Paul Foelsche

Paul Foelsche (1831 – 1914) was a South Australian police officer and photographer born in Germany, remembered for his work in the Northern Territory of Australia from 1870 to 1904. Foelsche took hundreds of portraits of Larrakia, Woolna (Djerimanga) and Iwaidja people, usefully annotated and categorised with the subjects’ names and some personal details. In response to a general plea by anthropologist E. M. Curr, Foelsche collected many aboriginal words and their meanings. Foelsche’s active role in the brutal colonisation of northern Australia is seldom acknowledged in textbooks and mainstream historical accounts, most of which were originally based on the perspective of European settlers at the end of the 19th century.