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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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‘Bastard barks’: A gift from the 1948 Arnhem Land expedition

Adjunct Professor Margo Neale, National Museum of Australia

Barks, Birds and Billabongs symposium, 17 November 2009

Margo Neale explores Charles Mountford’s collection of works on paper, locating them as a useful starting point for reassessing Mountford’s reputation as a collector of Aboriginal art and stories.

art, indigenous

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The responsibilities of leadership: The records of Charles P Mountford

Suzy Russell (paper co-authored by Denise Chapman), State Library of South Australia

Barks, Birds and Billabongs symposium, 17 November 2009

Suzy Russell describes the Mountford–Sheard collection at the State Library of South Australia, shares insights recorded by Bessie Mountford in a journal she kept during the Expedition, and considers some Expedition controversies.

collection, indigenous

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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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A history of the 1948 expedition

Dr Sally K May, Australian National University

Barks, Birds and Billabongs symposium, 17 November 2009

Sally K May provides a historical overview of the Expedition, its planning and execution.

collection, indigenous, politics

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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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Policy mismatch and Aboriginal art centres: The tension between economic independence and community development

Gretchen Stolte, Australian National University

Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies conference, 10 November 2009

Gretchen Stolte talks about Aboriginal art centres, arguing that a centre should be funded in accordance with its engagement with the community, because the more community-building it does, the less money it can make.

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economy, indigenous

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Before the mission station: The incorporation of settlers into a seasonal economy

John White, Australian National University

Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies conference, 10 November 2009

Exploring intercultural relations in the period of pastoral expansion, John White says that working relationships based on reciprocity enabled Aboriginal people to factor settlers into their seasonal movements and carve out a niche in the settler economy.

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colonial, economy, indigenous

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Wrap-up and discussion

Ian Keen, anthropologist

Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies conference, 10 November 2009

Ian Keen provides a brief, broad view of the discussions over the two-day conference, its themes and its significance, covering hybrid models, empirical studies and the links between research and practice.

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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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