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‘A Robinson Crusoe in Arnhem Land …’: Howell Walker, National Geographic, and the 1948 Arnhem Land Expedition

Mark Jenkins, writer, editor and historian

Barks, Birds and Billabongs symposium, 17 November 2009

Mark Jenkins explores the role played by the Expedition’s primary American sponsor – National Geographic – and its intrepid representative, Howell Walker.

exploration, indigenous, photography, place, science

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Unpacking the testimony of Gerald Blitner: An Indigenous perspective on the Arnhem Land Expedition

Martin Thomas, University of Sydney

Barks, Birds and Billabongs symposium, 17 November 2009

Gerald Blitner served as a guide and translator for the Expedition. Here, Martin Thomas explores his oral testimony alongside archival evidence, including observations recorded by the Expedition party, to unpack their intercultural exchanges.

indigenous, media, science

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Inside Mountford’s tent: paint, politics and paperwork

Dr Philip Jones, South Australian Museum

Barks, Birds and Billabongs symposium, 17 November 2009

Charles Mountford lacked formal credentials as an anthropologist or scientist, yet he led the largest and most complex scientific expedition to remote Australia. Dr Philip Jones explores Mountford’s contribution and the controversy around his leadership.

art, collection, indigenous, politics, science

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Terra incognito no more – reflecting on change

Robyn Williams, science journalist, presenter and author

Barks, Birds and Billabongs symposium, 16 November 2009

At the time of this ‘last great expedition’, many plants, animals, aspects of human culture were unknown to science. Robyn Williams launches the symposium Barks, Birds and Billabongs with a broad-ranging talk on science since 1948.

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collection, indigenous, politics

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Unfair pay: Tracing tracker wages in New South Wales, 1862–1950

Michael Bennett, historian, Native Title Service Corp

Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies conference, 10 November 2009

Hundreds of Aboriginal men were employed as police trackers from 1862. They enjoyed a regular income, but the work was risky and the pay and conditions terrible. Michael Bennett describes the system and makes the case for a compensatory scheme.

economy, indigenous, work

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Options for developing a natural resource-based economy in Arnhem Land: Payments for environmental services

Nanni Concu, Australian National University

Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies conference, 10 November 2009

Payments for Environmental Services (PES) are used to simultaneously tackle poverty and environmental degradation. Using data from two field sites, Nanni Concu talks about the potential of PES to promote a natural-resource-based economy in Arnhem Land.

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economy, environment, indigenous

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The 1968–69 introduction of equal wages for Aboriginal pastoral workers in the Kimberley

Fiona Skyring, consultant historian

Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies conference, 10 November 2009

Challenging the idea that equal wages caused mass eviction and unemployment for Aboriginal people, Fiona Skyring looks at other factors such as how government investigations in 1965 and 1966 discouraged station owners from appropriating pension payments.

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economy, indigenous, industry, work

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Workfare, welfare and the hybrid economy: The Western Arrernte in Central Australia

Diane Austin-Broos, University of Sydney

Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies conference, 10 November 2009

A self-proclaimed ‘hybrid economy skeptic’, Diane Austin-Broos offers some reasons why the Western Arrernte’s Community Development Employment Project became ‘welfare’ rather than ‘workfare.’

economy, indigenous, work

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Social and cultural factors in remote area Indigenous enterprise development

Deirdre Tedmanson (paper co-authored by Bobby Banerjee)

Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies conference, 10 November 2009

Deirdre Tedmanson uses Foucault’s notion of ‘governmentality’ to explore impediments to enterprise development in ‘remote’ homelands and communities on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara lands of South Australia, and ways of overcoming them.

economy, indigenous

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From barter to award wages: Aboriginal labour and Methodist missions in Arnhem Land

Gwenda Baker, Monash University

Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies conference, 10 November 2009

Gwenda Baker traces the history of Aboriginal labour on Methodist missions in Arnhem Land, where award wages led to fewer jobs. While resenting the low wages, some Aborigines see their work on the missions as a highlight of enterprise and achievement.

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economy, indigenous, work

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