Dr Philip Clarke

Dr Philip Clarke has an academic background in biology, geography and anthropology. After studying at the University of Adelaide, he started working in the Aboriginal ethnographical collections at the South Australian Museum in 1982. Dr Clarke’s initial research interest were chiefly on Aboriginal use of plants as foods, medicines and materials for making artefacts. This eventually broadened out to Aboriginal perception and use of the land, with a particular focus on the cultural geography of southern Australia. This research produced a Doctor of Philosophy thesis and a series of publications on Aboriginal astronomy, ethnobotany, mythology, Pidgin English and contact history.

During 1998-2000, Dr Clarke’s major task was curating the Australian Aboriginal Cultures Gallery Project at the South Australian Museum. He worked as a consultant anthropologist in the Goldfields of Western Australia from 2000-2003, specialising in ethnographic clearance work for mining developments. From 2010, Dr Clarke has taken on a variety of consultancy work (including native title and land rights) with the Northern Land Council and other representative bodies. He has written numerous professional papers and chapters, and has authored six major books on Indigenous use of the environment.

Since permanently leaving the Museum in late 2011, Dr Clarke has worked in private practice as a consultant anthropologist. He took up a half time Senior Research Fellowship at Griffith University from February 2012, to study Indigenous adaptation to climate change in southeastern Australia. In February 2013 Dr Clarke was appointed as Adjunct Senior Research Fellowship at Griffith University, while continuing to take on anthropological contracts from government agencies, corporations and Aboriginal organisations. In April 2015, Dr Clarke was made Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at Federation University to pursue research into the ethnosciences and Indigenous Bio-cultural Knowledge (IBCK).In December 2015, he was appointed Honorary Research Associate (Anthropology) at the South Australian Museum.

Professional Society Membership

  • Fellow, Australian Anthropological Society
  • Fellow, Society of Ethnobiology
  • Fellow, Royal Society of South Australia
  • Consulting Member, Anthropological Society of Western Australia
  • Member, Anthropological Society of South Australia
  • Member, Australian Institute of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islanders Studies
  • Member, Genealogical Society of South Australia

Published Papers & Book Chapters

Social Media