Jude Philp

Senior Curator, Macleay Collections
BA (Hons) Syd. MPhil PhD Cambridge
Jude Philp

As Senior Curator of the Macleay Collections, Jude Philp is interested in stimulating research into the collections and increasing the purposefulness of museum holdings through exhibition, research and events.

Jude's current research is in the world of 'British New Guinea' and the 19th-century practice of natural history for museums.

  • History and culture of the Pacific
  • Cultural anthropology
  • Museum practice
  • 19th-century natural history
  • Taxidermy
  • Member of the HfE Observatories
  • Honorary Associate, Australian Museum 
  • Honorary Associate, Department of History, University of Sydney 
  • Member of the Charles Perkins Centre
  • Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute
  • Member of the Australian Anthropological Society
  • Member of Sydney Environment Institute.
Reconstructing museum specimen data through the pathways of global commerce

ARC Linkage Project LP160101761 (2018-2021)

Project team: Jude Philp (Macleay Collections), Simon Ville (University of Wollongong), Deirdre Coleman (University of Melbourne), Elizabeth Carter (University of Sydney), Vanessa Finney (Australian Museum), Robin Torrence (Australian Museum), Annie Clarke (University of Sydney), Joshua Bell (Smithsonian Institution).

This project investigates and reconstructs the trade routes and exchange methods of natural history trading in the 19th century, which involved a diversity of trade and exchange mechanisms.

Excavating MacGregor: re-connecting a colonial museum collection

ARC Discovery Project DP150103518 (2015–2019)

Project team: Annie Clarke (University of Sydney), Jude Philp (Macleay Museum), Robin Torrence (Australian Museum), Chantal Knowles (Queensland Museum)

Sensing the impacts of colonisation, the first Administrator of British New Guinea William MacGregor made a significant collection of objects specifically for its future citizens. This comprehensive legacy of 13,000 objects did not remain in the country but was dispersed to three Australian and six overseas museums. Our aim is to re-assemble and re-connect this material by 'excavating' its private and official components. This research aims to focus on the makers and traders to disentangle the social relationships embedded in the objects. Using material-centred, assemblage-based archaeological approaches, we aim to investigate how indigenous groups used objects to negotiate with the new colonial government.

The publication of Alfred Cort Haddon's journals from his expeditions to the Torres Strait and New Guinea (1888–9 and 1898–9)
Project team: Anita Herle, (Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology, University of Cambridge), Jude Philp (Macleay Collections, University of Sydney) with support from Monash Indigenous Studies Centre, Torres Strait Regional Authority and AIATSIS, to be published through Sydney University Press.
Haddon's journals were written partly as a series of letters to his wife Fanny in England, and partly as an aid for his memory of his days in the region. This book links the text to the objects, sound recordings and photographic resources produced from this work. Haddon was a marine biologist who 'converted' to anthropology following his fieldwork in the Torres Strait. The journals which incorporate his work with Islanders and Papuans have never before been published.

Cultures of Coast and Sea: maritime environmental, cultural and ethnographic histories of north-east Australia

ARC Linkage LP110200041 (2011–2014)

Led by Professor Iain McCalman with Dr Stephanie Anderson, Dr Jude Philp, Dr Nigel Erskine, Mr Michael Crayford and Dr Michael Davis (APDI). This project is a partnership between the University of Sydney, Australian National Maritime Museum, the Queensland Museum and the Silentworld Foundation.

Using new cross-disciplinary approaches and methods, this collaboration between university scholars, museum curators and a philanthropic foundation will study the impact of maritime and marine environmental and cultural change on the peoples and habitats of the Great Barrier Reef and the Torres Strait from the eighteenth century to the present.

The original field anthropologist: Nikolai Miklouho-Maclay in Oceania, 1871-1883

ARC Discovery DP110104578 (2011–2014)

Led by Drs Chris Ballard, Jude Philp and Elena Govor. A partnership with Australian National University.

This project restores the 19th century Russian anthropologist Nikolai Miklouh-Maclay to a central position in the histories of anthropology and of the European exploration of Oceania. Interviews with the source communities among which he lived will be used to analyse his field drawings and journals, most never previously published in English. 

Producers and Collectors: Uncovering the Role of Indigenous Agency in the Formation of Museum Collections.

ARC Linkage LP0669137 (2006–2009)

Led by Robin Torrence, Jude Philp and Annie Clarke. A partnership with Australian Museum. With PhD candidate Erna Lilje (Thesis: From Maker to Museum: Fibre skirts from Central Province, PNG)

Employing archaeological methods and assemblage analysis to ethnographic collections, the history of social relations between Papua New Guineans and 'outsiders' is examined. By unlocking information about the origin and history of ethnographic collections from Australia's oldest museum, their cultural significance will be shared more widely.

  • Co-Curator with Anthony Gill, Natural Selections, Chau Chak Wing Museum, Nov 2020-
  • Co-Curator, with Anthony Gill, Robert Blackburn and Leah Lui-Chivizhe, Stuffed stitched studied: 19th century Australian taxidermy, Macleay Museum, Nov 2014 – May 2015
  • Co-Curator, with Cecily Oakley and Anthony Gill, The Meaning of Life: Celebrating 50 years of Biological Sciences at the University of Sydney, Macleay Museum, Sep 2012–March 2013
  • Curator, Coral: art, science, life, Macleay Museum,  Jan–Sep 2012
  • Curator, Quest for Red: by trade and experiment, Macleay Museum, Mar–Dec 2011
  • Co-Curator, project led by Carolyn Strange, Griffith Taylor Global Geologist, Macleay Museum, June–Oct 2009
  • Curator, Accidental Encounters, Macleay Museum, Feb–June 2009
  • Co-Curator, with Peter Hilton and Jan Brazier, Small Matters: 50 years of microscopy at the University of Sydney, Macleay Museum,  Aug 2008 – Jan 2009
  • Co-Curator, project led by Rebecca Conway, People, power, politics: the first generation of anthropologists at the University of Sydney, Macleay Museum, Feb–July 2008
  • Curator, Museum: Robyn Stacey, Macleay Museum, Nov–Dec 2007      
  • Curator, Rational order: Carl von Linne 1707–1778, Macleay Museum, Feb–Oct 2007
  • Curator, On the Inside anatomy and learning, Macleay Museum, May–June 2006
  • ‘Circulations of Paradise’, Mobile Museums: collections in circulation Felix Driver, Mark Nesbitt and Caroline Cornish eds. (London: UCL), 229-259. 
  • ‘Precious gifts. Working with the barks at the Macleay Museum’ Rosemary Stack and Jude Philp in Djalkiri: Yolŋu art, collaborations and collections. Rebecca Conway ed. (Sydney: SUP).
  • Recording KastomAlfred Haddon’s Journals from the Torres Strait and New Guinea, 1888 and 1898. Anita Herle and Jude Philp, eds. (Sydney: SUP)
  • ‘Macleay’s Choice: Transacting the Natural History Trade in the Nineteenth Century.’ Simon Ville, Claire Wright, and Jude Philp. J Hist Biol 53345–375.
  • ‘Regimes of value in museum practices: A networked biography of the MacGregor field collection from British New Guinea’ Robin Torrence, Elizabeth Bonshek, Anne Clarke, Susan Davies, Jude Philp and Michael Quinnell. Museum History Journal 13 (2), 111-131.
  • ‘Receiving Guests: The Cambridge University Anthropological Expedition to Torres Strait 1898’. In M. Thomas and A. Harris (eds) Expeditionary Anthropology. London: Berghahn Books, pp. 64-94. 
  • ‘Meanings and the halt of promiscuity and objects from 19th century Central Province, PNG’. In R. Foster and K. Leacock (eds) Art|Artefact|Commodity. Buffalo: Buffalo Museum of Science.
  • ‘When Commerce, Science and Leisure Collided: The Global Trade Boom in Natural History, c.1840-1910’ (with A. Coote, A. Haynes and S. Ville). Journal of Global History 12(3): 1-21.
  • ‘Reactivating visual histories: Haddon's photographs from Mabuyag 1888,1898’ (with A. Herle and J. Dudding). Memoirs of the Queensland Museum (Culture) 8, 1: 253-288. 2015
  • ‘Krar: nineteenth century turtle-shell masks from Mabuyag collected by Samuel McFarlane’. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum (Culture) 8: 99-125. 
  • ‘Individuals in Kulkalgal history’ with Frank David, Leah Lui-Chivizhe. Journal of Australian Studies. Vol. 39, No. 3: 290-306. 2013 ‘Skirts for shirts, nets for nails’. In L. Bolton, N. Thomas, E. Bonshek, J. Adams, and B. Burt (eds). Melanesia: art and encounter. London: British Museum Press, 39-43. 
  • ‘Hedley takes a holiday: collections from Kanak people in the Australian Museum’. In S. Byrne, A. Clarke, R. Harrison, R. Torrence (eds). Unpacking the collection: networks of material and social agency in the museum. New York: Springer Science+Business Media, pp.269-288. 
  • ‘The Quest for Red’. In D. Malouf, J. Philp, A. Stephens, and M. Turner (eds) Into the Light: 150 years of cultural treasures at the University of Sydney. Melbourne: Miegunyah Press, pp. 74-115.

Jude Philp

Senior Curator, Macleay Collections