eCite Digital Repository

Tasmanian Aboriginal oral histories from the early twentieth to early twenty-first centuries


Darian-Smith, Kate and Rimmer, Z and Taylor, R, Tasmanian Aboriginal oral histories from the early twentieth to early twenty-first centuries, The 2021 OHA Biennial Panel Session, 14-16 October 2021, Launceston, Tasmania, pp. 1 piece- abstract. (2021) [Conference Extract]

Pending copyright assessment - Request a copy


In 1908, English gentleman Ernest Westlake sailed to Tasmania and removed over 13,000 Indigenous stone artefacts. As he collected, Westlake interviewed over 100 Tasmanians, many of them Indigenous, creating the richest archival source of Tasmanian Aboriginal culture and language dating from the early twentieth century. Non-Indigenous scholars dismissed Westlake’s interviewees as inauthentic subjects. In 2017 book Into the Heart of Tasmania, Rebe Taylor re-presented Westlake’s interviews as evidence of an enduring of Tasmanian Aboriginal (Pakana) Community.

In 2019, Pakana woman, Zoe Rimmer embarked on a higher research degree at the University of Tasmania. Zoe’s thesis investigates why European collectors removed Tasmanian Aboriginal material culture and human remains and transported them to museums. Using oral history interviews, Zoe will create the first comprehensive history of her Community’s campaign to ensure the safe return of Ancestors’ remains and cultural artefacts to Country.

In this panel session, historian Professor Kate Darian-Smith, an expert in museum, heritage and memory studies, leads a discussion with Zoe Rimmer and Rebe Taylor on the changes in recording Tasmanian Aboriginal oral histories since the early twentieth century. These changes include methodological approaches; technological advances, and the increasing consideration of ethics and protocols for creating of oral history interviews with Aboriginal community members and for depositing and accessing those records in archives.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Keywords:Tasmanian Aboriginal Community history, oral history, ethics
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:Indigenous
Objective Group:Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage and culture
Objective Field:Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tradition
UTAS Author:Darian-Smith, Kate (Professor Kate Darian-Smith)
UTAS Author:Rimmer, Z (Miss Zoe Rimmer)
UTAS Author:Taylor, R (Dr Rebe Taylor)
ID Code:154290
Year Published:2021
Deposited By:History and Classics
Deposited On:2022-11-21
Last Modified:2022-11-21

Repository Staff Only: item control page