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 Theatre and Performance Centre receives $1 million donation for Artists in Residence Program
Melbourne philanthropist Dr Jeanne Pratt AC has donated $1,000,000 to Monash University’s Centre for Theatre … Continue reading Monash Theatre and Performance Centre receives $1 million donation for Artists in Residence Program
Monash in Focus: Kate Brabon, Vogel’s Award winner
Monash in Focus recently featured Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award winner Kate Brabon. Kate is a PhD … Continue reading Monash in Focus: Kate Brabon, Vogel’s Award winner
Monash journalism students report on federal election for UniPollWatch and The Guardian
Monash University’s journalism students are part of Australia’s largest newsroom, reporting on the 2016 federal … Continue reading Monash journalism students report on federal election for UniPollWatch and The Guardian
Monash Gender Peace and Security secures Linkage Grant
In a success for Monash Arts research, the Gender, Peace and Security Initiative has recently secured a major ARC Linkage … Continue reading Monash Gender Peace and Security secures Linkage Grant
Vogel’s Literary Award for PhD candidate Kate Brabon
Earlier this week, Kate Brabon was announced as the winner of the 2016 Australian/Vogel’s Literary … Continue reading Vogel’s Literary Award for PhD candidate Kate Brabon
The Monash Media Lab: a great place to learn
Head of School, AP Mia Lindgren, and TV presenter and academic, Waleed Aly, talk about what makes the new Lab so important for students of Media, Film and Journalism.
Monash Arts welcomes the first Monash Asylum Seeker Bursary recipient
Ali Khan, a new member of the Monash Arts student family, came to Australia from … Continue reading Monash Arts welcomes the first Monash Asylum Seeker Bursary recipient
Place and Character: Monash Prize judge Mridula Chakraborty on what she loves to see in new literature
We recently chatted to Monash Undergraduate Prize for Creative Writing judge (and Monash academic) Mridula … Continue reading Place and Character: Monash Prize judge Mridula Chakraborty on what she loves to see in new literature
Monash Media Lab Launch Social Media Round-Up
[View the story “#MonashMediaLab Launch” on Storify] Find out more Read more about the launch … Continue reading Monash Media Lab Launch Social Media Round-Up
A big deal: Global Studies students at Womensphere Conference, New York
For the two Monash students it was a first to be mixing with a group of such high profile business leaders, politicians, entrepreneurs, academics, philanthropists, artists and musicians – but they soon felt welcome.
Literary Commons brings inter-cultural Indigenous writing to Melbourne
Literary Commons plays on the idea of ‘commons’, the space where communities and cultures share … Continue reading Literary Commons brings inter-cultural Indigenous writing to Melbourne
New York bound: Global Discovery Program applications now open
The trip of a lifetime awaits eight talented Monash students who will wing their way … Continue reading New York bound: Global Discovery Program applications now open