Eras Journal – Mitchell, J. Abstract
Abstract of Mitchell, J. “‘Country Belonging to Me’: Land and Labour on Aboriginal Missions and Protectorate Stations, 1830-1850”.
The first missionaries and government-appointed protectors of Aborigines in New South Wales and Port Phillip were deeply concerned with Aboriginal work habits and relationships to land. This article considers the claims of Aboriginal land ownership and colonial dispossession which abound in the little-examined records of these early humanitarians. The article argues that while missionaries and protectors often supported these land claims, they also expressed strong ideological opposition to nomadic life and aimed to radically alter Aboriginal relationships to country by transforming Aborigines into industrious agricultural labourers on their ancestral lands. Aboriginal responses to these campaigns demonstrated varying degrees of adaptation to the colonial economy, endurance of Indigenous responsibilities to land and kin, and the impact of environmental and social obstacles.