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.
Peter Singer: The Most Good You Can Do
The Most Good You Can Do: How Effective Altruism Is Changing Ideas about Living Ethically Hosted … Continue reading Peter Singer: The Most Good You Can Do
State of imprisonment: Victoria is leading the nation backwards
by Dr Marie Segrave, Dr Anna Eriksson and Emma Russell This article is part of The Conversation’s series, State … Continue reading State of imprisonment: Victoria is leading the nation backwards
Registrations open for 5th ACFID University Network Conference
Monash University, in partnership with ACFID, is hosting the 5th ACFID University Network Conference on … Continue reading Registrations open for 5th ACFID University Network Conference
Monash at the Malthouse Podcast: ‘Nothing to Lose’
Last month, Monash took part in a panel discussion at the Malthouse Theatre on body … Continue reading Monash at the Malthouse Podcast: ‘Nothing to Lose’
All things being equal
Are we making headway in getting greater women’s participation in Asia-Pacific politics? by Jacqui True … Continue reading All things being equal
Monash student wins Melbourne Press Club Student Journalist of the Year
Monash University’s Jenan Taylor has won the Melbourne Press Club’s 2014 Student Journalist of the … Continue reading Monash student wins Melbourne Press Club Student Journalist of the Year
A new degree sets new horizons
The Bachelor of Global Studies was officially launched last month by Dr Simon Adams, Executive Director … Continue reading A new degree sets new horizons
Apply now to study in Italy, New York or Indonesia this year
Monash Arts offers students a number of opportunities to make their study experience an international … Continue reading Apply now to study in Italy, New York or Indonesia this year
Monash academics draft working paper on ‘Women in Politics’
Monash Academics from the School of Social Sciences, Professor Jacqui True, Dr Swati Parashar and … Continue reading Monash academics draft working paper on ‘Women in Politics’
Joint PhD program offers global research opportunities for philosophy student
Thomas Ryan is the first Monash University student to study at the University of Warwick … Continue reading Joint PhD program offers global research opportunities for philosophy student
Musical Symposium Hits High Note
The first international symposium on the Malay musical arts of the Riau Islands (also know … Continue reading Musical Symposium Hits High Note
Bachelor of Global Studies to be launched this year
Monash Arts will be offering the Bachelor of Global Studies for the first time in … Continue reading Bachelor of Global Studies to be launched this year