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Lost history: The Palawa women of Van Diemen’s Land - swimming for their lives?


Stronach, M and Maxwell, H and O'Shea, M, Lost history: The Palawa women of Van Diemen's Land - swimming for their lives?, 2019 Sporting Traditions Conference, 1-4 July, Bathurst, NSW (2019) [Conference Extract]

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This paper provides a fleeting glimpse of complex and profound social issues resulting from Australia’s grim colonial history. Government by white settler societies and cultures resulted in exploitation and dispossession of Indigenous traditional lands. Indigenous women’s involvement in sport and physical activity in Australia has reduced over time, seemingly due to the effects of colonization, which continue to impede their capacity to be sport and physically active. As an exemplar, we examine the lost history of women’s swimming, watercraft and aquaculture activities, in pre-annexation Van Diemen’s Land (1803), and during the next thirty years. The Palawa women once had an intimate relationship with water environments and, in keeping with that lifestyle were sound swimmers. Water was a ‘playground’ as well as a source of nourishment and socialisation. Regrettably that knowledge has been largely lost, but the documented routine aquatic pastimes of Tasmania’s Aboriginal women prove there is much yet to be celebrated.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Keywords:swimming, women, Indigenous, physical activity
Research Division:Indigenous Studies
Research Group:Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing
Research Field:Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander public health and wellbeing
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Evaluation of health and support services
Objective Field:Health inequalities
UTAS Author:Maxwell, H (Dr Hazel Maxwell)
ID Code:133924
Year Published:2019
Deposited By:Health Sciences
Deposited On:2019-07-16
Last Modified:2019-07-16
Downloads:3 View Download Statistics

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