‘During 1931, Professor A.P. Elkin, then Professor of Anthropology at Sydney University, visited the north-west Kimberley region of Western Australia to make a field study of the Aboriginal cultures thereabouts. He came upon a strange tribe of Aborigines whom he soon found had never before seen a white man. Not only was the professor astounded when tribal leaders greeted him with secret Masonic hand signs, he was struck by the startlingly Semitic features present in the natives.
‘Prof. Elkin soon discovered that the natives worshipped the Sun, that they also had an Earth Mother and Rainbow Serpent cult, and that they practiced mummification of the dead. He recorded these and many other customs including the languages of the region. Only later did he discover that many of the words spoken by the tribes were of Egyptian origin.
‘These findings led Prof. Elkin to conclude that at some time in the distant past the Aboriginal culture of the north-west Kimberley had been influenced by visitors from outside Australia – that is, by visitors from the ancient Middle East, notably Egyptians’ [Gilroy 1995: pp. 248-9]
Could this be true? Could one of Australia’s most eminent anthropologists have discovered such convincing evidence of contact with ancient Egyptian sea-farers? And who kept it secret for half a century? What was the story?
In this post I want to look at the claim made by Gilroy about Elkin, but also mentioned by other explorers and travellers that they had met and exchanged Masonic hand gestures with Aboriginal people. It has some currency among secret visitor claims, and gets repeated often enough on the internet to merit discussing. Here are some other examples.
Atlantis Rising Forum – posted 10 May 2004
RBG Street Scholar – posted 25 Feb 2007
Above Top Secret Forum – posted 10 March 2012