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.
Monash supports marriage equality
Monash has joined over 690 organisations and numerous Australian individuals showing their support through Australian Marriage Equality.
Consuming Anzac: some thoughts on the Anzac centenary
If prizes were given out for the enthusiasm with which nations commemorate the centenary of the Great War, Australia would be first by a long shot. Dr Carolyn Holbrook looks at ‘Brandzac’.
From hostility to lasting friendship: cultural reflections from Turkish and Anzac soldiers
For the first time in Australia, stories of Turkish soldiers will be told alongside those of Anzac soldiers in a bilingual exhibition at Monash Univeristy about the Gallipoli experience. The exhibition has been curated by Dr Azer Banu Kemaloğlu, of Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University.
On remembering and forgetting war
Join us this Remembrance Day for the launch of – World War One: A History in 100 Stories – a path-breaking social history written by Monash historians Professor Bruce Scates, Rebecca Wheatley and Laura James.
Monash project on Women, Peace & Security makes its way to United Nations Security Council
Australian ambassador, H. E. Gillian Bird, made in her statement to the United Nations Security Council yesterday during the annual debate on Women Peace and Security.
From pages to the silver screen: Death or Liberty documentary launched in October
A feature length documentary film adaptation of Dr Tony Moore’s book Death or Liberty, detailing the lives of rebels and radicals transported to Australia as political prisoners, will have its world premier in Victoria this month, ahead of screenings around Australia and Britain.
Godzilla, Wine and Video Games: Getting to know Monash researcher Jason Christopher Jones
Want to know how the Japanese language, wine, Godzilla and video games all tie in to being a researcher at Monash? Lecturer in Japanese studies, Jason Jones, tells us about his passion for ‘all things Japanese’, and about his research around the themes of cultural exchange and adaptation.
Telling the larger story about terrorism: a conversation with PhD candidate Noor Huda Ismail
PhD candidate Noor Huda Ismail is an author, filmmaker, activist, and self-described “repentant journalist”, and has a desire to tell a larger story about terrorism, foreign fighters and why people join violent organisations.
Mentoring matters: Global mentors for Monash University students
The value of a mentor both personally and professionally – to provide guidance, support and advice – is almost universal.
In the aid and development sector…
Welcome to Nowhere: Monash at the Fringe Festival
The Melbourne Fringe festival is providing plenty of opportunities for Monash to showcase its theatre outputs this year.
Indian dignitaries visit the Faculty of Arts
On 26 August, the Faculty of Arts had the honour of welcoming a His Excellency, Navdeep Suri, the High Commissioner of India in Australia…
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