WALTER JOHN ENRIGHT (d.1950)
by David Andrew Roberts
Walter John Enright of Maitland and Dungog was an enthusiastic student of Aboriginal society, past and present, undertaking some sixty years of field research in the Newcastle, lower Hunter and north-coast regions. Educated at the University of Sydney, graduating with honours in Geology in 1893, Enright was a solicitor by profession, pursing his amateur anthropological interests as a private pastime and passion. Enright's first essay described the Keeparra ceremonies of the Port Stephens Aborigines, researched with the assistance of R.H. Matthews, published by the Royal Society of NSW in 1899 (Enright 1899). He later emerged as an important contributor to Australia's anthropological literature during the first half of the twentieth century, publishing more than twenty works in respected journals such as Mankind, Oceania, Science of Man, and the Journal and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New South Wales. Many of these publications were outlines and brief observational notes. His special contribution was in the assistance he gave to many notable scholars and researchers, including Robert H. Matthews, A.P. Elkin and the Anthropological Department of the Australian Museum. He was a member of the Royal Geographical Society, the Royal Australian Historical Society, the Royal Australian Ornithologists' Union, the Numismatic Society and the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science. Enright died in 1950.
A list of Enright's publications relevant to the Newcastle-lake Macquarie district is given in the Bibliography under E.