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Pink, Olive Muriel (1884 - 1975)

Born
17 March 1884
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Died
1975
Alice Springs, Northern Teritory, Australia
Occupation
Anthropologist and Botanical artist

Summary

Olive Pink was a botanical artist and anthropologist who campaigned for the rights of Aboriginal people. She was one of few women anthropologists working in a male dominated field in the 1930s and 1940s. Pink positioned herself as an expert on Aboriginal people and campaigned from this basis in her criticism of government officials, missionaries and pastoralists.

Details

Educated in art at Hobart Technical College. Pink worked at the Public Works Department and later the Railways Commission of New South Wales. She studied anthropology at Sydney University with the Workers' Educational Association and became secretary to the Anthropological Society of NSW. In 1926 & 1927 she travelled to Ooldea on the Transcontinental Line, SA. There she created many of her early drawings of desert flora.

Pink spent much time in the Northern Territory, living first with Arrernte and Warlpiri people and settling eventually in Alice Springs. She was a prolific correspondent, writing many letters to government departments and the press, particularly to represent her beliefs about Aboriginal people and her views on their better treatment by the government. Historian Julie Marcus suggests that Pink eventually lost faith in the potential of Anthropology to assist Aboriginal people, and abandoned the discipline later in life.

In 1955 she applied for the reservation of an area of land on the eastern bank of the Todd River as a flora reserve. In 1956 the Australian Arid Regions Flora Reserve of 20 hectares was gazetted. Pink and her gardener Johnny Jambijimba Yannarilyi developed the garden, where Pink lived until her death. The garden was then renamed the Olive Pink Flora Reserve, and now contains over 300 of Central Australia's plant species.

Sources used to compile this entry: Where are the Women in Australian science?, Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, 22 August 2003, http://www.austehc.unimelb.edu.au/wisa/wisa.html; Marcus, Julie; Lepervanche, Marie de; McBryde, Isabel; Prior, Mary Ellen Murray; White, Isobel; Morris, Miranda; O'Gorman, Anne; Marcus, Julie and Cheater, Christine, First in Their Field: Women and Australian Anthropology, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1993; Marcus, Julie, 'Pink, Olive Muriel (1884-1975)', in Australian Dictionary of Biography Online, Australian National University, 2006, http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A160004b.htm; Moreton-Robinson, Aileen, Talkin' up to the white woman : Aboriginal women and feminism, University of Queensland Press, St Lucia, 2000, xxv, 234 pp.

Related entries

Related Organisations

Archival resources

National Archives of Australia, National Office

  • Records of Olive Pink, 1946 - 1955, 19; National Archives of Australia, National Office. Details

National Archives of Australia, Northern Territory Office

  • Alice Springs Native Flora Reserve Olive Pink, 1958 - 1970, 1958/204; National Archives of Australia, Northern Territory Office. Details
  • Flora and fauna reserve Alice Springs - Miss Olive PINK - General correspondence, 1958 - 1961, 1959/328; National Archives of Australia, Northern Territory Office. Details
  • Flora and Fauna Reserve. Alice Springs (Miss Olive Pink - General correspondence), 1965 - 1978, 1969/1967; National Archives of Australia, Northern Territory Office. Details
  • Miss Olive Pink /secular Sanctuary Granites Tanami District, 1935 - 1945, 8/30/0; National Archives of Australia, Northern Territory Office. Details
  • Miss Olive Pink. Application for permit to enter Aboriginal Reserves General Correspondence with, 1940 - 1941, 1941/53; National Archives of Australia, Northern Territory Office. Details
  • Native Flora Reserve Olive Pink, 1970 - 1978, 1971/139; National Archives of Australia, Northern Territory Office. Details

National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection

  • Olive Pink - Correspondence, 1897 - 1971, MS 766; Papers of E. W. Pearson (Ernest William Pearson) Chinnery, 1887-1972.; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details
  • Olive Pink - Correspondence, 1925 - 1989, MS 5274; Papers of Sir Paul Hasluck 1905-1993.; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details

The Noel Butlin Archives Centre, ANU Archives Program

  • Papers of Mary Wright 1903-1990, 1886 - 1985, held; Wright, Mary (1903 - 1993); The Noel Butlin Archives Centre, ANU Archives Program. Details

Northern Territory Archives Service, Darwin Branch

  • Olive Pink Papers, 1942 - 1972, NTRS 3; Northern Territory Archives Service, Darwin Branch. Details

South Australian Museum Archives

  • Correspondence between Pink and T.D. Campbell,, 1935 - 1938, A.D. 15; South Australian Museum Archives. Details
  • T. D. (Thomas Draper) Campbell 1893-1967 Papers, c. 1920 - c. 1960, AA52; South Australian Museum Archives. Details

University of Tasmania Library, Special/Rare Collection

  • Pink,Olive Muriel botanical drawings, 1930 - 1960, P.6; University of Tasmania Library, Special/Rare Collection. Details

Clare Land

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

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