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Book review of 'Ochre and Rust: Artefacts and Encounters on Australian Frontiers'


Taylor, R, Book review of 'Ochre and Rust: Artefacts and Encounters on Australian Frontiers', Australian Aboriginal Studies, (2) pp. 131-133. ISSN 0729-4352 (2009) [Review Single Work]

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Philip Jones must have had an enjoyable time fossicking through half-forgotten artefacts in the dusty cupboards of the South Australian Museum. His use of some of them to re-tell half - or even totally - forgotten stories distinguishes him as a curator possessing a flair for what Clifford Geertz called ‘thick description’: narrative that interprets as it goes. There are echoes of the National Library’s ‘National Treasures’ collection and of his own work on the Afghan cameleers exhibition, but each of these essays is a substantial scholarly contribution in its own right. The only precedent that comes to mind is John Mulvaney’s 1989 Encounters in Place… (not mentioned in Jones’ bibliography), which has a similar emphasis on Aboriginal–European interaction in what Jones properly calls the ‘frontier zone’. As one might expect, all but one of the stories focus on South Australia and its late-nineteenth century explorers’ and pastoralists’ forays into the Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland’s channel country. Three are set on mission stations, one of them providing a backdrop to today’s vibrant Western Desert art movement.

Item Details

Item Type:Review Single Work
Keywords:Aboriginal history, museum objects
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:135747
Year Published:2009
Deposited By:College Office - CALE
Deposited On:2019-11-12
Last Modified:2019-11-13

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