Westlake Tasmanian Collection, Pitt Rivers Museum


1908-1910: Ernest Westlake travels from England to Tasmania and forms a collection of over 12,000 Tasmanian Stone Implements.

1910-1916: Joseph Paxton Moir of Hobart continues to collect Tasmanian Aboriginal stone implements on Ernest Westlake's behalf which he sends to Westlake along with the stone implement collection of J. V. Cook (formed before Westlake went to Tasmania).

1923: The Westlake Collection of Tasmanian Stone Implements arrives at the Pitt Rivers Museum by request of Henry Balfour.

1923-1939: Henry Balfour accessions the Westlake Tasmanian Collection into four books which are organised into more than 142 collecting sites. Each stone implement is given a Roman Numeral relating to one of the 142 collecting sites.

1925: Henry Balfour publishes a paper based upon a close study of the Westlake Tasmanian Collection [Henry Balfour, 1925].

1934: Initial payment for the Westlake Tasmanian Collection is made by the Pitt Rivers Museum to Aubrey Westlake.

1939 (or in the years before his death in 1939): Henry Balfour completes a longer paper based on the Westlake Tasmanian Collection with detailed illustrations. It was posthumously edited by T. K. Penniman and Beatrice Blackwood, but never published (available as part of Series 14 in this guide).

1940 (or in the years following Balfour’s death in 1939): The Westlake Tasmanian Collection is renumbered with the pre-fixes 1934.83-86 (1934 being the year of first payment of the collection, and numbers 83-86 being the numbers of the four books into which Balfour accessioned the collection). These numbers are recorded in the Accession Books, but not on the stone implements. Final payment for the collection is paid to Aubrey Westlake.

1976: The records of Ernest Westlake in the Pitt Rivers Museum are described in [N. J. B. Plomley, 1976].

1988: Joint Copying Project (see below) captures parts of the Westlake Papers in the Pitt Rivers Museum Manuscript Collections: 6 notebooks, letters to children, exercise books, and some other correspondence - which resulted in holdings in the National Library of Australia, Flinders University, the State Library of Victoria and the State Library of New South Wales.

1991: Parts of the records of Ernest Westlake in the Pitt Rivers Museum (mostly the Tasmanian Notebooks 2-5) are edited and published as: Plomley, N. J. B. (1991) The Westlake Papers: Records of Interviews in Tasmania, 1908-1910 (available as part of Series 1 in this guide).

2000: Rebe Taylor catalogues the records of Ernest Westlake in the Pitt Rivers Museum with pencil and paper (available as part of Series 1 in this Guide).

2001: The Westlake Tasmanian Collection is electronically catalogued as part of the retrospective computerization of the entire Pitt Rivers Museum's primary accession records (made possible by a grant from the Designation Challenge Fund). It contains 13,033 stone implements, including the J. V. Cook collection.

2004: Rebe Taylor successfully submits her PhD dissertation [Rebe Taylor, 2004] which explores Westlake's papers relating to his Tasmanian Collection and tells the story of what happened to his French eolith collection. Appendix 1 includes a brief box list of the Westlake papers held in the Pitt Rivers Museum Manuscript Collections and Appendix 2 is a transcription of Westlake's interviews in the Bass Strait (part of Series 3 in this Guide).

2008: Rebe Taylor and Gavan McCarthy image the entire Westlake Papers in the Pitt Rivers Museum Manuscript Collections. These digital images are available attached to each inventory item in this Guide.

2012: The first edition of Stories in Stone: an annotated history and guide to the collections and papers of Ernest Westlake (1855-1922) is published.

View a timeline for the English and French Collections, or enter the guide.
Published by the The University of Melbourne eScholarship Research Centre and the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, August 2010
Listed by Rebe Taylor, with Michael Jones and Gavan McCarthy
HTML edition
Updated 14 February 2017

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