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Biographical entry Hercus, Luise Anna (1926 - 2018)

AM

Born
16 January 1926
Munich, Germany
Died
15 April 2018
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Occupation
Ethnologist and Linguist
Alternative Names
  • Schwarzschild, Luise Anna

Summary

Luise Hercus was an ethnologist and linguist who was renowned for her efforts to record the ancestral languages and songs of Aboriginal people. Armed with a tape recorder and little funding, she sought out those with knowledge of indigenous languages. With patience and sympathy, and an evident interest in their personal stories, she encouraged the Aboriginal people she met to commit what they remembered to tape. Starting in Victoria in the 1960s, Hercus later extended her work into neighbouring states and Central Australia. Her first major work in over 100 publications was The languages of Victoria: a late survey (1969). She lodged with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies over 1,000 hours of recordings in over 56 languages and dialects. Hercus also had a distinguished career as a linguist of Middle Indo-Aryan dialects, and published a significant body of work under her maiden name.

Details

Events

1946
Education - BA, University of Oxford
1948
Education - MA, University of Oxford
1948
Career position - Fellow, St Anne's College, University of Oxford
1948 - 1954
Career position - Lecturer in French Philology, University of Oxford
1954
Life event - Settled in Australia
1965 - 1969
Career position - Research Fellow, University of Adelaide
1969 - 1991
Career position - Senior Lecturer (later Reader) in Sanskrit, Department of South Asian and Buddhist Studies, Australian National University
1978 - 2018
Award - Fellow, Australian Academy of the Humanities
1991 -
Career position - Visiting Fellow, School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics, Australian National University
1995
Award - Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for service to education and linguistics particularly through the preservation of Aboriginal languages and culture
2001
Award - Centenary Medal for service to Australian society and the humanities in the study of linguistics and philology

Related Corporate Bodies

Published resources

Book Sections

  • Gara, Tom, 'Luise Hercus's research in the Lake Eyre Basin, 1965 - 2005', in Austin, Peter K., Koch, Harold and Simpson, Jane (eds), Language, land and song: studies in honour of Luise Hercus, EL Publishing, London, 2017, pp. 23-43. http://www/elpublishing.org/PID/2002. Details
  • Koch, Grace and Obata, Kazuko, '"I am sorry to bother you": a unique partnership between Luise Hercus and the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies in', in Austin, Peter K., Koch, Harold and Simpson, Jane (eds), Language, land and song: studies in honour of Luise Hercus, EL Publishing, London, 2017, pp. 44-56. http://www.elpublishing.org/PID/2003. Details

Edited Books

  • Austin, Peter (ed.), Language and history: essays in honour of Luise A. Hercus, Department of Linguistics, Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University, Canberra, 1990, 289 pp. Details
  • Austin, Peter K., Koch, Harold and Simpson, Jane (eds), Language, land and song: studies in honour of Luise Hercus, EL Publishing, London, 2017, 600 pp. Details

Journal Articles

  • Hope, Jeannette and Hercus, Luise, 'The Surveys of F. P. MacCabe and his Records of Aboriginal Placenames at the Junction of the Murray and Darling Rivers', Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria, vol. 121, 2009, pp. 193-204. Details
  • Koch, Harold, 'Luise Hercus AM, FAHA 1926 - 2018', Aboriginal history, vol. 42, 2018, pp. xv-xviii. Details
  • Sutton, Peter, 'Luise Hercus and Aboriginal history', Aboriginal history, vol. 42, 2018, pp. xix-xxvi. Details

See also

  • Gibson, Jason, 'Luise Hercus 1926 - 2018: Australia's first languages preserved', The Age, 16 August 2018, p. 40. Details

Helen Cohn