Daniel Sutherland Davidson, with a 1928 doctorate in
spent 1930 and 1938-1940 on fieldwork and museum visits in Australia.
He published many articles on material culture. His collection of
about 4200 words of vocabulary of nineteen WA languages has remained
unpublished and has had little attention from researchers.
AIATSIS Library manuscript collection
Comparative vocabularies of
nineteen Western Australian
Languages. Original: 6 3/4" x 3 3/3" memo sheets. AIATSIS MS
1097, ASEDA item 0712 * details
1939 [Perth] 'Native rock paintings / Discoveries on
Murchison / Protection from vandals' "While in the Murchison
area, Dr. Davidson talked with a number of natives and was able to
record information on various aspects of ethnology, such as tribal
distribution and languages."
mentions of Davidson
by A. Capell. 1940. The classification of languages in North
and North-west Australia. Oceania
"Some vocabularies of the languages south and west of
Garadjeri collected by Dr. D.S. Davidson and kindly handed over to me
show a type of grammar akin to that of Garadjeri and in some instance
considerable vocabulary agreements. Space does not permit the
inclusion of these languages here." (Capell 1940:421)
"I also thank Dr. D.S. Davidson, who kindly handed over to me
vocabularies he had collected for western Australia south-west of the
area included in my own work." (Capell 1940:433)
(WA) entry (p.245) contains a misapprehension: "Davidson's 1938 map
the name of the Balgo Mission as if it were a tribal name, Balgu, and
150 miles (240 km.) out of position in a west-southwesterly direction."
— whereas Balgo Mission was founded in 1939 [source]
and Davidson was here placing earlier citations (by Basedow 1914
and Clement 1903) of a variant
of the ethnonym known to Tindale as Bailgu
(modern Palyku); see Davidson's listing in his 1938 Register
mis-states Davidson's first names (as David p.2, David Starr
in index p.391). Davidson once
drafted a paper 'String Figures in the Belgian Congo: Comments on
the photographs taken in 1905-1906 by Frederick Starr'
Peterson has an appreciation of DS Davidson's areal
studies in 'The natural and cultural areas of Aboriginal Australia: a
preliminary analysis of population groupings with adaptive
significance', pp.50-71 in Tribes
and Boundaries in Australia ed. by Nicolas Peterson (Canberra:
Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies, 1976)
additional information from Mark
Chambers: DS Davidson's only child, a daughter born in Melbourne in
1930, died in Maui, Hawai'i, a few years ago. DS Davidson was
also survived by his younger brother Matthew Henry Davidson II.