Skip to content
  • 9am–5pm
  • Free general admission
  • Shop
Mike Smith is a pioneering desert archaeologist, author and Senior Research Fellow at the Museum’s Research Centre. In this series, distinguished archaeologists, historians, artists and museum staff reflected on and celebrated Mike Smith’s 30 years of groundbreaking work.

A tribute to Dr Mike Smith AM

An introduction to the work of pioneering desert archaeologist Mike Smith by Andrew Sayers, Director of the National Museum of Australia, followed by a reading by Mark O’Connor of his poem ‘Desert Archaeology’.
Open player in a new tab
Presenters: Mark O'Connor and Andrew Sayers

Inventing Australia’s desert archaeology

A tribute to pioneering desert archaeologist Mike Smith. Speakers reflect on their time teaching and working with Mike, and the developing field of desert archaeology in Australia.
Open player in a new tab
Presenters: Barry Cundy, Giles Hamm, John Mulvaney, June Ross and Chris Turney

A portrait of Mike Smith

Artist Jo Bertini talks about her portrait of her friend and colleague, desert archaeologist Mike Smith. She also outlines Mike’s great passion for desserts, and presents a book of dessert recipes compiled by his friends.

A stratigraphy of an archaeologist

Mike Smith’s former colleagues investigate the layers of his career, discussing digs through which Mike developed his knowledge of Australia's past, and how museums have contributed to mainstream knowledge of desert archaeology.
Open player in a new tab
Presenters: Philip Jones, Peter Veth, Anne McConnell and Dick Kimber

Paintings by Mandy Martin

Artist Mandy Martin reflects on her work with desert archaeologist Mike Smith. Mandy and Mike worked together in multi-disciplinary teams studying the Puritjarra rock shelter in the Northern Territory and Paruku, or Lake Gregory, in north-eastern Australia.
Open player in a new tab
Presenters: Mandy Martin

Museums, Mike and more

This session reflected on the speakers’ travels by camels and in four-wheel drives as well as work with Mike Smith in deserts and museums and the partnerships Mike formed with artists and Indigenous communities.
Open player in a new tab
Presenters: Jay Arthur, Tom Griffiths, Diana James, Libby Robin and Allan Whiting

Photographs by Peter Eve

Photographer Peter Eve reflects on an expedition into the remote southern Simpson Desert that he shared with archaeologist Mike Smith. Peter praises Mike’s ability to bring the buried landscapes and humanities of deep time to life.

Open mike session

Peter Stanley chairs an open mike session as a tribute to Mike Smith. Short contributions were made from Calogero Santoro, a colleague from Chile, other colleagues and students who have worked with Mike, with the day finishing with comments by Mike Smith.
Open player in a new tab
Presenters: Jim Bowler, Isabel McBryde, Sue Castrique, Manik Dataar, Marg Friedel, Ingreth McFarlane, Ann Robb, Calogero Santoro, Mike Smith, Peter Stanley, John Wilkinson and Alan Williams
Return to Top