194.[]

Biographical / Historical

Gerald Clair William Camden Wheeler (1872-1943) was born in London and educated at St Charles College and the University of London. He had a passion for languages and was fluent in English, French, Portuguese, German and Swedish and competent in eight other languages.

Under the direction of W.H.R. Rivers, he participated in an anthropological expedition to the Solomon Islands in 1908-1909. He first worked on Simbo Island and then settled in Alu Island, where he became acquainted with the German anthropologist Richard Thurnwald. In referring to the inhabitants of Alu, he coined the term 'Mono-Alu', as at some time in the nineteenth century Mono people had invaded Alu and killed or expelled the 'old Alu' inhabitants. Wheeler remained on the island for less than a year, but acquired an extraordinary knowledge of the Austronesian Mono-Alu language.

On his return to England, Wheeler published The tribe and intertribal relations in Australia (1910), based on his doctoral thesis at the University of London. He taught part-time at the London School of Economics for a number of years, but failed to secure a university position after World War I. He was a friend of Bronislaw Malinowski and collaborated with L.T. Hobhouse and Morris Ginsberg on their comparative study, The material culture and social institutions of the simpler peoples: an essay in correlation (1915).

In 1926 Wheeler published Mono-Alu folklore, describing 79 myths, stories and songs. For each myth he provided a transcription in the Mono-Alu language and an English translation. At the time of Wheeler's death, his monograph on the 'sociology' of Mono-Alu was unfinished. The School of Oriental and African Studies holds two versions of the draft, one manuscript and the other typed. There are references in the text to several chapters which are now missing, such as 'Genealogy', 'Crafts', 'Cooking', 'Technology', 'Philology' and 'Grammar'.

Item Descriptions

Series 1. Correspondence of George B. Milner (School of Oriental and African Studies), Mrs E. Wheeler (Gerald Wheeler's wife) and the Royal Anthropological Institute, 1953 - 1954

Concerning the life of Gerald Wheeler, the typing of his manuscript, and the transfer of the manuscript to the School of Oriental and African Studies.

Series 2. Manuscript on the Mono-Alu people (2 boxes)

27 items

The manuscript is arranged by subjects, some of which have subdivisions. There are title pages for some additional subjects, but no texts have survived. The bulk of the manuscript is paginated, but there is some duplication of page numbers and the order of folders does not correspond exactly with the pagination. In addition, the glossary and two other folders are paginated differently, while another two folders are unpaginated.

The plan: manuscript and typescript notes and jottings (File Box 1/1)

Totemism (File Box 1 (pp 435-468))

Kinship (File Box 1 (pp 469-498))

Death rites (File Box 1 (pp 499-565))

Death rites (unpaginated) (File Box 1)

Eschatology: death; the soul; the life after death (File Box 1 (pp 1-36))

Eschatology: the life after death (File Box 1 (pp 37-72))

Justice; morals; folkways; war, anthropophyteia (File Box 1 (pp 566-638))

Sickness; magic; taboo (File Box 1 (pp 639-653))

Ownership: the Toniga (Thrall) (File Box 1 (pp 654-686))

Ownership in land, trees and other things; inheritance (File Box 1 (pp 687-703))

Ownership: shell money; Kia; Gorau; Pago (File Box 1 (pp 704-731))

Chiefship (File Box 1 (pp 750-834))

Religion: Introduction (File Box 2 (pp 1-87))

Religion: Dudueri (File Box 2 (pp 88-184))

Religion: Soi (File Box 2 (pp 185-255))

Religion: Bego (File Box 2 (pp 256-325))

Religion: Bunosi (File Box 2 (pp 326-360))

Religion: Sisimino, Divo, Kiriaiku, Fetunu, Bakuai (File Box 2 (pp 361-378))

Religion: Sakusaku; Ome (File Box 2 (pp 379-401))

Religion: Cosmology, taboo; sundry observations (File Box 2 (pp 402-434))

History (unpaginated) (File Box 2)

External relations (File Box 2 (pp 882-904))

Ritual pastimes: feasting, dancing, music (File Box 2 (pp 835-881))

Ritual pastimes: games (11pp) (File Box 2)

Astronomy, time, numbers, measures (16pp) (File Box 2)

Glossary: Mono-Alu - English (File Box 2)