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.
First Australians lived through the Ice Age: what must we learn for our future?
For over 60,000 years Aboriginal Australians lived and thrived in the Australian landscape. They had … Continue reading First Australians lived through the Ice Age: what must we learn for our future?
Dr Sharman Stone new patron of Monash University’s Gender, Peace and Security Centre
The international profile of Monash University’s Gender, Peace and Security (GPS) Centre is set for … Continue reading Dr Sharman Stone new patron of Monash University’s Gender, Peace and Security Centre
“Legacies of resistance we need to act upon”: PhD candidate Matteo Dutto
Sometimes dubbed the ‘black Ned Kelly’, Jandamarra of the Bunuba nation is an iconic figure in the history of Australian … Continue reading “Legacies of resistance we need to act upon”: PhD candidate Matteo Dutto
Monash University appoints new Dean, Faculty of Arts
An internationally recognised expert in criminology and winner of numerous awards including in human rights has been appointed as Monash University’s Dean, Faculty of Arts, following an extensive global search.
How does a play further human health? Interview with Head of Theatre & Performance Jane Montgomery-Griffiths
Associate Professor Jane Montgomery Griffiths is driving a new research project, funded by the Monash/Warwick Alliance, to investigate … Continue reading How does a play further human health? Interview with Head of Theatre & Performance Jane Montgomery-Griffiths
Making a mark in AFL and life: BA alum Emma Race
Arts alum Emma Race, producer and host of the groundbreaking Outer Sanctum Podcast shares what the freedom of an Arts … Continue reading Making a mark in AFL and life: BA alum Emma Race
The global opportunities with Arts at Monash
Arts/Law (2012) graduate Sarah Holloway co-founded Matcha Maiden, a global e-commerce organic matcha powder supplier, … Continue reading The global opportunities with Arts at Monash
Calvin Fung’s winning short story and research
Calvin won the Monash University entry for his short story, ‘The Beggar and the Glimpse’, … Continue reading Calvin Fung’s winning short story and research
Part II: Raising the political stakes with Jeanne d’Arc and Dr Ali Alizadeh
I think truth is something we, artists and scientists alike, are all interested in in … Continue reading Part II: Raising the political stakes with Jeanne d’Arc and Dr Ali Alizadeh
Part I: Raising the political stakes with Jeanne d’Arc and Dr Ali Alizadeh
Jeanne d’Arc (Joan of Arc)’s controversial life and death are being depicted in a comprehensive … Continue reading Part I: Raising the political stakes with Jeanne d’Arc and Dr Ali Alizadeh
2017 Green Room Best Actor winner awarded to Monash Professor
Theatre-maker and Director of Monash’s Centre for Theatre and Performance, Associate Professor Jane Montgomery-Griffiths, has … Continue reading 2017 Green Room Best Actor winner awarded to Monash Professor
Speaking the language of us
In 18 months, about 60 people from 30 different nationalities who speak 40 languages in … Continue reading Speaking the language of us