The Straw Dog Ordinance: Love as Law – Marriage as Metaphor: Welfare Ordinances and Discrimination in Australia 1955 – 1965

Project: HDR ProjectPhD

Project Details


What does it mean to love someone? What role does culture play in loving another person? Exploring questions about intercultural love, this project identifies a specific intersubjective journey to inform ‘our history’ and show how events associated with intercultural relationship contribute to our understanding of the role that country plays in human connection. Mary ‘Gladys’ Namagu and Michael ‘Mick’ Daly cohabitated near Katherine in the Daly River region of Northern Territory, Australia during the 1950s and the 1960s. The couple were connected in Malak-Malak country by human love. Gladys Namagu was an Indigenous, ward of the state. Mick Daly was a hardened, white drover. In 1959, the couple challenged the decision of the Director after being denied the right to marry under The Northern Territory Welfare Ordinance Act of 1953. The collective knowledge in the love story of Gladys and Mick, has largely gone ignored by writers of fiction. I hope to redress this oversight, highlighting the couple’s contributions to Australian Welfare Ordinances, Australian Marriage Law, and post-colonial Australian Indigenous and non-Indigenous relationship by dramatising their love story and writing in the genre of Australian, historical fiction. Using an Indigenous Methodology (which involves relational accountability and collective storytelling) to investigate concepts of intercultural connection, my research explores the history of two cultures through a creative re-reading of a historically documented, intercultural relationship. By creatively responding to country, I plan to affirm ‘a relational truth’ with respect to the regulations that governed our human relations of love during the 1950s and the 1960s.
Effective start/end date1/07/19 → …


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.