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Frederic Slater: A genius or mischievous?

By Steven & Evan Strong


In the simplest terms it has to be one or the other. It comes down to this, either Slater is the greatest Australian archaeologist of the twentieth century or the greatest liar and con man. Many experts have stated he is merely a charlatan at best and more likely deluded and clinically mad. They pay no account to his work or interpretations, but in doing so break one cardinal academic rule. In every critique there is not one syllable quoted from any of Slater’s papers or book, none have seen his eighteen letters, in fact this academic’s work has been supposedly lost for over eighty years. That being an incontestable truth until a month ago, how could anyone pass a positive or negative judgement if no evidence is presented? That approach is universally accepted to be bad science, and should be consigned to the rubbish bin.

In what only adds to the intrigue and multiplies the contradictions is that of the dozens of articles in the press throughout the 1930’s mentioning Slater and his research, there is not one solitary word offered in doubt, ridicule or criticism. Not one of his colleagues are quoted anywhere in contesting Slater, in fact, until we came upon his notes and news of the 184 Standing Stones he was analysing began to spread, no-one knew who he was nor of his research. Not one current academic knew of the existence of any paper, report or book, but nevertheless, with nothing to directly reference critiques were quickly cobbled together. If a Slater timeline was compiled it would be broken into three sections, pre–World War 2 is all complimentary, after the war until the Standing Stone site was rediscovered, there is a total constructed vacuum, and since then he has transformed into a mischievous, somewhat deranged charlatan.

Image by Richard Patterson

But now, with all his written work, which totals over one thousand pages, being sent to us, the other side of this Original equation is available to accept or refute. Now with his writings and research recovered, along with the semantics and structure of the First Language ever spoken on this planet, we can finally pass a judgement as to whether Frederic Slater is indeed a genius as we believe, or merely a mischievous rogue as many allege.

The Critic’s Hit List

The opening gambit in all dismissals of Slater’s credibility and integrity begin with concerns of his erratic verging on mad character. His family were approached recently, and the feedback was disparaging in his eccentricity, but equally, they stressed he did know a lot about the Original people and their culture. Nevertheless, what dominated the reports on his integrity was someone who was more than a touch loopy. At worst even if this ‘mad scientist’ stereotype is fitting, of itself, this has no bearing on the truthfulness of the person under scrutiny.

What also needs to be considered into any attempt in determining the truthfulness and capacities of a person none met, is that how many experts before World War 2 were talking about sky-heroes coming from space and were not born of the earth, how many were so openly empathetic and in awe of Original history and were insistent that ancient Egyptians came to Australia in a sacred pilgrimage? The answer is none, and anyone who did hold to these beliefs would certainly be ridiculed by those close to him as being odd and radical. Traits like these are never fostered during times of war and the immediate grief that follows.

The second condemnation on the list of Slater’s faux-pas is that yes, he was the President of the Australian Archaeological Educational and Research Society, but it had barely a dozen members and therefore, is of no consequence and can be summarily dismissed. By who? At that time there was not one faculty of archaeology or anthropology in any Australian University, the very first faculty to study anthropology under the direction Professor Elkin began at Sydney University in 1939. Before that nearly all Australian archaeology was volunteer, nearly always by highly educated members, but as for actual Australian home-grown and qualified archaeologists, they were none. That being the empty truth, to get double figures in a Sydney meeting is a good roll up as I doubt within the entire population at that time those with such skills and passion would number past three figures.

Next up, Slater had no credibility, he wrote no paper and had no support or standing amongst his colleagues. In summation, these omissions is the base line of a feature article appearing in the Queensland leading newspaper, The Courier Mail. In refuting the authenticity of Slater’s investigation into the Standing Stones, they posted a photograph of a person who does look somewhat unconventional in appearance with flaring eyes and a wide thin waxed moustache, and is named by the paper to be Frederic Slater. The problem is that it just isn’t him, the sceptical academics who interviewed the family were given a photo of Slater which they have used many times since. But the inconvenient truth is that he looks so conservative and conventional in dress and presence, so a touch of poetic license was used by the paper to strengthen their denials, but alas this is not the only example of outright misleading fabrication.

The Wrong Frederic Slater!!!!

The Real Frederic Slater

We have a copy of the very important paper on a highly significant site called Burragurra, and it is co-authored by Slater and a highly respected academic, whose photograph is found in the halls of Sydney University. It was published in 1938 and we have press numerous clippings of this paper being read out and received enthusiastically at the 1938 Australian and New Zealand Science Conference. So, we then knew of one paper, now we know of many more that have come our way, and that means it is not only the photo that is incorrect and badly researched, so too is their false claim he never wrote a scientific paper.

As for the implication he had no support or publicity, that is again manifestly untrue, in fact, of the dozens of press clippings we have found via Erik Bower’s diligence in trawling through micro-fiche press of pre-World-War 2, not one critical or even doubting word is printed. Half of page 5 in the premiere Adelaide daily paper has Slater referring to his acquired manual of the First Language spoken on the planet, of Egyptians coming to Australia as learners and students, and so he continues. But throughout this excerpt and all others never is an alternative expert with a contradicting viewpoint interviewed or cited. It is always the same, whether the Standing Stones site or one of his many other activities, his work was both worthy of publication and always above criticism.

What also can be easily compiled is the large number of highly educated volunteers who gave their time, energy and assistance when Slater was on site or in research. If he was as demented and irrational as present-day critiques allege, why is it so many intelligent academics and professional men willingly worked alongside, were publicly associated with him and allowed him to name them as part of his team? I suppose it is possible they are just as unhinged, but their elevated standing and the continued respect they received suggests the opposite.

Freedom of the Press, but Which one?

In concluding Slater’s background check and review of the condemnation by The Courier Mail, we believe what was reported in the free press when Slater was alive, in particular a section with quotation marks attributed to him, is not only the final word, but the truth as it was then and still is now.

“As translator of the Aboriginal writings on the rocks, as revealed in the colossal picturegrams at the Wollombi. I am pleased with the publicity that has been given to the paper read before the Science Congress. I think, however, that due credit is due to the explorers who did the field work and discovered them and sent the drawings to me to elucidate. It is more than a year ago that the first of the picturegrams was discovered by a party led by Mr. W. J. Enright, solicitor, of Maitland, former President of the Anthropological Society of Sydney, and well known for his work in collaboration with other scientists. With him was Mr. Roy H. Goddard, chartered accountant, an authority on Australian Aboriginal artifacts, who did the drawings from which the translations have been made. Mr. Goddard is one of the delegates of the Sydney Anthropological Society at the Science Congress. The other member of the party was Mr. Carlyle Greenwell, an architect of Sydney, who is at present in London.

I submit that the work of these explorers-archaeologists is the proper word-has brought to light confirmation of the origin of our native race … and that our natives are survivors of the original race.”(1)

When it comes to the 184 Standing Stones, plus the thousands of stones that made up the other stone monuments nearby, once again it was another person of high social and professional standing that compiled photographs, drawings and relevant information. And as before with other associates, his vocation affords a high degree of authority, as Mr. Fordham was the Principal of the Brunswick Valley Primary School. He spent over a year using up every available non-teaching moment on the site. In combination, Slater only worked with men from the highest levels of mainstream society, and this only proves once again how tenuous and incorrect these later-day denials and alleged character deficiencies are.

Then The Walls and Standing Stones Came Tumbling Down

This selected press clipping is dated January 15, 1939, but by the end of that year a World War had begun, and Slater’s reputation was in tatters. He was shunned by all academic and political circles and all that he had done and interpreted was destroyed, hidden or forgotten.

That same Wollumbi paper that was so well received in 1937 was “CANCELLED” by the Department of Public and Tropical Medicine, based at Sydney University, on the 8th of December 1938. One could ask, what expertise in Australian archaeology resides within a faculty that specialises in medicine, and the answer would be at best marginal and most likely much less. Nevertheless, the paper has a dated disclaimer of “cancelled” stamped on the front page.

It becomes increasing clear when reading his hand-written instructions and comments addressed to Fordham, that those in control are turning on Slater and in particular the site he was so focused upon. Slater was very concerned that not only had the Government authorities threatened the owners of the farm by letter, but they had also personally visited the farm owner. So outraged was Slater by the devious nature of this intervention he reminded Fordham not to trust anyone who represented the Australian Museum or Sydney University, and stated he would personally contact and remonstrate with those government appointed officials who came to the farmer’s door.

Further on in his correspondence his mood becomes more sombre, and he changes tact knowing those in control are conspiring against him and this sacred site. In response he takes the pro-active step of contacting the Carnegie Institute seeking funding and gravitas. This initial inquiry bears positive fruit, then the war begins, and that positive path/solution evaporates. Not long after the farmer relents under the pressure and threats of eviction and tells his 15-year-old son (who I met and spoke to often before he gave me permission to do archaeology for two days) to start up the tractor and destroy the site. Whether by coincidence or government incentives, that same farm which had a sizeable mortgage held by the CBC Bank as the war begins, is fully repaid by the farmer and in his possession months after the site was destroyed.

A Reality Check

Slater was not mad nor blighted with any psychological disorder. He was respected and assisted by many of his peers, he did write quite a few archaeological papers and liaised with people of high character and intelligence. Most importantly, he had in his possession a First Language reference manual compiled by Eliza Dunlop in 1830. She was the wife of the first magistrate at Wollombi and won the trust of the local tribal leader who shared with her the words, symbols and picturegrams that make up the very first language spoken on the planet. Slater was given this extremely important document by his colleague Goddard, who is the grandson of Dunlop and understandably did not want to step so far outside the academia perimeter fences, while Slater was more adventurous and bolder.

We had assumed all his work was sent to his London publisher in 1939 and the publishing house was bombed with his work destroyed. But no, a second copy of his book, Scribes of the Stone Age, plus all of his papers remained in this country hidden for so long. The drawback when in denial and hiding the truth is that it can only be a short-term project, and they are now back to state their case. However, before beginning any analysis of the credibility of Slater’s interpretations, we had to first clear away the obstacles and distortions. With the coast cleared, it is time to introduce snippets of Slater’s research into ancient original Lore and pre-history.

An Aperitif

This selection of quotes is taken from the first introductory chapter and provides parameters and some sensational settings that sit well outside the reach of all accepted historical accounts. At the most basic level we are told by the experts that humanity began its ascension on the bottom rung, grunting and dribbling, then inching upwards and step by step we became more civilised and intelligent. Not according to Slater, in fact, he reverses the process so much so that pinnacle upon which the human journey began has never been emulated since.

From Slater’s perspective “man in the beginning of time had a higher sense of his duty to man and the development of life-which to him was the soul-than can be found in the cultured nations of 2,000 years ago or the nations of today.”(2) He is adamant that “there never has been a time since mankind came into the world that civilisation had not a place in his philosophy of life.”(3)

And how could Slater know of such controversial historical truths, it is simply because “primordial man could write”(4) and in Australia this took place through what he called “picturegrams.”(5) Unfortunately, the engravings and paintings in Australia “have been the despair of anthropologists and archaeologists. All know they are records, but the method of deciphering they failed to discover.”(6) Through the access he was given to Dunlop’s records of the First Language he was able to “open the picture book,”(7) and be able to correctly read and understand the “picture language of an ancient people.”(8) And as an added bonus, Slater was willing to share this arcane wisdom as “the key will be found in these pages.”(9)

Make no mistake this is not just the source of language and writing Slater is dealing with, but includes all elements that make up this concept of “civilisation”(10) Slater often refers to. He believes that it was in Australia that the first “base of religion” originated. “Their simple faith-they knew the Light of Heaven as the Soul of the Earth-was the foundation of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the philosophy of Kon-fu-tse of China, the religion of the Akkadians …”(11)

The mainstream version of human habitation in Australia is locked into beginning 50-60,000 years ago. Slater would stridently object and multiply by a factor of no less than three. His book, “The Scribes of the Stone Age, carries the world’s history back 150,000 years at least.”(12) All of these observations given by Slater are not personal musings or predictions but based solely upon what he interpreted when examining these “picturegrams”(13) and symbols. Because he actually had “the method of deciphering”(14) in the book he was given, to find the correct meaning was simply a matter of compare, contrast and match.

Twenty Pages in and Over Six Hundred to go

This is meant to be the opening gambit. Primarily my aim in this initial report on Slater’s written research was to clean up the drama, distractions and critiques, then give a very small sampling of what Slater had interpreted. Somewhere further on in his book is the “key”(15) that can unlock the wisdom of the ages. As Slater stated, “archaeologists have little idea of the wealth of records awaiting the investigator in Australia.”(16) But if you do have the key to unlock these precious secrets, we have no doubt that many more new and ancient ideas will start to bubble to the surface.

It comes down to one of two alternatives; this man is either a genius well ahead of his time or is downright mischievous and culturally corrupt. The only way to decide is to read his work first, then pass judgement, and so far, not one critic or detractor has done this. What that means is that he could be right in some or all of what he claims, and knowing that all accounts about Eliza Dunlop concede she was a writer of Original songs and language, that she did win the trust and respect of the local tribe in very early settler days, it is quite possible Slater has her work and is a genius.

As to whether the rest of the content in this book provides the standard of proof required, well this manuscript was accepted for publication in London. The editors and academics who read his manuscript would clearly recognise the sensational nature of his claims, that they agreed to publish indicates that they were satisfied with the rigour of argument and convincing evidence assembled.

We will be sharing much more, but with discretion, particularly when dealing with sensitive issues relating to First Language, as some fundamental base-words are very sacred, powerful and should only be vocalised during ceremony or rituals. What I do know through reading his eighteen letters and one remaining archaeological paper is that up ahead in those six hundred plus pages there will be mention a plenty of Egyptians in Australia seeking spiritual and magical tuition (the next chapter is called Pharaohs of the Southern Land), Aliens not born from this planet landing and sharing, that Australians Originals are the first race and literally everything written about pre-Cook Australia is wrong.

Beyond that we suspect there will so much more wisdom and reversals in his book and papers, and the chances are high it will be so so needed in these deceitful fearful days, where the truth is taking such a shameful battering.


(1): Frederic Slater, 23rd Jan., 1937. “Aboriginal Rock Carvings – To The Editor of the Herald”, Sydney Morning Herald, 14(n).

(2): Frederic Slater, 1938.” Scribes of the Stone Age”, (Chapter 1).

(3) – (16): Ibid.

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