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Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies II

Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies II: Historical engagements and current enterprises

Natasha Fijn
Ian Keen
Christopher Lloyd
Michael Pickering
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: ANU Press
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  • Book Info
    Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies II
    Book Description:

    This is the second volume to emerge from a project on Indigenous participation in the Australian economy, funded by an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Grant, and involving the cooperation of the School of Archaeology and Anthropology at The Australian National University and the National Museum of Australia. The Chief Investigators were Ian Keen, Chris Lloyd, Anthony Redmond, the Partner Investigator was Mike Pickering, Fiona Skyring was an associate researcher on the project, and Natasha Fijn was research assistant. The present volume arises out of a conference in Canberra on Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies at the National Museum of Australia on 9-10 November 2009, which attracted more than thirty presenters. The diverse themes included histories of economic relations, the role of camels and dingoes in Indigenous-settler relations, material culture and the economy, the economies of communities from missions and stations to fringe camps and towns, the transitions from payment-in-kind to wage economies and Community Development Employment Projects, the issue of unpaid and stolen wages, local enterprises, and conflicts over development. Sixteen of those papers have been developed as chapters in this volume, together with a foreword by Professor Jon Altman. This book comprises a companion volume to Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies: Historical and Anthropological Perspectives, published by ANU E Press in 2010.

    eISBN: 978-1-921862-84-7
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Maps
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Tables
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Foreword
    (pp. xiii-xviii)
    Jon Altman

    This book is part of a bold intellectual quest to re-envisage and re-theorise the nature of Indigenous participation in the Australian colonial economy. It has arisen out of an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage project between scholars at The Australian National University, the University of New England and the National Museum of Australia that was completed in 2011. This book is the second substantive publication from the project, following on from Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies: Historical and anthropological perspectives, edited by Ian Keen and published by ANU E Press in 2010. The title of this volume—Indigenous Participation in...

  7. Introduction
    (pp. 1-16)
    Ian Keen and Christopher Lloyd

    The changing and fraught participation of Indigenous people in the Australian economy since the first European settlement until the present are issues of great significance to Indigenous people themselves and to the wider society and polity. The story of conquest, decimation and marginalisation, while being the fundamental reality, tells only part of the story of the impact on Indigenous Australians of being forcibly incorporated into the worldwide settler-capitalist revolution of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (Belich 2001). Another significant part of the story involves the accommodation, adaptation and incorporation of Indigenous people into that new world. Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars...

  8. 1. Settler Economies and Indigenous Encounters: The dialectics of conquest, hybridisation and production regimes
    (pp. 17-34)
    Christopher Lloyd

    The socioeconomic histories of settler societies with their conquests, impacts, articulations, fusions and hybridisations are a fraught field for research, with a wide range of conceptualisations and debates, and one with significant material effects in the present. Few areas of contemporary social science history have more direct social significance. History wars, governmental Indigenous policies, socio-anthropological research and political debates are all directly affected by conceptual/scientific and ideological debates. Furthermore, the literature on settler economic history, in contrast with that of social and cultural history, has been somewhat lagging in this conceptual debate.¹ This chapter is a discussion of the development,...

  9. Indigenous People and Settlers

    • 2. Before the Mission Station: From first encounters to the incorporation of settlers into Indigenous relations of obligation
      (pp. 37-56)
      John M. White

      By the end of the twentieth century, Aboriginal people of the Eurobodalla region of the NSW South Coast were broadly incorporated into the expanding settler economy.¹ With ongoing labour shortages impeding economic development, Aboriginal labour became critical to the success of the forestry and fishing industries and to the emergence of seasonal horticultural industries. Shortfalls in income were supplemented with the continuance of subsistence fishing. These patterns of seasonal employment were characteristic of the hybrid economy of the Eurobodalla until the 1970s (see White 2010, 2011). Altman (2001) employs the hybrid economy model to counter perspectives on the marginalisation of...

    • 3. Tracking Wurnan: Transformations in the trade and exchange of resources in the northern Kimberley
      (pp. 57-72)
      Anthony Redmond

      The recent intensification of the demands from a range of government agencies that Indigenous Australian landholders shift their focus from a previously valorized cultural identity-based attachment to land to an economic-development approach to those lands has drawn upon the long-prevailing perception of a sharp division between usufruct (a rights-based model) and landed cultural identities (an underlying title-based model) in traditional Aboriginal Australia. In this overly dichotomised schema, economic use rights occupy the unmarked position, reflecting the naturalisation of market-derived notions of the alienability of property while the marked position has been occupied by an exoticised notion of Indigenous people spiritually...

    • 4. Camels and the Transformation of Indigenous Economic Landscapes
      (pp. 73-96)
      Petronella Vaarzon-Morel

      Over the past hundred or more years camels (Camelus dromedarius)—at once symbols of mobility and of domestication—have figured prominently in Indigenous socioeconomic landscapes. As ‘animal powered transport’ (Kennedy 2005), they have played a pivotal role in the colonisation of desert Australia and in the development of the settler economy (Blainey 1966; Kennedy 2005). They have also had a part to play in the incorporation of Indigenous people into the encapsulating society. Due to the suitability of camels to the arid conditions of Central Australia, European explorers, Muslim cameleers, pastoralists, missionaries, doggers, police, anthropologists and miners, among others, used...

    • 5. ‘Always Anangu—always enterprising’
      (pp. 97-116)
      Alan O’Connor

      As a result of primary research in Arnhem Land, Altman developed a hybrid economy model for Indigenous Australians living in remote areas in which people move between the state, market and customary sectors (Altman 2005). He asserts that development policies for remote areas based on the state and the market have failed because of the existence of a customary sector and very different intercultural value systems. In addition, he suggests the commercial marginality of Aboriginal-owned land is the reason it was alienated, and as a result the potential to increase the market sector is very limited (Altman 2005).

      In this...

  10. Labour History and Stolen Wages

    • 6. ‘The Art of Cutting Stone’: Aboriginal convict labour in nineteenth-century New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land
      (pp. 119-134)
      Kristyn Harman

      The nation’s understandings of its convict founders underwent a profound transformation in the late 1980s. Previously viewed as ‘hardened and professional criminals’ or ‘prostitutes’, convict men and women were no longer simply seen as ‘prisoners undergoing punishment’ but were reconfigured as ‘a well-organised, efficient labour force’ (Nichols 1988:viii; Nichols and Shergold 1988:3). Rewriting the convict period as a narrative about forced migrants and the labour they provided enabled the penal settlements, in the words of the then Prime Minister Bob Hawke, to ‘become an integral part of the economic history of an immigrant society, rather than an unsavoury aberration that...

    • 7. Indigenous Workers on Methodist Missions in Arnhem Land: A skilled labour force lost
      (pp. 135-152)
      Gwenda Baker

      Indigenous workers on Methodist missions in Arnhem Land were not only vital to mission development and survival; over time, they became an increasingly skilled, competent and reliable workforce. By the end of the mission era, Indigenous participation in the economy of these missions led to an increased skill base amongst the majority of workers. Indigenous workers who remember life on the missions see the end of ‘mission time’ as the beginning of the end of full employment and participation in a ‘real economy’ and the hopes of Indigenous control over a new social order (Baker 2005, 2010). They were to...

    • 8. Low Wages, Low Rents, and Pension Cheques: The introduction of equal wages in the Kimberley, 1968–1969
      (pp. 153-170)
      Fiona Skyring

      The introduction of equal wages for Kimberley Aboriginal pastoral station workers¹ during the northern wet season of 1968–69 has been characterised as a disaster—the cause of mass evictions and unemployment in Western Australia’s far north. Former stockmen such as John Watson and Eric Lawford, who recorded their accounts in the publication Raparapa, remembered the devastating impact of being kicked off the stations. The evictions were particularly destructive because the stations were on the traditional country of most of the Aboriginal people who lived and worked there. Significantly, although they remembered the period as catastrophic, none of these Kimberley...

    • 9. Aboriginal Workers, Aboriginal Poverty
      (pp. 171-180)
      Ros Kidd

      If I were a young Aboriginal woman living in Queensland between the 1920s and the late 1960s, there would be a one in two chance that my life was totally controlled by the Government. I would have no rights about where I lived, where and when I worked, my own future or the futures of my children. I would probably be removed to a government settlement where I would be separated from my mother and siblings from the age of five and confined in a dormitory, taught only basic English and arithmetic, and trained as a domestic servant. At thirteen...

    • 10. Indigenous Peoples and Stolen Wages in Victoria, 1869–1957
      (pp. 181-196)
      Andrew Gunstone

      Throughout much of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Commonwealth, State and Territory governments and their agencies largely controlled Indigenous people’s wages, savings and social security benefits. Many Indigenous workers either received no wages or were underpaid for years and decades of employment. The savings and social security benefits of many Indigenous people were paid into trust accounts, which were regularly mismanaged, often fraudulently, and were generally inaccessible to Indigenous people. Commonwealth and State governments excluded Indigenous people from accessing many social security benefits, such as maternity allowances, child endowment and old-age pensions. These and other such acts are referred to...

  11. Indigenous Enterprises and Employment Schemes

    • 11. Between Locals: Interpersonal histories and the 1970s Papunya art movement
      (pp. 199-210)
      Peter Thorley and Andy Greenslade

      Acrylic paintings from Australia’s Western Desert have risen to prominence internationally since their humble origins at Papunya, NT, in 1971. Papunya holds a special place in the history of contemporary Indigenous art as the first acrylic painting community. For roughly a decade, however, from the time paintings were first produced, Papunya remained little known and the paintings went largely unrecognised both within Australia and overseas. The first decade of the movement has attracted much recent interest from scholars and observers of the art movement (for example, Benjamin and Wieslogel 2009; Berrell 2009). In its initial phase of development, the market...

    • 12. An Economy of Shells: A brief history of La Perouse Aboriginal women’s shell-work and its markets, 1880–2010
      (pp. 211-228)
      Maria Nugent

      Shell-work of the kind made by Aboriginal women at La Perouse in Sydney and in other communities along the NSW coast is not to everyone’s taste. Indeed, it has long been described as kitsch or tacky, in part because for much of the twentieth century it was made and sold as a souvenir (Pakula 2007). Some of the most popular shell-work forms are heart-shaped, lidded trinket boxes and ornamental baby shoes (Figure 12.1), as well as the now highly collectible small-scale Sydney Harbour bridges (Figure 12.2). In some respects, La Perouse shell-work sits uneasily alongside other three-dimensional art and craft...

    • 13. Policy Mismatch and Indigenous Art Centres: The tension between economic independence and community development
      (pp. 229-242)
      Gretchen Marie Stolte

      The concept of ‘one size fits all’ is an alluring one. It implies that no matter what an object’s physical shape, there is a universal ‘fit’ that will suit. There is no big or small, no high or low; the one-size-fits-all model eliminates the need for the accommodation of difference. It is thus no surprise that the one-size-fits-all model would be the ultimate aphrodisiac for policymakers working in Indigenous affairs. This of course leads to real problems because, as many know, the one-size-fits-all model might work well within the average but poorly within the extremes. This chapter looks at a...

    • 14. On Generating Culturally Sustainable Enterprises and Demand-Responsive Services in Remote Aboriginal Settings: A case study from north-west Queensland
      (pp. 243-260)
      Paul Memmott

      The catalyst for this chapter¹ was the continuation of poor national outcomes in Aboriginal employment and quality of lifestyle, despite 35 years of sustained government service delivery. The persistence of Aboriginal identities and cultures, albeit in transformed states, is a dominant continuity despite the pulses and shifts of policies. Nevertheless, debate has recently embraced whether Aboriginal people can participate in the market economy and yet still retain traditional culture (Sarra 2009), and whether retention of traditional culture has contributed inadvertently to community dysfunction (Altman 2009; Sutton 2009).

      For those many Aboriginal groups who do not wish to leave their traditional...

    • 15. Dugong Hunting as Changing Practice: Economic engagement and an Aboriginal ranger program on Mornington Island, southern Gulf of Carpentaria
      (pp. 261-286)
      Cameo Dalley

      Chapters in this volume and papers in a special edition of The Australian Journal of Anthropology in 2009 address the intersection of anthropology with economics. A particular focus has been the ways in which Indigenous cultures might relate to conceivably more foreign notions of market economies. One prominent example, which conceptualised Aboriginal engagements in economic enterprise, was the ‘hybrid economy’ model offered by Altman (2001). The model featured three intersecting realms: the ‘market’, the ‘state’ and the (Aboriginal) ‘customary economy’. Important components of hybridity were the ‘linkages’, ‘dependencies’ and ‘cleavages’ between the various realms, which created particular opportunities, Altman (2001:...

    • 16. Environmental Conservation and Indigenous Development through Indigenous Protected Areas and Payments for Environmental Services: A review
      (pp. 287-310)
      Nanni Concu

      Payments for Environmental Services (PES) are instruments to promote conservation goals and development in rural and poor communities (Pagiola et al. 2008. The use of PES in Indigenous Australia has only recently emerged as a potential alternative to government funding. PES schemes are strongly linked to Indigenous natural resource management (NRM) carried out by traditional owners and custodians (hereinafter TOs) and Indigenous land and sea management groups, and increasingly formalised through Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs).

      Both PES and IPAs are hailed as alternatives to other forms of economic participation in the Australian economy. The Indigenous development discourse in Australia nowadays...

  12. Contributors
    (pp. 311-316)
  13. Index
    (pp. 317-326)