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Finding Fault: Aborigines, anthropologists, popular writers and Walkabout


Rolls, M, Finding Fault: Aborigines, anthropologists, popular writers and Walkabout, Australian Cultural History, 28, (2-3) pp. 179-200. ISSN 0728-8433 (2011) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2011 A P I Network.

DOI: doi:10.1080/07288433.2010.585518


The popular middlebrow magazine Walkabout was published between 1934 and 1974. Its principle aim was to promote travel to and within Australia and to educate Australians about their continent. It aspired to be an Australian geographic magazine, and to this end it focussed on inland and remote Australia, and natural history. For this reason, and because it was published throughout a period, particularly in the early decades, when only those Aborigines living afar from populated regions were recognised as Aborigines, many of Walkabout’s articles were about Aborigines or, more commonly, made mention of them. There are very few critiques of Walkabout, but those that do exist are critical of its portrayal of Aborigines. Notwithstanding that there are many reasons to find fault, it is possible to read this material in a more salutary light, even against the apparent intention of at least one of the contributors, Ernestine Hill. This article considers the work of a number of popular writers and two of the anthropologists who contributed to Walkabout, and finds reason to be less critical and more cautious in our assessment of their narrative representation of Aborigines than is generally allowed. The period of analysis is from 1934 to 1950.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Aborigines, anthropologists, race and representation, Walkabout
Research Division:Language, Communication and Culture
Research Group:Cultural studies
Research Field:Postcolonial studies
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Understanding past societies
Objective Field:Understanding Australia's past
UTAS Author:Rolls, M (Dr Mitchell Rolls)
ID Code:74408
Year Published:2011
Deposited By:Riawunna
Deposited On:2011-11-29
Last Modified:2018-02-17
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