This thesis explores the relationship between Indigenous knowledge and Australian settler perceptions of medicinal practice by examining the manufacturing and use of dugong oil. It tracks the growth of the dugong industry in Moreton Bay in the mid-nineteenth century, before analysing the way in which dugong oil made its way through the hands of medical practitioners into newspaper advertisements and exhibitions from Australia to Europe. At this time, Australia was following Britain in the move to professionalise medicine despite a continuing popularity of heterodox and home treatments. Discoveries‘ of new medicinal remedies by medical professionals blur the lines of orthodox and unorthodox medicine and add another dimension to this history. Specifically, the case of dugong oil, learned from the Indigenous inhabitants, shows the interconnectedness of the dominant and the minority stories, shedding new light on the history of medicine, products, exchange and ideas in the age of empire.
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