Book Review: Myths and Legends of the Australian Aborigines

Myths and Legends of the Australian Aborigines
By W. Ramsey Smith

Originally published around 1932, Myths and Legends of the Australian Aborigines claims to be a collection of campfire tales and oral traditions of the aboriginal people of Australia. This is mostly true. About a fifth of the book is devoted to tribal customs rather than legends, but this section of the book feels much longer.

The myths and legends contained in this book seem to cover a wide range of Australian beliefs from the creation of the world to hero tales set in the not too distant past. The author has collected a large variety of these tales, providing an interesting and seemingly well-rounded look at Australian oral traditions.

The tales themselves are well-written, but the style of the entire book can be a little tedious. While it was an interesting and fairly easy read, it also failed to hold my attention when distractions cropped up and it took me a couple of weeks to finish. If you can find some time to read without distractions, I would recommend this book to anyone interested in Australian mythology and legends.

This review originally appeared 23 February 2013 on

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