Aboriginal History Journal: Volume 37

Edited by:
ISSN (print): 0314-8769
ISSN (online): 1837-9389
Publication date: December 2013
Imprint: ANU Press

Since 1977 the journal Aboriginal History has pioneered interdisciplinary historical studies of Australian Aboriginal people's and Torres Strait Islander's interactions with non-Indigenous peoples. It has promoted publication of Indigenous oral traditions, biographies, languages, archival and bibliographic guides, previously unpublished manuscript accounts, critiques of current events, and research and reviews in the fields of anthropology, archaeology, sociology, linguistics, demography, law, geography and cultural, political and economic history. The current editor of the Aboriginal History journal is Dr Liz Conor.

Aboriginal History Inc. is a publishing organisation based in the Australian Centre for Indigenous History, Research School of Social Sciences, The Australian National University, Canberra.

For more information on Aboriginal History Inc. please visit aboriginalhistory.org.au.

This volume includes four fascinating articles each exploring indigenous history in rich, new ways. Tracey Banivanua Mar’s analysis of three moments of Indigenous protest in Tahiti, Victoria and New Zealand presents a new transnational history of indigenous political agency in the 1840s. In his study of British explorers’ encounters with Indigenous people in Queensland, Michael Davis analyses the interplay and connections between Indigenous knowledge and western ideas about the local environments. Liz Conor offers a fresh new perspective on our understandings of cross-cultural gender relations by tracing the ‘black velvet’ trope which characterised settler ideas about Aboriginal women in Northern Australia. By contrasting the alarmist colonial discourses which demonised Asian-Aboriginal relations, Conor finds that the ‘black velvet’ trope affirmed Anglo-Australian male perceptions of proprietary ownership over the female Aboriginal body. Lastly, John Maynard’s study of Percy Haslam, an amateur enthusiast of the Awabakal language and culture, provides new insights into the way in which unique individuals such as Haslam amassed important archives at a time when professional academics had little interest in Indigenous culture, which, in this instance, enabled the revitalisation of the local language.

In the Notes and Docs section Colin Dyer has contributed a new resource for researchers by translating the nineteenth-century French traveller, Eugène Delessert’s observations of Aboriginal people and culture, based on his visit to Sydney in 1844–45. Finally, Volume 37 includes Karen Hughes’ obituary of the highly-respected elder Thomas Edwin Trevorrow who was instrumental to both the Ngarrindjeri and broader South Australian communities.