Carl Strehlow died in the blistering heat of a desert, a great man lost to posterity.
The sole inheritance bequeathed to his young son Theodore – or as he was known ‘Ted’ – were tens of thousands of words written in German about the language, culture and beliefs of the Aranda people of Central Australia.
It was a meagre inheritance in monetary terms; a hidden wealth for someone fluent in German and Aranda.
And for the 14 year old Ted that was given having grown up as an only child on a remote mission station and been educated by his parents – and spent his childhood with Aranda kids of his own age.
After the death of his father, Ted, accompanied by his mother Frieda travelled south to Adelaide to start a new life. Few would have predicted that Ted would adapt as successfully as he did. When he arrived in Adelaide he had never attended a school, rarely worn shoes, and never been in the company of white people. Yet he finished High School by topping the state in German, Greek and Latin and winning a scholarship to attend Adelaide University. In 1931, he gained a Masters’ degree with distinction.
He seemed destined for a solid and secure career as an academic. But the bequest of his father proved far more powerful……. Read more