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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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‘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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Locating the expedition politically: 1948 American–Australian Relations

Professor the Hon Kim Beazley AC

Barks, Birds and Billabongs symposium, 17 November 2009

Kim Beazley situates the 1948 Expedition in the context of postwar international relations.

conflict, indigenous, politics

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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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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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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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Demand responsive services and culturally sustainable enterprise in remote Aboriginal settings

Paul Memmott, University of Queensland

Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies conference, 10 November 2009

In a good-practice study of where the Dreamtime meets the market, Paul Memmott discusses the Myuma Group (of three Aboriginal corporations) in far west Queensland, which successfully manages the interplay between demand for and supply of service.

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economy, indigenous, industry

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