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Phyllis Mary KABERRY

Born: 17 September 1910

Died: 31 October 1977

Special Achievements:

1941 - First woman anthropologist awarded Yale Study Fellowship.

1930s-1960s - Published papers on her anthropological work in the Kimberley, Papua New Guinea and Cameroon.

Additional Information:

1933 - Bachelor of Arts, University of Sydney

1934 - Won the Wentworth medal, University of Sydney, and first-class Honours for her thesis on 'Culture contact in Melanesia'.

1935 - Master of Arts, University of Sydney

1938 - Doctor of Philosophy, London School of Economics.  Her thesis, published as Aboriginal Woman (1939), strove to portray "Aboriginal woman as she really is" -- an integral part of Aboriginal culture, interesting in her own right.  In a period when native women were generally depicted as either "domesticated cows" or erotic objects her approach was rare.

Her years in Cameroon (1945-6, 1947-8, 1958, 1960, 1963) were possibly the happiest of her career.  The African women she met were not shy and liked to swap gossip with her.  Her friendship with them led her to complain on their behalf about the conduct of neighbouring tribesmen whose cattle were destroying the women's farms.  Although she later claimed to have done very little, she was credited with having driven the cattle from Nso land.