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‘Djabooly-djabooly: why don’t they swim?’: the ebb and flow of water in the lives of Australian Aboriginal women


Stronach, M and Adair, D and Maxwell, H, Djabooly-djabooly: why don't they swim?': the ebb and flow of water in the lives of Australian Aboriginal women, Annals of Leisure Research pp. 1-19. ISSN 1174-5398 (2018) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

© 2018 Australia and New Zealand Association of Leisure Studies

DOI: doi:10.1080/11745398.2018.1503086


Aquatic activities have been pivotal to the lifestyle of Australian Indigenous peoples for millennia. That historical connection with rivers, streams and beaches is a largely untold story. This paper considers one aspect of the story: the significance swimming for Aboriginal women. Aquatic activities were, for many Aboriginal communities, crucial for food, movement and leisure.

Even a cursory trawl through newspapers and memoirs provides observations about the prowess of Aboriginal women as swimmers. But this skill-set dissipated in the wake of territorial conflict, resulting in the displacement or erosion of Aboriginal communities in coastal areas.

The paper then moves to the contemporary era, starting with an assumption that the passion for, swimming has been lost for Aboriginal women. Stories about female Indigenous swimmers, alongside the recollections of two mature-age women, present a story of limited opportunity, discrimination and challenges by way of access to water and safety therein.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Indigenous, aboriginal, Australia, women, swimming, aquatics
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Social change
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Sport, exercise and recreation
Objective Field:Organised sports
UTAS Author:Maxwell, H (Dr Hazel Maxwell)
ID Code:127395
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:3
Deposited By:Health Sciences
Deposited On:2018-07-25
Last Modified:2018-11-29

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