Saturday, 4 July 2020

Journal Article - Aboriginal artefacts on the continental shelf

An interesting article appears as follows -

Aboriginal artefacts on the continental shelf reveal ancient drowned cultural landscapes in northwest Australia
Jonathan Benjamin et al
PLoS ONE 15(7) 2020

"This article reports Australia’s first confirmed ancient underwater archaeological sites from the continental shelf, located off the Murujuga coastline in north-western Australia. Details on two underwater sites are reported: Cape Bruguieres, comprising > 260 recorded lithic artefacts at depths down to −2.4 m below sea level, and Flying Foam Passage where the find spot is associated with a submerged freshwater spring at −14 m. The sites were discovered through a purposeful research strategy designed to identify underwater targets, using an iterative process incorporating a variety of aerial and underwater remote sensing techniques and diver investigation within a predictive framework to map the submerged landscape within a depth range of 0–20 m. The condition and context of the lithic artefacts are analysed in order to unravel their depositional and taphonomic history and to corroborate their in situ position on a pre-inundation land surface, taking account of known geomorphological and climatic processes including cyclone activity that could have caused displacement and transportation from adjacent coasts. Geomorphological data and radiometric dates establish the chronological limits of the sites and demonstrate that they cannot be later than 7000 cal BP and 8500 cal BP respectively, based on the dates when they were finally submerged by sea-level rise. Comparison of underwater and onshore lithic assemblages shows differences that are consistent with this chronological interpretation. This article sets a foundation for the research strategies and technologies needed to identify archaeological targets at greater depth on the Australian continental shelf and elsewhere, building on the results presented. Emphasis is also placed on the need for legislation to better protect and manage underwater cultural heritage on the 2 million square kilometres of drowned landscapes that were once available for occupation in Australia, and where a major part of its human history must lie waiting to be discovered."

The full Article is available here.

Friday, 12 June 2020

Journal Article - Fire mosaics and habitat choice in nomadic foragers

Fire mosaics and habitat choice in nomadic foragers
Rebecca Bliege Birda, Chloe McGuire, Douglas W. Bird, Michael H. Price, David Zeanah,

and Dale G. Nimmo
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2020

The abstract follows
"In the mid-1950s Western Desert of Australia, Aboriginal populations were in decline as families left for ration depots, cattle stations, and mission settlements. In the context of reduced population density, an ideal free-distribution model predicts landscape use should contract to the most productive habitats, and people should avoid areas that show more signs of extensive prior use. However, ecological or social facilitation due to Allee effects (positive  density dependence) would predict that the intensity of past habitat use should correlate positively with habitat use. We analyzed fire footprints and fire mosaics from the accumulation of several years of landscape use visible on a 35,300-km2 mosaic of aerial photographs covering much of contemporary Indigenous Martu Native Title Lands imaged between May and August 1953. Structural equation modeling revealed that, consistent with an Allee ideal free distribution, there was a positive relationship between the extent of fire mosaics and the intensity of recent use, and this was consistent across habitats regardless of their quality. Fire mosaics build up in regions with low cost of access to water, high intrinsic food availability, and good access to trade opportunities; these mosaics (constrained by water access during the winter) then draw people back in subsequent years or seasons, largely independent of intrinsic habitat quality. Our results suggest that the positive feedback effects of landscape burning can substantially change the way people value landscapes, affecting mobility and settlement by increasing sedentism and local population density."

The article also contains the following lines

"During the 1950s, for example, two marauding brothers, Tirinji and Yawa, roamed the Great Sandy Desert on a violent rampage, murdering younger men and kidnapping women. Rumors of the brother’s serial killings circulated the surrounding settlements and the fear engendered by their violence lasted years; in 1964, when Western Australia Native Welfare officer Terry Long encountered a group of 20 Aboriginal women and children at the Percival Lakes, he reported that the women were “desperate to quit the area [. . .] they had no men for years and were frightened that if they did run into a group containing men that some of them would be killed, if they were considered unsuitable as wives.”
(References to this section
(a) N. J. Bent, P. Lowe, Eds., Two Sisters: Ngarta & Jukuna, (Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 2004).
(b) F. Skyring, “Ngurrara history report” [in the Federal Court of Australia, WA District Registry, Between Annette Kogolo, Butcher Wise, and Others, applicants, and the
State of Western Australia and Others, respondents—WAG6077 of 1998] (Broome, KLC, 1998).
(c) here.)

Thursday, 28 May 2020

Extract about marriages from Kinship in Western Central Australia

Kinship in Western Central Australia
Oceania Volume 4 Issue 4 June 1934
Henry Kenneth Fry
The information presented in this paper was obtained during a visit of the Adelaide University Anthropological Expedition to Mount Liebig, the western limit of the McDonnell Ranges, in
August, 1932. News of our coming had been sent out beforehand, and about one hundred bush natives from the surrounding districts came in and settled temporarily near the camp of the Expedition. The majority of these people were members of the Ngalia tribe from the sandhill country to the north-west, and of the Pintubi tribe from the west and south-west. Some Jumu (Luritja) natives of the locality and a few Aranda natives from Hermannsburg also were represented.

Lists the following relationships :-

The following records of the actual circumstances of marriages were made.

I. Mintun-Mintun, Pintubi, Tararo Tjungarai.
    First wife, Maramintjini, Iparka. The mama, father, of
    Maramintjini, the nunari of Mintun-Mintun, told him to
    marry her, so he went and called her to his camp. She was
    a little girl about knee high. Mintun-Mintun's father
    called Maramintjini's father watjera.
    Second wife, Koreilja, Panaka Napurula. (A kameru
    marriage.) This girl was the daughter of Nalbilala,
    Purukulla, who told him to take her to his camp. She was
    a little girl like a small girl of four or five years of age who
    was pointed out. Mintun-Mintun called Nalbilala kameru,
    and his father called Nalbilala kandia, wife's brother.
    Nalbilala called Mintun-Mintun's father numpana, sister's

    Third wife, Mulunga, Iparka. The sister of Maramintjini,
    by the same father. Ngunari, the girl's father, told him
    to take her. She was a little girl like the others.

    Fourth wife, Milbanga, Iparka. She was the daughter of the
    same father as his first and third wives. Milbanga called
    Mulunga kankoro. Mulunga called Milbanga malango.

    Fifth wife, Iparka. This woman was the widow of his deceased
    "elder brother," actually his father's elder brother's
    son. He stated that he looked after her and her children,
    but that she was not really a wife.

II  Nalbilala, Pintubi, Purukula Takamara.
    He had only one wife, Napaltari Purunga. When a young
    fellow, he was frightened of women and kept away from
    them. His nunari, Wallowaritji, Tararo Tungarai, told
    him to marry this woman, who was his daughter. Everyone
    told him to marry. His wife came and made a fire and a
    camp ready for him, along with his people. She was a
    young woman, he called her korei. Nalbilala's father
    called Wallowaritji watjera. Nalbilala called Wallowaritji
    nunari, and Wallowaritji called him kameru.

III Koijanu, Pintubi, Purukula Takamara.
    Only one wife, Purunga Napaltari. She was promised to him
    by his nunari, her father, when she was a baby. When
    she was about hip-high (? six years) he took her. When
    she was about breast-high (demonstrated), he began
    marital relations with her. This was before her breasts
    had come up. He used to sing to her to make her grow
    quickly. His nunari was Kateirelba, Tungarai. It was
    the custom to give kangaroo and euro to the nunari from
    the time that his daughter was promised. He still did this.
    When he was about breast-high (demonstrated), he used
    to play with the girls in the bush, only proper ones watjerawatjera.
    He would meet them by arrangement. He
    would give the girl euro or kangaroo meat.

Webster v Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs

Webster v Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs [2020] FCA 702

An interesting Federal Court judgement can be found here .

"CONSTITUTIONAL LAW – Constitution s 51(xix) – where foreign born applicant claimed to be a non-citizen non-alien by reason of being an Aboriginal Australian within the meaning of tripartite test in Mabo v Queensland (No 2) 175 CLR 1 at 70 – where Minister had cancelled applicant’s visa and decided not to revoke cancellation under s 501(CA)(4) of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) – sufficiency of evidence necessary to establish each limb of tripartite test – whether test’s requirement of “mutual recognition” satisfied by Australian Aboriginal recognition by elders or persons enjoying traditional authority “culturally adopting” applicant into indigenous society different from that of his biological descent." 

Well worth reading in full.

Thursday, 23 April 2020

Desert People - M J Meggitt

I was looking at the book Desert People by M J Meggitt published in 1962 and was amazed by the detailed personal information recorded and published about events that happened or were said to have happened during the field work on which the publication was based. The people involved in these events are easily recognised in census results in the Northern Territory, especially for Hooker Creek. Some would still be alive today. I wonder if they realised how the information they provided would be used. An extract is here .

Further examples follow :-

"While they were at Yuendumu, Wally djabaldjari and his
sister’s husband, Jack djagamara, were allies in a series of disputes
that involved a homicide. Knowing that reprisals were
likely, they offered Jack’s daughter, Julie, then about 10 years
old, to a djabanangga man in return for a promise of aid
in future fights. This man, however, did not honour his agreement
in the next fight that occurred, so Jack declared the
betrothal to be at an end. Other men criticized Jack’s action.
They stated that betrothal should be an unconditional arrangement
and should lead automatically to marriage.
When Jack later moved to Hooker Creek, he took Julie with
him. As he still feared repercussions from the earlier disputes,
he offered the girl on the same terms to Peter djabanangga
of Wave Hill. Peter was already married and refused to be
entangled in Jack’s quarrels. He suggested that Julie be offered
to his “young brother”, Robber djabanangga, who accepted
the betrothal.
About a year afterwards, Robber arrived from Wave Hill
and asked for Julie in marriage, guaranteeing to let her visit
her mother at Hooker Creek frequently. Although Jack had
had no cause to call on Robber for fighting aid, he handed the
girl over without argument to avoid public disapproval of a
second default. At the same time, he offered another young
daughter to Peter in return for help in disputes, but Peter
again declined."

Julie born 22. 7.1954 Phillip Creek, parents Wauchope Jack Djugamurra and Lillian Nabanardi

1963 Census Warrabri
Jack Wauchope Jagamara, born c1926
Lillian Wauchope Nabangardi, born c 1936
Julie Wauchope Nungala, born 22. 7.1954
Sylvia Wauchope Nungala, born 26.12.1958
Gary Denis Wauchope Jungala, born 20. 9.1961

"Margie nabangari, the younger wife of Billy djarnbidjimba,
was the daughter of Peter djabanangga of Wave Hill. During
a visit to Hooker Creek Peter told me he was worried about
Margie’s increasing blindness (actually the result of trachoma).
He was sure that an enemy was “singing” her. Peter several
times berated Billy for not seeking out the sorcerer, and he said
he would leave a son at Hooker Creek to ensure that Billy
looked after Margie better. He also criticized Billy’s failure to
shield her from the attentions of her lover, Norman djambidjimba.
On an earlier visit to Hooker Creek, Peter had threatened
to spear Norman — a warning that Billy should have issued.
When Norman heard that Peter was coming again to Hooker
Creek, he suddenly discovered urgent matters to discuss with
relatives at Yuendumu, 200 miles away."

Hooker Creek Census 1963
Blind Maggie Nabangadi, mother (Crossed out Margaret (Margie))
Billy Army Jambijimba, father
Ruthie Nangala, born 28. 8.1961

Hooker Creek Census c1968
Billy Ami Jambidjimba, born c1904, Brother Angus, sister June
Nancy Nabaldjari, wife 1, born c1919 Hooker Creek or Darwin
Margie (Maggie) Nabungadi, wife 2, born c1934, blind
Ruth Armstrong Nangala born 28. 8.1961

Hooker Creek Census 1968
Norman Jambidjimba, husband, born c1934
Maisie Jabangadi, wife, born c1933 (First husband Mick Jagamara, DOB also 1938)
(They care for Patsy Nangala, daughter of Paddy Jambidjimba,  and Biddy Nambidjimba
born 6. 7.1957.)

"Although Bulbul djabaldjari had three wives, he devoted
much time and energy to the pursuit of other women. On this
occasion, he was involved in a liaison with the promiscuous
Marcie nambidjimba, his “m.b.d.”. As men recalled his recent
affair with Molly nagamara, they passed acid comments on his
current behaviour. However, nothing was said to Marcie’s
husband, Ginger, who was clearly aware of the situation. One
afternoon, Bulbul’s youngest wife, Margaret nagamara, surprised
Bulbul and Marcie in flagrante delicto in Bulbul’s own
shelter. She upbraided him for “shaming” her in this way
and then struck Marcie several times. Bulbul at once speared
her in the thigh and abused her roundly. The noise attracted
Ginger, who began to beat Marcie until Abe djangala, Marcie’s
“father”, sent him spinning from a powerful blow with a club.
This quite incapacitated Ginger, who could only look on
while Abe thrashed Marcie.
Meanwhile, Margaret’s own father, William djuburula (aged
about 60), attacked Bulbul with a boomerang. He landed
some telling blows but was no match for the younger man.
Seeing William receive the worst of the fight, his “younger
brothers” and countrymen, Paddy and Charlie djuburula, came
to his aid Bulbul was now in desperate straits so Clem
djungarai, his own son, and Windy and Larry djungarai, his
"sons" tackled the two younger djuburula with clubs and
boomerangs. Windy split open Paddy's scalp but had his
fingers broken in return. Bulbul’s own brothers, who had disapproved
of his behaviour, would not help him. Eventually
a group of Ginger’s countrymen managed to break up the fight,
which now no longer concerned them, and separated the
combatants long enough for tempers to cool.
In the discussions that followed, I was repeatedly told, even
by Bulbul’s own brothers, that he had behaved ahominanbly
by copulating with Marcie in his own camp, he had insulted
all his wives and their kinsmen. Nevertheless, the men added
Margaret should have known better than to berate Bulbul
in front of Marcie. He was bound to retaliate in order to
maintain his prestige. She should have gone at once to her
father with her complaint and let him gather relatives to
punish Bulbul."

Bulbul Djandu-Djugurba Jabaldjari, husband, born c1904
Margaret Nagamara, wife 1, born c1924
Peter Penn (Pan) Jungarai, child wife 1, born c1945 Wife is Barbara
Hector Cavin Jungarai, child wife 1, born 19. 2.1954
Liddy Nagamaea, wife 2, born c1910
Freddy Jungarai, child wife 2, born c1933, Wife 1 Mary, Wife 2 Minnie, wife 3 Molly
Clem Jungarai, child wife 2, born c1934, Wife is Liddy
Lindsay Jungarai, child wife 2, born c1940, Wife is Aileen
Doreen Nungarai, child wife 2, born c1947 Husband is Jerry
Modagarbun (Mrs Chapman) Nagamara, wife 3, born c1900
Benny Jungarai, child wife 3, born c1937, Wife is Kitty

Saturday, 21 March 2020

Betwixt and Between

Interesting paper in the Journal of Genocide Research, 1–17 (2020)  by H. Burke,  B. Barker, L. Wallis, S. Craig & M. Combo titled Betwixt and Between: Trauma, Survival and the Aboriginal Troopers of the Queensland Native Mounted Police.

The Abstract follows

Much has been written about the history of the Queensland Native
Mounted Police, mostly focussing on its development, its white
officers, how much the Colonial Government genuinely knew
about the actions of the Force, and how many people were killed
during the frontier wars. Far less attention has been given to the
Aboriginal men of the force, the nature of their recruitment, and
the long-term traumatic impacts on Aboriginal peoples’ and
communities’ psyches rather than broadscale changes to
Aboriginal culture per se. This article examines the historical and
ongoing psychological impacts of dispossession and frontier
violence on Aboriginal people. Specifically, we argue that
massacres, frontier violence, displacement, and the ultimate
dispossession of land and destruction of traditional cultural
practices resulted in both individual and collective intergenerational
trauma for Aboriginal peoples. We posit that, despite
the Australian frontier wars taking place over a century ago, their
impacts continue to reverberate today in a range of different
ways, many of which are as yet only partially understood.
Unfortunately the article is paywalled.

Monday, 9 March 2020

Gugu Badhun People #3 Native Title Claim

National Native Title Tribunal File QC2019/003 - Gugu Badhun People #3 available here entered on the Register 06/03/2020.

The attachments are as follows :-
Register extract available here
Attachment B - Map showing External Boundary Description here
Attachment C - Map of the Application Area here

The Gugu Badhun native title claim group is comprised of the descendants (including through adoption or raising up in accordance with traditional law and customs) of the following apical ancestors:

(a) Bella, mother of Harry Goetz, Cissie McDowall, and Albert Brown
(b) Lucy Shaw, mother of Richard Hoolihan, Mosley Dickman, and Jimmy Dickman
(c) King Lava, father of Mariah Saddler
(d) Nellie Rankin
(e) Charlie Burdekin, father of Frank Burdekin, William Burdekin, Ernest Burdekin, Gertrude Burdekin, and Peter McDowell
(f) Nancy Jordan, also known as Nancy Rose Lee and Nancy Ah Sam, wife of Harry Goetz
(g) Nora Lee, also known as Laura and Laula, wife of Charlie Burdekin
(h) Ceasar Murray
(i) Minnie Tiger, also known as Big Minnie
(j) Skinny Minnie

See also

Gugu Badhun - People of the Valley of Lagoons
Yvonne Cadet-James, Robert Andrew James, Sue McGinty & Russell McGregor
Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies 2017
(Available to download here .)