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Savages or saviours? The Australian sealers and Aboriginal Tasmanian survival


Taylor, R, Savages or saviours? The Australian sealers and Aboriginal Tasmanian survival, Journal of Australian Studies, 24, (66) pp. 73-84. ISSN 1444-3058 (2000) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2000 T&F

DOI: doi:10.1080/14443050009387613


The sealers of nineteenth century Australia sealers are central to the story of how the Aboriginal Tasmanians have survived. For the Aboriginal Tasmanian women who were taken to live with sealers on the islands off Tasmania’s mainland, and had families with them, today have many descendants who continue to remember their ancestors’ heritage, culture and Aboriginality. But the sealers were also invaders, responsible for terrible violence towards the Aboriginal peoples of Tasmania. Perhaps, then, it is no surprise to find that textual representations of the sealers vary greatly. The older and more popular texts portray the sealers as only deplorable. More recent representations, however, acknowledge the role the sealers played in the story of Aboriginal Tasmanian survival. these writers have not, however, given equal attention to the sealers’ atrocities, possibly for fear of undermining their revisionist task. But perhaps they would have less to fear if they asked why they had to revise the sealers’ textual representations in the first place. Look through colonial eyes we can see that representing the sealers as ‘saviours’ has never been in colonial interests.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Tasmania, history, Aboriginal survival
Research Division:Indigenous Studies
Research Group:Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, language and history
Research Field:Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Understanding past societies
Objective Field:Understanding Australia's past
UTAS Author:Taylor, R (Dr Rebe Taylor)
ID Code:135536
Year Published:2000
Deposited By:College Office - CALE
Deposited On:2019-10-30
Last Modified:2019-12-04

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