Series 260 - Helen Groger-Wurm papers

Identity area

Reference code



Helen Groger-Wurm papers


  • 1921 - 2005 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

17.4 m (73 boxes)

Context area

Name of creator

(1921- 2005)

Biographical history

Helen Groger-Wurm was born in Vienna, Austria on 21 February 1921. She gained a PhD in Anthropology and Linguistics from the University of Vienna 1946. She met Stephen Wurm at the Department of Anthropology in Vienna and they married in 1946. From June 1946 to June 1948 she worked for the Department of African Linguistics of Vienna University and compiled a textbook of the Dongolawi Nubian language. From June 1948 to January 1952 she worked as Departmental Assistant in the Department of Anthropology of Vienna University. Moving to London in September 1953 she took part in the postgraduate course in Social Anthropology at the London School of Economics until their move to Australia in 1954. During 1955 and 1956 Groger-Wurm undertook fieldwork to record many Indigenous Australian languages, particularly in New South Wales and Southern Queensland. In 1957 she was appointed the Curator of the Anthropological Section of the Institute of Anatomy in Canberra. In 1958 she accompanied Stephen Wurm on a nine-month survey of the Highlands of Australian New Guinea. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s she undertook further trips throughout northern Australia collecting artefacts. She subsequently catalogued these objects for the Institute of Anatomy. In 1973 Groger-Wurm published a significant study of the sacred art of Eastern Arnhem Land titled Australian Aboriginal Bark Paintings and their Mythological Interpretation: Volume 1, Eastern Arnhem Land. She died on 19 September 2005.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Diaries, 1931-2002
Film and theatre albums, 1932-1990s
Personal papers, 1921-2001
Large format material, 1920s-1982
Correspondence, 1956-2005
University research material, 1940s-1950s
Research materials, 1950s-2000
MAGNT Aboriginal Art Collection, 1960s-1970s
National Museum of Australia catalogue, 1992
Sound recordings, 1960s
Indigenous photographs, 1950s-1960s
Photograph albums, 1923-2005
Slides, 1954-1970
Movie films, 1960-1974
Super 8 films, 1974-1988
Videos, 1990-2000
Obituaries and condolences (for SA Wurm), 2001-2002


System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Open access, though some Indigenous material may be restricted. Some correspondence is in German, and some research materials are in other languages. The recordings and films have not been copied for reference.

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Item list

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Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Stephen Wurm’s papers (ANUA 233)

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Dates of creation revision deletion

Prepared by Maggie Shapley on 7 March 2007




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