A passion for whales, seals and Indigenous history has led Monash University’s Professor Lynette Russell from the Monash Indigenous Centre to explore the lives and adventures of Indigenous whalers and sealers and the women who supported them. The result is her latest book, Roving Mariners,Australian Aboriginal Whalers and Sealers in the Southern Oceans, 1790–1870.
Professor Russell analyses archival records of maritime industry, captains’ logs, ships’ records, and the journals of the sailors themselves in this thought-provoking book.
For most Australian Aboriginal people, she said, the impact of colonialism was blunt – dispossession, dislocation, disease, murder and lives spent on missions.
“These are people that history has often classified as victims, disempowered slaves or indentured servants,” Professor Russell said.
“Yet it seemed possible too that they made choices that made sense to them, enabled their freedom, and sometimes allowed them to move beyond colonial imposition. This book explores some of the lives and adventures of those Aboriginal people who became what I call roving mariners.”
Professor Russell said some participation in the whaling trade was voluntary but some was more invidious and involved kidnapping and trade in women. In many cases, the individuals maintained a degree of personal autonomy in their new circumstances.
Drawing on both history and literature, Roving Mariners provides a comprehensive history of Australian Aboriginal whaling and sealing.
Professor Russell travelled the world, searching records in the UK, US, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands as well as Tasmania and Kangaroo Island, the home of the whaling industry in Australia.
“I wanted to write a rolling story. I wanted the reader to get a sense of their lives,” Professor Russell said.
“It has given me a deeper appreciation of the day-to-day existence of the roving mariners.”
Roving Mariners, Australian Aboriginal Whalers and Sealers in the Southern Oceans, 1790–1870 is available now through Suny Press.
More Monash student travel in New Colombo plan
Monash Arts has once again been very successful in securing funding for our students under the … Continue reading More Monash student travel in New Colombo plan
Monash panel discusses Antigone at the Malthouse Theatre
As part of Monash’s becoming a major sponsor of The Malthouse Theatre this year, Monash … Continue reading Monash panel discusses Antigone at the Malthouse Theatre
MWF brings launch of On Happiness to Melbourne
Happiness appears to be a simple emotion, individual and pleasurable, yet the problems associated with … Continue reading MWF brings launch of On Happiness to Melbourne
World first at Monash: Chair in Cultural Linguistics appointed to Farzad Sharifian
Professor Farzad Sharifian has recently been appointed as the Chair in Cultural Linguistics at Monash, … Continue reading World first at Monash: Chair in Cultural Linguistics appointed to Farzad Sharifian
Did you miss Open Day 2015?
You can still have your questions answered. Check out our FAQs and also search our … Continue reading Did you miss Open Day 2015?
Monash Arts students and alumni to perform at WinterFest
A band of Monash University students and alumni will return from an interstate tour to … Continue reading Monash Arts students and alumni to perform at WinterFest
‘Monash Country Lines’ Yanyuwa animations to be broadcast on NITV
Those interested in seeing the work of the Monash Country Lines project will soon have the … Continue reading ‘Monash Country Lines’ Yanyuwa animations to be broadcast on NITV
ACFID University Network Conference tackles development’s tough questions
As the UNDP noted at the end of 2013, ‘The world is more unequal today … Continue reading ACFID University Network Conference tackles development’s tough questions
Monash Arts celebrates student achievements at Awards events
Monash Arts recently held awards events recognising the achievements of the Faculty’s undergraduate and graduate … Continue reading Monash Arts celebrates student achievements at Awards events
Monash student elected to head new global youth network
Monash Arts student Siamak Sam Loni has been named Global Coordinator of the Sustainable Development … Continue reading Monash student elected to head new global youth network
Monash students bring The Handmaid’s Tale to life
A theatrical production of Margaret Atwood’s award winning novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, will premiere in … Continue reading Monash students bring The Handmaid’s Tale to life
Journalism Alumnae Finalists in the Young Walkleys
Monash University journalism alumnae Alana Mitchelson and Naomi Selvaratnam have been named finalists in the Young Walkley Awards to … Continue reading Journalism Alumnae Finalists in the Young Walkleys