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Tasmanian Aboriginal oral histories from the early twentieth to early twenty-first centuries
In 1908, English gentleman Ernest Westlake sailed to Tasmania and removed over 13,000 Indigenous stone artefacts. As he collected, Westlake interviewed over 100 Tasmanians, many of them Indigenous, creating the richest archival source of Tasmanian Aboriginal culture and language dating from the early twentieth century. Non-Indigenous scholars dismissed Westlake’s interviewees as inauthentic subjects. In 2017 book Into the Heart of Tasmania, Rebe Taylor re-presented Westlake’s interviews as evidence of an enduring of Tasmanian Aboriginal (Pakana) Community.
In 2019, Pakana woman, Zoe Rimmer embarked on a higher research degree at the University of Tasmania. Zoe’s thesis investigates why European collectors removed Tasmanian Aboriginal material culture and human remains and transported them to museums. Using oral history interviews, Zoe will create the first comprehensive history of her Community’s campaign to ensure the safe return of Ancestors’ remains and cultural artefacts to Country.
In this panel session, historian Professor Kate Darian-Smith, an expert in museum, heritage and memory studies, leads a discussion with Zoe Rimmer and Rebe Taylor on the changes in recording Tasmanian Aboriginal oral histories since the early twentieth century. These changes include methodological approaches; technological advances, and the increasing consideration of ethics and protocols for creating of oral history interviews with Aboriginal community members and for depositing and accessing those records in archives.
Publication titleThe 2021 OHA Biennial Panel Session
Pagination1 piece- abstract
Department/SchoolCollege Office - College of Arts, Law and Education
PublisherOral History Australia
Place of publicationAustralia
Event titleOHA Biennial Panel Session
Event VenueLaunceston, Tasmania