University Of Tasmania
151408 - Gwoja Tjungurrayi.pdf (3.42 MB)
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Gwoja Tjungurrayi as 'one pound Jimmy': Aboriginalia in the post

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 10:01 authored by Paige GleesonPaige Gleeson
Postage stamps act as 'tiny transmitters' of nationalist and colonial ideology due both to their capacity for movement and as sites of official, state sanctioned visual propaganda. The representation of Aboriginal people and motifs on stamps in mid-twentieth-century Australia are visual clues that reference shifts in thinking about nation-building from the interwar to the postwar period. Stamps provide a concentrated visual snapshot of the tense and unstable positioning of Aboriginal people both within settler imagination and the Australian nation during this period of change. Changing understandings of the place of Aboriginal people within Australia resulted in the proliferation of visual representations that drew upon earlier colonial visual language, and hence images of Aboriginal Australians form their own moving historical trajectory, as mobile as the postage stamps on which they came to feature. This article seeks to trace the genealogy of this representational flux through analysis of the images of Aboriginality that featured on postage stamps, as well as exploring the unique interaction of government and popular influence on the postage stamp as form. It uncovers a previously unknown image of the historically significant Aboriginal Australian man Gwoja Tjungurrayi, whose likeness features on the Australian two dollar coin.


Publication title

Aboriginal History










School of Humanities


Australian National University Press

Place of publication


Rights statement

Copyright the author and Aboriginal History Inc 2020.

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Expanding knowledge in history, heritage and archaeology; Expanding knowledge in Indigenous studies