2010

Authors

  • Dale Wayne Kerwin Dale Wayne Kerwin

This thesis recognises the great significance of 'walkabout' as a major trading tradition whereby the Dreaming paths and songlines formed major ceremonial routes along which goods and knowledge flowed. These became the trade routes that criss-crossed Australia and transported religion and cultural values. The thesis also highlights the valuable contribution Aboriginal people made in assisting the European explorers, surveyors, and stockmen to open the country for colonisation, and it explores the interface between Aboriginal possession of the Australian continent and European colonisation and appropriation. Instead of positing a radical disjunction between cultural competencies 'before' and 'after', the thesis considers how European colonisation of Australia (as with other colonial settings) appropriated Aboriginal competence in terms of the landscape: by tapping into culinary and medicinal knowledge, water and resource knowledge, hunting, food collecting and path-finding. As a consequence of this assistance, Aboriginal Dreaming tracks and trading paths also became the routes and roads of colonisers. This dissertation seeks to reinstate Aboriginal people into the historical landscape of Australia. From its beginnings as a footnote in Australian history, Aboriginal society, culture, and history has moved into the preamble, but it is now time to inscribe Aboriginal people firmly in the body of Australian history.