"I bin’ tell you that story": Aboriginal pastoral workers and the appearance of the past through storytelling

  • Delyna Baxter

    Student thesis: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - CDU


    This thesis is about story and is concerned with the portrayal of Aboriginal voices, and the importance of telling stories about a shared history. It is focused on the way in which the past is summoned to reach an understanding of the present.

    The Stockman’s Hall of Fame and Outback Heritage Centre based in Longreach,
    Queensland, commissioned an extensive oral history project to record the lives and contribution of Aboriginal men and women to the Australian pastoral industry. These stories were collected in response to public demand that Aboriginal people be acknowledged in a permanent exhibition at the Stockman’s Hall of Fame. One hundred and fifty oral histories were recorded during 2011-2013 across Australia’s pastoral zone.

    In this thesis I will discuss the implications of the pastoral era on the people whose stories and experiences were of a time in history that has changed forever. The stories provide rich insights into how identities were forged, maintained and managed through a changing historical landscape in Aboriginal Australia. Through Australian Aboriginal pastoral workers during the violent history of colonialism. This thesis argues that storytelling events offer insights into the ways that people evaluated, discussed and negotiated social and ethical strategies for living in this era. At the same time, it explores stories as an Indigenous methodology that takes the publicly known, or the big stories, and offers up the small stories of the everyday that speak volumes about this shared past.

    Note: Embargo till 27 April 2023.
    Date of Award5 May 2021
    Original languageEnglish
    SponsorsAustralian National University
    SupervisorRolf Gerritsen (Supervisor)

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