Behind the legend: An historical archaeology of the buffalo shooting industry

historical photo

Event details

PhD Seminar

Date & time

Thursday 11 July 2019
1.00pm–3.00pm

Venue

Coombs building

Speaker

Charlotte Feakins

Contacts

Charlotte Feakins

Charlotte Feakins has her final PhD presentation on the topic of "Behind the legend: An historical archaeology of the buffalo shooting industry". The event is held in Seminar Room D in Coombs Building.

The buffalo shooting industry was prevalent in the Northern Territory from the late nineteenth century to mid-twentieth century. It involved Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women and men working collectively for white male shooters to exploit feral water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) primarily for their thick hides. It was dangerous, labour-intensive work that required great skill and courage. Over the nearly eighty years that the industry operated, unique cross-cultural relationships developed between the diverse groups involved and lives became intimately entangled. Aboriginal people dominated the workforce, typically constituting around 90%, and often excelled in both experience and ability. As a result, the success of the industry was contingent on the labour of Aboriginal women and men and without their involvement, the industry would have been economically unviable. Yet, in popular accounts, the white men are heroicised. Their legend entangles in national imagining, obfuscates the valuable role of Aboriginal women and men and influences the memory of the industry and its heritage in the present. This multi-scalar and inter-disciplinary study, combining historical archaeology and folkloristics, broadly examines the memory of the industry across a cultural continuum and explores the interplay among dominant colonial narratives, national identity, archaeology and heritage whilst providing historical reinterpretation of this unique industry.

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