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Labour Lines and Colonial Power »

Indigenous and Pacific Islander Labour Mobility in Australia

Publication date: August 2019
Today, increases of so-called ‘low-skilled’ and temporary labour migrations of Pacific Islanders to Australia occur alongside calls for Indigenous people to ‘orbit’ from remote communities in search of employment opportunities. These trends reflect the persistent neoliberalism within contemporary Australia, as well as the effects of structural dynamics within the global agriculture and resource extractive industries. They also unfold within the context of long and troubled histories of Australian colonialism, and of complexes of race, labour and mobility that reverberate through that history and into the present. The contemporary labour of Pacific Islanders in the horticultural industry has sinister historical echoes in the ‘blackbirding’ of South Sea Islanders to work on sugar plantations in New South Wales and Queensland in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as well as in wider patterns of labour, trade and colonisation across the Pacific region. The antecedents of contemporary Indigenous labour mobility, meanwhile, include forms of unwaged and highly exploitative labouring on government settlements, missions, pastoral stations and in the pearling industry. For both Pacific Islanders and Indigenous people, though, labour mobilities past and present also include agentive and purposeful migrations, reflective of rich cultures and histories of mobility, as well as of forces that compel both movement and immobility. Drawing together historians, anthropologists, sociologists and geographers, this book critically explores experiences of labour mobility by Indigenous peoples and Pacific Islanders, including Māori, within Australia. Locating these new expressions of labour mobility within historical patterns of movement, contributors interrogate the contours and continuities of Australian coloniality in its diverse and interconnected expressions.

ANU Historical Journal II: Number 1 »

Publication date: May 2019
The first issue of the revived ANU Historical Journal (ANUHJ) follows in the footsteps of its predecessor, bringing together the writing and research of several generations of Australian historians in a single volume. It begins with seven short memoirs from the editors and contributors of the ANUHJ (1964–87), which together offer an extraordinary window on to the student history of the ANU in the 1960s and 1970s. Following the memoirs, the articles in this issue consider the symbolism of the early Aboriginal Tent Embassy; Louisa Lawson’s involvement in Australia’s suffrage movement through her magazine The Dawn; the changing meanings of barn swallow migration in Europe; how the sexuality of Frederick the Great can shine further light on our understanding of Prussian masculinity; the recent public apologies of two prominent leaders of the Lebanese Civil War: Assad Shaftari and Samir Geagea; evangelical humanitarian discourse in the Australian colonies; and the cultural and religious diversity engraved on one Sicilian tombstone. Elsewhere, contributors contemplate the place of national history amid the rise of transnational and global history, and review some of the leading Australian titles that were published last year.

In Search of the Never-Never »

Mickey Dewar: Champion of History Across Many Genres

Edited by: Ann McGrath
Publication date: April 2019
Mickey Dewar made a profound contribution to the history of the Northern Territory, which she performed across many genres. She produced high‑quality, memorable and multi-sensory histories, including the Cyclone Tracy exhibition at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory and the reinterpretation of Fannie Bay Gaol. Informed by a great love of books, her passion for history was infectious. As well as offering three original chapters that appraise her work, this edited volume republishes her first book, In Search of the Never-Never. In Dewar’s comprehensive and incisive appraisal of the literature of the Northern Territory, she provides brilliant, often amusing insights into the ever-changing representations of a region that has featured so large in the Australian popular imagination.

Aboriginal History Journal: Volume 42 »

Edited by: Ingereth Macfarlane
Publication date: December 2018
In this volume, Peter Sutton provides a survey of the articles published by linguist Dr Luise Hercus (1926–2018) in Aboriginal History, honouring the contribution she has made to the journal since its inception. The seven articles this year highlight the wealth of sources that feed into historical research of Indigenous Australia. The role of performance in the events organised by the National Aborigines Day Observance Committee (NADOC) in 1957–67 in Sydney shows up the contest between state assimilationist goals and Indigenous participants’ insistence on distinction, continuity and survival (Jonathon Bollen and Anne Brewster). The then radical agenda – in a protectionist policy regime – of the advocacy group, the Aborigines’ Protection League in South Australia in the 1920s–30s, is examined in a detailed study of the group’s campaigns and campaigners (Rob Foster). A picture of colonial reception of Aboriginal performance and the public assertion of local Aboriginal cultural priorities in 1893 Darwin is developed in the historical contextualisation of a collection of Aboriginal artefacts found in the Marischal Museum, Aberdeen (Gaye Sculthorpe). A nuanced analysis of the relationship between the Catholic Benedictine Mission at New Norcia and the Western Australian Native Welfare Department draws on the correspondence between the Abbot of New Norcia and A.O. Neville (Elicia Taylor). A large body of reader responses to a recent online article on the deep history of Aboriginal Australia provides a way to map the strengths and weaknesses in the general Australian public’s apprehension of that long history (Lynette Russell and Billy Griffiths). A spatial history argues against the concept of ‘fringe camps’ and for a pattern of demonstrable continuities between precolonial, colonial and recent Aboriginal people’s favoured camp places and the locations of urban contemporary park spaces in Brisbane and townships in south-eastern Queensland (Ray Kerkhove). In the format of an interview, the themes concerning the writing of Aboriginal history and contemporary political debates that are developed in Tim Rowse’s recent book Indigenous and Other Australians since 1901 (2017) are explored (Miranda Johnson and Tim Rowse). 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.

The Lives of Stories »

Three Aboriginal-Settler Friendships

Authored by: Emma Dortins
Publication date: December 2018
The Lives of Stories traces three stories of Aboriginal–settler friendships that intersect with the ways in which Australians remember founding national stories, build narratives for cultural revival, and work on reconciliation and self-determination. These three stories, which are still being told with creativity and commitment by storytellers today, are the story of James Morrill’s adoption by Birri-Gubba people and re-adoption 17 years later into the new colony of Queensland, the story of Bennelong and his relationship with Governor Phillip and the Sydney colonists, and the story of friendship between Wiradjuri leader Windradyne and the Suttor family. Each is an intimate story about people involved in relationships of goodwill, care, adoptive kinship and mutual learning across cultures, and the strains of maintaining or relinquishing these bonds as they took part in the larger events that signified the colonisation of Aboriginal lands by the British. Each is a story in which cross-cultural understanding and misunderstanding are deeply embedded, and in which the act of storytelling itself has always been an engagement in cross-cultural relations. The Lives of Stories reflects on the nature of story as part of our cultural inheritance, and seeks to engage the reader in becoming more conscious of our own effect as history-makers as we retell old stories with new meanings in the present, and pass them on to new generations.

Indigenous Mobilities »

Across and Beyond the Antipodes

Edited by: Rachel Standfield
Publication date: June 2018
This edited collection focuses on Aboriginal and Māori travel in colonial contexts. Authors in this collection examine the ways that Indigenous people moved and their motivations for doing so. Chapters consider the cultural aspects of travel for Indigenous communities on both sides of the Tasman. Contributors examine Indigenous purposes for mobility, including for community and individual economic wellbeing, to meet other Indigenous or non-Indigenous peoples and experience different cultures, and to gather knowledge or experience, or to escape from colonial intrusion. ‘This volume is the first to take up three challenges in histories of Indigenous mobilities. First, it analyses both mobility and emplacement. Challenging stereotypes of Indigenous people as either fixed or mobile, chapters deconstruct issues with ramifications for contemporary politics and analyses of Indigenous society and of rural and national histories. As such, it is a welcome intervention in a wide range of urgent issues. Second, by examining Indigenous peoples in both Australia and New Zealand, this volume is an innovative step in removing the artificial divisions that have arisen from “national” histories. Third, the collection connects the experiences of colonised Indigenous peoples with those of their colonisers, shifting the long-held stereotypes of Indigenous powerlessness. Chapters then convincingly demonstrate the agency of colonised peoples in shaping the actions and the mobility itself of the colonisers. While the volume overall is aimed at opening up new research questions, and so invites later and even more innovative work, this volume will stand as an important guide to the directions such future work might take.’ — Heather Goodall, Professor Emerita, UTS

The Contest for Aboriginal Souls »

European missionary agendas in Australia

Authored by: Regina Ganter
Publication date: May 2018
This book covers the missionary activity in Australia conducted by non-English speaking missionaries from Catholic and Protestant mission societies from its beginnings to the end of the mission era. It looks through the eyes of the missionaries and their helpers, as well as incorporating Indigenous perspectives and offering a balanced assessment of missionary endeavour in Australia, attuned to the controversies that surround mission history. It means neither to condemn nor praise, but rather to understand the various responses of Indigenous communities, the intentions of missionaries, the agendas of the mission societies and the many tensions besetting the mission endeavour. It explores a common commitment to the supernatural and the role of intermediaries like local diplomats and evangelists from the Pacific Islands and Philippines, and emphasises the strong role played by non-English speakers in the transcultural Australian mission effort. This book is a companion to the website German Missionaries in Australia – A web-directory of intercultural encounters. The web-directory provides detailed accounts of Australian missions staffed with German speakers. The book reads laterally across the different missions and produces a completely different type of knowledge about missions. The book and its accompanying website are based on a decade of research ranging across mission archives with foreign-language sources that have not previously been accessed for a historiography of Australian missions. ‘A remarkable intellectual achievement, compelling reading.’ — Dr Niel Gunson ‘The range of knowledge on display here is very impressive indeed.’ — Professor Peter Monteath

Teaching ‘Proper’ Drinking? »

Clubs and pubs in Indigenous Australia

Authored by: Maggie Brady
Publication date: December 2017
In Teaching ‘Proper’ Drinking?, the author brings together three fields of scholarship: socio-historical studies of alcohol, Australian Indigenous policy history and social enterprise studies. The case studies in the book offer the first detailed surveys of efforts to teach responsible drinking practices to Aboriginal people by installing canteens in remote communities, and of the purchase of public hotels by Indigenous groups in attempts both to control sales of alcohol and to create social enterprises by redistributing profits for the community good. Ethnographies of the hotels are examined through the analytical lens of the Swedish ‘Gothenburg’ system of municipal hotel ownership. The research reveals that the community governance of such social enterprises is not purely a matter of good administration or compliance with the relevant liquor legislation. Their administration is imbued with the additional challenges posed by political contestation, both within and beyond the communities concerned. ‘The idea that community or government ownership and management of a hotel or other drinking place would be a good way to control drinking and limit harm has been commonplace in many Anglophone and Nordic countries, but has been less recognised in Australia. Maggie Brady’s book brings together the hidden history of such ideas and initiatives in Australia … In an original and wide-ranging set of case studies, Brady shows that success in reducing harm has varied between communities, largely depending on whether motivations to raise revenue or to reduce harm are in control.’ — Professor Robin Room, Director, Centre for Alcohol Policy Research, La Trobe University In the Media Read the Alice Spring News article: ‘Proper’ drinking: elusive goal but how hard have we tried? Awards Shortlisted – 2019 Chief Minister's Northern Territory History Book Award

Aboriginal History Journal: Volume 41 »

Edited by: Ingereth Macfarlane, Liz Conor
Publication date: December 2017
The articles in Volume 41 bring to light historical sources from the colonial frontier in Tasmania (Nicholas Brodie and Kristyn Harman) and South Australia (Skye Kirchauff) to provoke reassessments of colonial attitudes and expectations. Karen Hughes brings into focus little-known, intimate aspects of Indigenous women’s experience with African American servicemen on the World War II Australian home front. Diana Young’s study of accounts of Pitjantjatjara women’s careful productions in the Ernabella craft rooms in the mid-twentieth century deepens our understanding of a relatively neglected aspect of the art history of ‘first generation, postcontact Indigenous art-making among Australian Western Desert peoples’. Nikita Vanderbyl explores records of tourists’ visits to Aboriginal reserves in the late 1800s and early 1900s, focusing on the emotive aspects of the visits, and making the links between such tourism and colonialism. Janice Newton provides a close examination of the cross-cultural signs implicated in a documented ceremonial performance in early Port Phillip. Heather Burke, Lynley Wallis and their collaborators compare a reconstructed stone building in Richmond, Queensland, with other reputedly fortified structures, and find that the historical and structural evidence for this interpretation are equivocal, pointing to imaginaries of the violent frontier as much as tangible experience. 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.

The Archaeology of Rock Art in Western Arnhem Land, Australia »

Publication date: November 2017
Western Arnhem Land, in the Top End of Australia’s Northern Territory, has a rich archaeological landscape, ethnographic record and body of rock art that displays an astonishing array of imagery on shelter walls and ceilings. While the archaeology goes back to the earliest period of Aboriginal occupation of the continent, the rock art represents some of the richest, most diverse and visually most impressive regional assemblages anywhere in the world. To better understand this multi-dimensional cultural record, The Archaeology of Rock Art in Western Arnhem Land, Australia focuses on the nature and antiquity of the region’s rock art as revealed by archaeological surveys and excavations, and the application of novel analytical methods. This volume also presents new findings by which to rethink how Aboriginal peoples have socially engaged in and with places across western Arnhem Land, from the north to the south, from the plains to the spectacular rocky landscapes of the plateau. The dynamic nature of Arnhem Land rock art is explored and articulated in innovative ways that shed new light on the region’s deep time Aboriginal history.