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South-east Australian Indigenous space and its cosmological origin


Power, J, South-east Australian Indigenous space and its cosmological origin (2013) [PhD]


Purpose: The purpose of this thesis is to investigate Australian Indigenous spatial ordering. The central question guiding the research is: how does south-east Australian Indigenous spatial ordering differ from the European concept of spatial ordering? The hypothesis is that south-east Australian Indigenous occupation of space can be understood as interiority; in addition, it is also hypothesised that colonising western Europeans failed to understand this occupation and as a result, sought to impose western European spatial ordering in its place. The thesis presents a new narrative that is specifically associated with the discipline of interior architecture.

Methodology: The overall research framework adopted in the thesis is a ‘spatial approach.’ An interpretive-historical research methodology is operating in a majority of the thesis chapters, bar one (Chapter 8), which diverges from this approach and adopts an ethnographic-type research methodology. A number of research methods have been utilised in order to gather and analyse the empirical material contained in this thesis.

Results: Empirical material has been gathered and considered in relation to, but not only, the Sky Dome, palawa buildings, the site of Wybalenna, and Ring Trees. The aforesaid examples contribute to the thesis by allowing a questioning of the following: how cosmology lays the foundation for physical spatial ordering, how building types play a role in defining spatial ordering, the resistance of the palawa peoples to western European spatial ordering, and how Ring Trees in Wadi Wadi Country illustrate a spatial organising principle.

Conclusions: The thesis concludes that western European spatial ordering, concerned with an inside and outside, finds expression differently in south-east Australian Indigenous buildings. These buildings are argued to operate as artefacts within spatial divisions enacted at a much larger scale defined by cosmology and inhabitation of the cultural landscape. The contribution that this thesis makes is to enable the western European spatial ordering model to transform and accommodate variations of its expression, as well as to contribute more broadly to the dialogue regarding Australian Indigenous buildings and space.

Item Details

Item Type:PhD
Keywords:interiority, Australian Indigenous buildings; cosmology
Research Division:Built Environment and Design
Research Group:Architecture
Research Field:Architectural history, theory and criticism
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Understanding past societies
Objective Field:Understanding Australia's past
UTAS Author:Power, J (Dr Jacqueline Power)
ID Code:91943
Year Published:2013
Deposited By:Architecture
Deposited On:2014-06-03
Last Modified:2014-09-26

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