MS 5068
Papers of Charles Duguid (1884-1986)


Creator: Duguid, Charles, 1884-1986
Title: Papers of Charles Duguid
Date range: 1900-1974
Reference number: MS 5068
Extent: 1.76 m. (11 boxes)

Administrative Information


Available for research. Not for loan.


This collection was donated to the Library by Charles Duguid in 1975. The manuscript of Duguid’s autobiography, Doctor and the Aborigines, was presented by Duguid’s daughter, Mrs Rosemary Douglas, in 1997.

Scope and Content Note

The collection comprises correspondence, diaries, slides, reports, notes, texts of speeches, the manuscript of Duguid’s autobiography, printed material, newspaper cuttings and cuttings books.

The papers relate to Duguid’s work with the Australian Aborigines, and his involvement in various organizations, such as the Aborigines Advancement League of South Australia. They document the development of the Ernabella Mission in the Musgrave Ranges and the use made of the Smith of Dunesk Bequest. The bulk of the collection covers the period between 1930 and 1960, when Duguid was campaigning most actively for Aboriginal rights. The later correspondence (1960-74) consists mainly of congratulatory notes and telegrams on Duguid’s 80th and 90th birthdays, and on his award of the O.B.E.

Related material

Slides (Series 5) are held in the Pictorial Section.

Biographical Note

The son of a schoolteacher, Charles Duguid was born at Saltcoasts, Scotland on 6th April 1884. He attended the Ardrossan Academy High School of Glasgow and studied medicine at Glasgow University.

As well as teaching at Glasgow University, Duguid worked as a doctor in the Glasgow slums. In 1911 he signed on as ship’s surgeon for a voyage to and from Australia. This experience led him to emigrate to Australia in 1912.

He practised as a general practitioner in Nhill, Victoria, where he married his first wife, Irene Young. They had one son, Charlie. In 1914 Duguid moved to Adelaide and began practising as a gynaecologist and obstetrician.

In February 1917 Duguid sailed for Egypt as a volunteer medical officer with the Light Horse Brigade. He returned to Scotland in 1919 for post-graduate study and to sit for a surgical fellowship at Glasgow. In the following years he made other overseas study tours.

Irene Duguid died in 1927. In 1930 Charles Duguid married Phyllis Lade, the senior English mistress at the Presbyterian Girls’ College in Adelaide. They had a son, Andrew, and a daughter, Rosemary.

Duguid first became interested in the plight of Australian Aborigines in 1928, when a white man was murdered by Aborigines at Landers Creek. The police shot 17 Aborigines in their hunt for the murderer. From this time on Duguid became an unrelenting battler for Aboriginal rights. His wife founded the Aboriginal Advancement League in 1935 and Duguid served as President in 1935, and again from 1951 to 1961. In 1937 he helped to found the Ernabella Mission in the Musgrave Ranges of South Australia. He lectured and spoke in England and New Zealand, as well as Australia, about the conditions of the Australian Aborigines and he made many expeditions into the inland to the various Aboriginal settlements. He was active in other organizations concerned with Aboriginal rights, such as the Council for Aboriginal Rights and the Association for the Protection of Native Races.

Duguid helped found the English Speaking Union, and chaired it in 1932. In 1935 he was elected Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of South Australia. He served as President of the District and Bush Nursing Society of South Australia in 1954.

In 1970 Duguid was awarded the O.B.E. for his work for Australian Aborigines. In 1974 he received the Anisfield-Wolf Award in Race Relations, for his autobiography Doctor and the Aborigines. Other publications include Desert trail, Future of Aborigines in Australia, Aborigines of Darwin and the Tropic North, Macewen of Glasgow and No dying race.

Duguid died in Adelaide on 5 December 1986, at the age of 102. He was buried at Ernabella.

Series List

1 General correspondence, 1918-74

2 Diaries, 1934-51

3 Press cuttings, 1933-72

4 Printed material, 1900-73

5 Slides, 1936-49

6 Speeches and statements

7 Published works of Duguid

8 Organisational records, 1932-69

9 Smith of Dunesk Bequest

10 Ernabella Mission, 1935-1965

11 Papers of Mary Bennett

12 Miscellaneous notes

13 Manuscript of autobiography

Series Description

Series 1 General Correspondence, 1918–74

This series comprises personal correspondence from 1918 to 1974. It is arranged chronologically with undated items placed last. Letters relating to particular subjects have been placed in their relevant subject series. Any enclosures sent by the correspondence are filed with the covering letters.

Some of the correspondence is with various organizations, including the Aborigines Advancement League, Anti-Slavery Society, Student Christian Movement, United Nations Association of Australia, National Union of Australian University Students, Council for Aboriginal Rights, Aborigines Protection League and the Australian Inland Mission.

The other main correspondents are Pastor F.W. Albrecht, R. M. Trudiner, E. W. P. Chinnery, Margaret Bain, Reverend P. B. Clayton, H. R. Balfour, Professor Gilbert Murray, Professor A. P. Elkin, Donald Thomson, Sir Paul Hasluck, G. F. Davis, Sir Mark Oliphant, C. P. Mountford and the Reverend William Morley. A small number of letters from Duguid’s wife, Phyllis, are included in this series.

The correspondence for 1971, 1964 and 1974 consists of a large number of telegrams and congratulatory notes on the occasions of Duguid’s O.B.O. award (1971) and his 80th and 90th birthdays.

Series 2 Diaries, 1934-51

This series comprises five diaries kept by Duguid for the years 1934, 1935, 1936, 1936-49 and 1951. His diary relating to Ernabella Mission (1946) has been placed in Series 10.

Series 3 Press Cuttings

This series comprises loose clippings (from magazines and newspapers) and newspaper cutting books. The loose clippings are arranged at the beginning of the series with the cuttings books at the end.

Most of the cuttings relate to the Aborigines, but they also contain information extracted from the Medical Journal of Australia and information on the Light Horse Memorial in Adelaide. The subjects relating to Aborigines include the Australian Inland Mission and the Flying Doctor Service. Many clippings refer to Duguid and his involvement both with the Presbyterian Church and with the Aboriginal cause. Several clippings of his articles and ‘letters to the editor’ are included.

Other newspaper cuttings have been placed in their relevant subject series.

Series 4 Printed material, 1900-73

This series contains books, newspapers and journals. These publications are listed in Appendix I.

As well as the material listed in the Appendix, the series contains copies of a ‘Licence to employ Aborigines’ and the ‘Limited exemption from the provisions of the Aborigines Act of 1934-1939’. The subjects covered by the various publications include Presbyterianism in Australia, Aborigines, anti-conscription, economics, socialism and obstetrics.

Books and pamphlets written by Duguid may be found in Series 7 while his published speeches are in Series 6. Other printed items have been placed in their relevant subject series.

Series 5 Slides, 1936-49

This series comprises two boxes of slides (housed in the Pictorial Section). The first box of slides is marked ‘1936-1939’. The slides refer to a patrol made by Duguid in 1936 in the area around Haast Bluff. The first 26 slides refer to this patrol, while the following 24 deal with the Petermann Patrol of 1939.

The second box of slides relates to the Ernabella Mission in 1949. It contains 40 slides of landscapes, shearing activities, teaching activities and Aborigines.

Series 6 Speeches and statements

This series comprises the texts of Duguid’s speeches and written statements, as well as notes for speeches. The series also includes broadcasts, printed copies of addresses, correspondence relating to various ABC and BBC broadcasts and cards advertising some of the lectures.

The titles of Duguid’s speeches are listed in Appendix II. The subjects include Aborigines, medicine and religion.

Duguid gave many speeches over the years at a variety of venues. He also composed a large number of statements. These statements are divided into texts and notes. The notes have been divided, by Duguid, into the following subject areas: alcohol and Aborigines; assimilation; pidgin English; cooperatives; discrimination; education; employment and wages; health; housing; intelligence; missions; Namatjira; nutrition; police as protectors; and reserves.

Series 7 Published works of Duguid

This series comprises correspondence, newspaper clippings, copies of reviews and copies of four of Duguid’s publications. The material is arranged in roughly chronological order, according to date of publication. The correspondence relating to each publication is also arranged chronologically.

The pamphlets contained in this series are From Suez to Gaza with the Light Horse; The rocket range, Australian Aborigines and war and The Aborigines of Darwin and the Tropic North.

A copy of the book Desert trail, by ‘Scotty’s Brother’, the pseudonym used by Duguid, is also included in this series. Material related to this publication includes a copyright certificate and correspondence, mainly congratulatory.

The series also includes reviews and correspondence relating to another of Duguid’s book No dying race (1963), material concerned with Duguid’s autobiography, correspondence and reviews, as well as a list of people referred to in the book. The correspondence, again, is mainly congratulatory, with some business letters from the publishers.

Several of Duguid’s speeches were printed. These have been placed in Series 6.

Series 8 Organisational records, 1932-69

Duguid was involved, often in an official capacity, in a variety of organisations. This series contains the minutes, reports, deputations, petitions, circulars and constitutions of such organisations. The material is arranged in roughly chronological order under each organisation.

The organizations and material includes the 26th Annual Report (1937) and a petition (1935) of the Association for the Protection of Native Races; a statement by Paul Hasluck on a report of the Anti-Slavery Society (1956); reports and statements regarding the Lollyleges murder case (1940). There is some material regarding Section 14 of the 1953 Police Offences Act, including petitions and a deputation from a group of five organizations asking for its repeal. Other documents include a policy statement and the constitution of the Council for Aboriginal Rights (Victoria) and newsletters or circulars of the Finke River Mission, Australian Aerial Medical Services and the Aborigines Advancement League.

There are small amounts of material from the following organizations: Federal Council for Aborigines Advancement, Committee on Human Rights of the United Nations of Australia, South Australian Aborigines Scholarship Committee of the National Union of Australian University Students, Alice Springs Army Native Labour Unit, Fullerton Girls Home, Australian Student Christian Movement, English Speaking Union, Association for the Protection of Native Races and the District and Bush Nursing Society.

Finally, there is a large amount of material from the Board of Missions and the South Australian State Assembly of the Presbyterian Church. They include minutes, statements of receipts and payments, and circulars. There are also several reports on such subjects as the Kunmunya Mission, the natives of the Musgrave Ranges, and the Moola Bulla Government Native Station.

Correspondence relating to these organizations is arranged in Series 1.

Series 9 Smith of Dunesk Bequest, 1935-62

Duguid became involved with the Smith of Dunesk Bequest when he attempted to raise funds for the establishment of Ernabella Mission in 1937. Mrs Henrietta Smith of Scotland had purchased land in South Australia, three years after its foundation, and she donated the proceeds to the Presbyterian Church in Australia, with the specific purpose of helping the Aborigines. However, the money was not used as she had intended and subsequent events obscured the purpose of the bequest. Duguid cleared up much of the speculation regarding the bequest and was able to divert some of the money to Ernabella Mission, thus fulfilling the original purpose of the bequest.

The series consists of correspondence, committee reports and printed material, arranged in that order. The correspondence, which is arranged chronologically, dates from 1935 to 1962. The principal correspondent is J. McDonald Webster of the Overseas Department of the Church of Scotland’s Committee on Colonial Churches. Also included are copies of nineteenth century reports and correspondence (1871-93) between Jemima Russell and the Reverend George Taplin and others about the bequest.

The series also contains reports of the above Committee, as well as minutes, figures on receipts, expenditure, and net income and distribution.

The printed material in this series includes a pamphlet entitled Brief account of Smith of Dunesk, drawn up by Phyllis Duguid. Also included are the Minutes of the Proceedings of the Presbyterian Church of South Australia, with the passages relevant to the Smith of Dunesk Request marked by Duguid.

Series 10 Ernabella Mission, 1935-65

Duguid, in association with the Presbyterian Board of Missions, founded the Ernabella Mission to the Pitjantjatjara tribe in the Musgrave Ranges in 1937. The series has been divided into nine subseries; subseries 1-5 are form divisions, while series 6-9 are subject subdivisions.

Subseries 1: Correspondence, 1935-65, is arranged chronologically with undated items placed last. The subjects covered including donations, the Adelaide appeal, land and wages. There are several letters from R. Trudiner at Ernabella.

Subseries 2: Diary, 1946, kept by Duguid at Ernabella.

Subseries 3: Printed material, consisting of a pamphlet entitled Ernabella 1940 and a number of Ernabella newsletters.

Subseries 4: Cuttings, comprises general cuttings relating to the Mission and its work, and to the Aboriginal people of the area.

Subseries 5: Reports, 1937-59, comprising reports of the Ernabella Mission to the Presbyterian Board of Missions. These reports include statements of expenditure and are arranged chronologically.

Subseries 6: Origins and Development. This subseries comprises clippings, newsheets, minutes of meetings, appeals for funds and a list of donors.

Subseries 7: Ernabella School. This subseries is made up of correspondence, student exercise books, photographs, clippings, pamphlets, copies of the school magazine Anapalaku, Tjakulpa Iyantja. The correspondence consists mainly of letters from children to Duguid and his wife. The clippings and pamphlets deal with the educational system and the Erabella Mission school.

Subseries 8: Medical papers. Comprises correspondence, reports, circulars, clippings and notes made by Duguid. They relate to the Aborigines of the Ernabella Mission.

Subseries 9: Miscellaneous papers, covers the subjects of wages, education and general policy as they relate to Ernabella. Slide material on Ernabella has been placed in series 5.

Series 11 Papers of Mary Bennett, 1927-61

This series comprises a variety of papers that were sent to Duguid by Mary Bennett, the Western Australian teacher and advocate of Aboriginal rights, before her death in 1961.

The series includes correspondence, newspaper clippings, copies of newspaper articles, copies of and extracts from acts, regulations, parliamentary debates and government reports, and evidence given before Royal Commissions and official inquiries. The papers deal with Aborigines and their problems in Western Australia and in particular there is a large amount of material which Bennett presented as evidence to the Royal Commission on the condition and treatment of Aborigines in 1934. There are a few letters from Bennett to Duguid. The material is arranged roughly in chronological order.

Series 12 Miscellaneous notes

Grouped into this series are roneoed and typewritten papers and a variety of handwritten notes. Some of them were given to Duguid by Pastor F.W. Albrecht of the Hermannsburg Mission in Central Australia.

The topics covered include Aboriginal workers in Queensland and Western Australia, Moona Bulla, the Presbyterian Church in Australia, social services legislation as it affected Aborigines, fostering Aboriginal children, aspects of mission work among Aborigines, the Hermannsburg congregation, citizenship for Aborigines, Albert Namatjira, catering, the Welfare Branches basic ration scale for settlements, aspects of hospital welfare, childbirth, summary of Duguid’s Moderational year (1935), ‘Aboriginal children I have met’, natives of the West Coast of South Australia, tariffs, nutrition, peace and human rights for Aborigines.

Series 13 Manuscript of autobiography

Duguid’s autobiography Doctor and the Aborigines was published in Adelaide by Rigby in 1973. This series contains the draft of the book, mostly typescript but including several handwritten pages.

Appendix 1

Publications in Series 4

(a) Books

Balfour, R. G. Presbyterianism in the colonies

Edinburgh, MacNiven & Wallace, 1900

Fiddian, J. R. Robert Mitchell of the inland

Melbourne, Ramsay, 1931

Jones, Stuart Duncan

The soul of Czechoslovakia

London, Herbert Barber, 1941

Kenny, JamesNewer poems, 1936-1938

Melbourne, Lothian, 1939

McKellar, J.Maurice Blackburn and the struggle for freedom

Melbourne, Challenge Pr., 1945

Philoren Money must go

London, undated.

(b) Periodicals

ABC Weekly, November-December 1943

The Advertiser (Adelaide), November 1972

Airdoctor (Adelaide), September 1947

Australian Intercollegian (Adelaide), 50 (3) 1 May 1947

Australian Presbyterian Life (Melbourne), April/May 1973

Landmark (London), 16 (2) February 1934

The Link (Melbourne), April 1953, October 1953, June 1968

Medical Journal of Australia (Melbourne)

Vol. II, no. 118, October 1913

Vol. I, no. 8, August 1914

Vol. II, no.2, July 1922

Vol. II, no 22, December 1922

Vol., no. 18, November 1923

Vol. II, no. 21, November 1923

Vol. II, no. 23, December 1923

Supplements to February 1924 and April 1924

Vol. II, August 1926

Vol. I, February 1931

Vol. I, no. 20, May 1933

The Messenger (Melbourne), 10 (26), December 1936

10 (28), January 1937; 10 (29), January 1937

10 (31), January – 10 (34), February 1937

Missionary Chronicle (Melbourne), 29 (6), June 1935

The News (Adelaide), December 1934; December 1934; December 1934

People 1 (25) February 1951

Presbyterian Banner (Adelaide), 40 (4), April 1935

The Real Australian (Sydney), no. 90, July 1945

The Socialist (Sydney), November 1951

Southern Socialist Review (Melbourne), new series no. 31, December 1945

Spirit of Czechoslovakia (London), 3 (1- 3) February 1942; 3 (7 & 8) July 1942 – 6 (1), 1945

Student World (Geneva), 46 (4), 4th quarter 1953.

Venture (Adelaide), Vol. 1 – 2, no. 2, February 1940.

Workers Literature Board (Melbourne) – publications

(i) Call for a socialist league (June 1944 ?)

(ii) The referendum : as a working class issue (July 1944 ?)

(iii) U.S. post-war plans (March 1944 ?)

(iv) The new order is here; it is debt finance and imperialism

World Dominion and World Today (New York), May/June 1954.

Appendix 2

Speeches by Duguid in Series 6

(a) Addresses – printed

  • The Aborigines of Australia.
  • The central Aborigines reserve.
  • The future of the Aborigines in Australia.
  • World peace at a price – world law.

(b) Addresses – text titles

  • Aborigines and alcohol.
  • The Aborigines gift to us.
  • The Aborigines of Australia (2 speeches)
  • The Aborigines of Australia and their future.
  • The acme of physical fitness.
  • Acting against discrimination.
  • The Australian Aborigines.
  • Behind God’s back.
  • A call to youth.
  • Can the Aborigine of Australia became an educated man?
  • The Church and Post World War.
  • Clash of cultures in Central Australia.
  • The elimination and prevention of venereal disease.
  • The far North West of South Australia – tribal Aborigines.
  • Full blood mothers and their half caste children.
  • Health under socialism.
  • The ideal Christian mission to the Aborigines.
  • Is the English Speaking Union worthwhile?
  • The message of George Matheson.
  • Modern medical opinion on alcohol.
  • Rise of democracy in Britain, or , British politics and the 1945 elections.
  • Scotland – most democratic in Empire – not in Europe.
  • Speech for Aborigines’ Sunday.
  • Speech at Melbourne Town Hall, June 1951
  • Violet Day Memorial address.
  • 1934 Patrol along and across Petermen Rangers.

(c) Broadcasts – printed

  • The Aborigines of Australia.
  • Aborigines’ Sunday – ABC Guest of Honour.

(d) Broadcasts – ABC and BBC

  • Aborigines children I have met
  • The Aborigines hopes of a future – before the war and now. The impact with the White People.
  • Aborigines place in present day Australia.
  • Housing and its problems.
  • The native on the edge of our civilization.
  • S.Y.M. Patrol.
  • Tribal natives and their customs.
  • What we are doing to help Aborigines fit into our national life.

Box List

Box Series Folder/Item
1 1 1-9
2 1 10-13
  2 1
3 3 1-4
    Clippings book
4 3 5
    Clippings books
5 4 1-13
6 4 14-17
7 6 1-10
    Printed Material
8 7 1-3
  8 1-4
  9 1-3
9 10 1-11
10 10 12-13
  11 1-3
  12 1-3
11 13


  Addition 1 folder of photographs
Revised September 2001