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Symposium proceedings and audio
Barks, Birds & Billabongs: Exploring the Legacy of the 1948 American-Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem Land. 16-20 November 2009.
The book of the symposium proceedings Exploring the Legacy of the 1948 Arnhem Land Expedition was published by ANU E Press in June 2011.
In 1948 a collection of scientists, anthropologists and photographers journeyed to northern Australia for a seven-month tour of research and discovery - now regarded as ‘the last of the big expeditions’.
The American–Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem Land was front-page news at the time, but 60 years later it is virtually unknown. This lapse into obscurity was due partly to the fraught politics of Australian anthropology and animus towards its leader, the Adelaide-based writer-photographer Charles Mountford.
Promoted as a ‘friendly mission’ that would foster good relations between Australia and its most powerful wartime ally, the Expedition was sponsored by National Geographic, the Smithsonian Institution and the Australian Government. An unlikely cocktail of science, diplomacy and popular geography, the Arnhem Land Expedition put the Aboriginal cultures of the vast Arnhem Land reserve on an international stage.
Audio on demand
Most conference papers are also now available as audio on demand.Listen to Barks, Birds & Billabongs