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Brokers and boundaries

Brokers and boundaries: Colonial exploration in Indigenous territory OPEN ACCESS

Tiffany Shellam
Maria Nugent
Shino Konishi
Allison Cadzow
Copyright Date: 2016
Published by: ANU Press
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    Brokers and boundaries
    Book Description:

    Colonial exploration continues, all too often, to be rendered as heroic narratives of solitary, intrepid explorers and adventurers. This edited collection contributes to scholarship that is challenging that persistent mythology. With a focus on Indigenous brokers, such as guides, assistants and mediators, it highlights the ways in which nineteenth-century exploration in Australia and New Guinea was a collective and socially complex enterprise. Many of the authors provide biographically rich studies that carefully examine and speculate about Indigenous brokers’ motivations, commitments and desires. All of the chapters in the collection are attentive to the specific local circumstances as well as broader colonial contexts in which exploration and encounters occurred.

    eISBN: 978-1-76046-012-9
    Subjects: Sociology
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Table of Contents

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  1. Tiffany Shellam, Maria Nugent, Shino Konishi and Allison Cadzow

    The history of exploration has often been thought of as a heroic drama in which the explorer is the principal, sometimes exclusive, protagonist and narrator. This edited volume – along with a companion volumeIndigenous Intermediaries: New Perspectives on Exploration Archives– treats exploration as a collective effort and experience involving a variety of people from across social strata and cultures coming together, sometimes for a sustained time, at others only briefly, in various kinds of relationships and interactions. It engages with the recent resurgence of interest in the history of exploration by focusing primarily on the intermediaries – the guides, translators, hosts,...

  2. Shino Konishi

    On the road between Parramatta and Prospect a meeting took place on Monday last for the purpose of inflicting punishment on a native well known at the above settlements by the name of Goguey … His crime was defensible upon custom immemorial, but so likewise was his extraordinary mode of arraignment an event consequent upon the former. Perceiving an unusual degree of rancour in the menaces of his judges, he endeavoured for a short time to avoid them by retiring; but being closely pursued he formed his resolution, and made a stand, with two adherents near him. The spears of...

  3. Nicole Starbuck

    From the early modern age of discovery to the nineteenth-century era of science, relations between European maritime explorers and Indigenous peoples grew easier and the gaze explorers cast over the bodies and behaviours of their ‘native’ hosts became far more focused; yet paradoxically, scholars observe, explorers’ records of crosscultural encounters increasingly obscured the agency and influence of local individuals. Particularly in the case of French explorers, who had an almost constant presence in Oceania from 1817 to 1840, this development has been largely accounted for by the nature of modern ethnographic knowledge production. By the nineteenth century, in order to...

  4. Mark Dunn

    On 21 March 1820, John Howe from Windsor sent a message to Governor Macquarie from his camp at Wallis Plains on the Hunter River, by his calculations approximately 132 miles (212 km) overland north-north-west from Sydney.¹ Howe wrote, ‘I embrace the earliest opportunity to inform your Excellency that I reached the River on Wednesday last’ and that ‘in our way down the river we came through as fine a country as imagination can form’.² For his trouble, Howe and the free men in his company were granted land along the river they had ‘discovered’, establishing themselves on the alluvial flood...

  5. Allison Cadzow

    The Aboriginal women mentioned above are clearly represented as guides and appear in plain view; they are not in hiding. While women did hide from white expedition members – for good reason considering the frequent violence of white people towards them – this was not the only reaction they had. Historians have largely ignored Aboriginal women’s involvement in exploration expeditions, though there are some notable exceptions in the work of Henry Reynolds, Lyndall Ryan and Donald Baker. Some other authors who have attended to them, such as Philip Clarke, imply that women were invariably hidden away during encounters, suggesting they...

  6. Clint Bracknell

    Reinterpreting and juxtaposing a variety of colonial accounts from the south coast of Western Australia reveals particular Aboriginal individuals as active agents engaged in cross-cultural exchange motivated by their own interests, albeit with increasingly limited options.¹ The story of Bobby Roberts may be viewed as an example of such Aboriginal agency exercised in the early colonial context. A Noongar man from the south coast region of Western Australia,² Bobby assisted colonial interests as a guide and, later, a ‘native constable’. However, colonial authorities also knew him as a brazen criminal.³

    His former employer, the Surveyor General of Western Australia John...

  7. Dario Di Rosa

    Writing about the 1935 Hides–O’Malley expedition in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea, the anthropologist Edward Schieffelin noted that Europeans ‘had a well-prepared category – “natives” – in which to place those people they met for the first time, a category of social subordination that served to dissipate their depth of otherness’.¹ However, this category was often nuanced by Indigenous representations of neighbouring communities, producing significant effects in shaping Europeans’ understanding of their encounters. Analysing the narrative produced by Joseph Beete Jukes,² naturalist on Francis Price Blackwood’s voyage of 1842–1846 on HMSFly, I demonstrate the crucial role played by...

  8. Andrew Connelly

    At the time of British New Guinea Administrator William MacGregor’s first visits to the Trobriand Islands in 1890 and 1891, the islands had been frequented by whalers for over 40 years and by traders for over a decade. However, this long history of European encounter and exchange in the Trobriands failed to result in the construction of a body of knowledge available to MacGregor, since many encounters were not recorded or were buried in ships’ logs, published information was widely scattered, and some regular visits were kept secret. Because of this, MacGregor ventured into an informational wilderness to ‘discover’ the...

  9. Chris Ballard

    Lagging behind interest in the exploration of central Africa and Australia, the interior of New Guinea scarcely featured in the imaginary of colonial exploration until the 1840s. Joseph Beete Jukes, naturalist and geologist on the surveying expeditions to New Guinea of HMSFlyunder Captain Blackwood between 1842 and 1846, famously exclaimed that:

    I know of no part of the world, the exploration of which is so flattering to the imagination, so likely to be fruitful in interesting results, whether to the naturalist, the ethnologist, or the geographer, and altogether so well calculated to gratify the enlightened curiosity of an...