Australian Aboriginal Studies Journal

Australian Aboriginal Studies Issue 1, 2016

Editors: Dr Lawrence Bamblett and Dr Lisa Strelein

Australian Aboriginal Studies is an interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal promoting high-quality research in Australian Indigenous studies, with a focus on the humanities and social sciences. It is published for a wide audience in both print and digital form, and visual content is encouraged.

Individuals, organisations and students can subscribe to Australian Aboriginal Studies. Standing orders are available for organisations.

You can access individual papers online via Informit.

Australian Aboriginal Studies Issue 1, 2016 Cover

Major articles

Homelessness, homelands, human rights — Anita Heiss

This paper is an edited version of the Human Rights Oration presented at the Sofitel Hotel in Melbourne on 10 December 2015.

Stones and grinding: Wagiman ethnogeology — Mark Harvey

Abstract: An extensive research literature focuses on stone as an instrument in, and output of, manufacturing processes, including substantial literature in ethnoarchaeology which reports and analyses manufacturing processes from the perspective of people with knowledge of these processes. By contrast, there is a dearth of literature on either stone as an input to manufacturing or on stone in other contexts. There has been no examination to determine if there are systematic subclass oppositions within stone terminologies and, if so, which parameters these oppositions reflect. Developing an overall understanding of stone terminology — ethnogeology — will advance analysis of the conceptualisation of both raw materials and manufacturing in hunter-gatherer economies. Wagiman stone terminology is presented as a detailed example.

Gender, internet and computer access in remote Central Australian Aboriginal contexts — Eleanor Hogan

Abstract: Young Aboriginal women account for the largest and most enthusiastic group of users in the Home Internet Project, which trialled household internet and computer technology access for the first time in three very remote Central Australian communities. Over a two-and-a-half year period researchers regularly employed a life events survey to examine the impacts that internet access might have on community members’ everyday lives. Women, especially younger ones, emerged as the main users, managing access to the computers within individual households and performing activities online for other family members. These findings counter trends that gender digital divide researchers originally observed of men and boys as ‘early adopters’ and greater users of digital technology. They are also the reverse of those from a study of Papunya’s shared computing facility that found young men predominated as users. This paper explores the implications of gender identification with particular social spaces — the household in the small communities and the shared facility at Papunya — for digital inclusion in remote Aboriginal contexts. A further dimension of this research is how the association not only of space but of human resources, roles and activities, with different social groups, may impact the equity of internet and computer access and usage within remote Aboriginal communities.

Ngalak koora koora djinang (Looking back together): a Nyoongar and scientifice collaborative history of ancient Nyoongar boodja - Francesca Robertson, Glen Stasiuk, Noel Nannup and Stephen Hopper

Abstract: The Synergies of Meaning Research Project, based at Kurongkurl Katitjin, Edith Cowan University, constructs a working relationship between traditional Aboriginal knowledge and Western natural and social scientific knowledge. The aim is to find ways of going forward together. One recently completed focus, Nyoongar Boodja, required the development of a collaborated timeline of the formation of Nyoongar land. Cooperative inquiry and research of narrative methods were used. Eleven eras are identified, with the focus of the first eight being land from (1) The Nyetting (The cold, dark time = Permian ice ages 350 million years ago) to (8) Wardanaak boodja (The Holocene flood, 7000 years ago). Astonishing resonances between the knowledge sets were discovered. This coincidence of Nyoongar-inherited lore with Western scientific discoveries about the evolution of Nyoongar boodja highlights the value of walking together, cross-culturally, seeking synergies of meaning.

An investigation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men’s learning through Men’s sheds in Australia — Jillian Cavanagh, Amie Shaw and Timothy Bartram

Abstract: This study builds on understandings of how learning occurs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men in Men’s Groups and Sheds across Australia. Wenger’s (1998) model of mutual engagement, joint enterprise and shared repertoire provides the theoretical framework to underpin this study. Qualitative methods are presented and analysed; methods comprise yarning circles (focus groups) and semi-structured interviews with 15 groups and 45 men. Findings reveal that Men’s Groups and Sheds provide a safe and conducive environment for men to yarn and learn new skills about educational, employment and economic matters and enhance their social learning and ability to reconnect with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander traditions and culture. Men’s Groups and Sheds are a unique and culturally sensitive way to provide Indigenous men with the skills that may lead to employment. The improvement of the social determinants of Indigenous men’s lives is critical to enhancing their employability.

Beyond equality: the place of Aboriginal culture in the Australian game of football — Barry Judd and Tim Butcher

Abstract: This paper provides an overview of Aboriginal interventions in the sport of Australian (Rules) Football in the period since the formation of the Australian Football League (AFL) in 1990. Recalling several pivotal events that have defined and redefined the relationship between Aboriginal people and the Australian game of football, this paper finds that the struggle to end on-field racial vilification in the 1990s attracted widespread support from the overwhelmingly non-Aboriginal public because these actions were consistent with the political principle of equality. The key actions of Nicky Winmar and Michael Long gained general appeal because they demanded that Aboriginal people be treated as though they were Anglo-Australians. In this regard, the 1990s fight against on-field racism in the AFL was a continuation of the Aboriginal struggle for rights associated with Australian citizenship. As the 1967 Commonwealth referenda on Aborigines demonstrated, most Anglo-Australians understood and supported the political principle of equality even though the promise of citizenship in substantive improvements to social and economic outcomes almost 50 years later remains largely unfulfilled.

Nevertheless, in the recently concluded 2015 AFL season, Adam Goodes, the most highly decorated Aboriginal man to play the sport at the highest level, was effectively booed into retirement. Goodes became a controversial and largely disliked figure in the sport when he used the public honour of being 2014 Australian of the Year to highlight the disadvantage and historical wrongs that continue to adversely impact Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their communities. This paper argues that Goodes effectively sought to shift the paradigm of Aboriginal struggle beyond the sympathetic notions of racism and equal treatment to issues of historical fact that imply First Nations rights associated with cultural practice. Goodes’ career initiates a new discussion about the place that Aboriginal cultures, traditions and understandings might have in the sport today. His decision to perform an Aboriginal war dance demonstrates that the new paradigm we propose is primarily about the political principle of difference, not equality.

Research report

Finding Aboriginal lives in United Kingdom museum collections: artefacts from the 1868 Aboriginal cricket tour of England — Gaye Sculthorpe

About the journal

Australian Aboriginal Studies is an interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal promoting high-quality research in Australian Indigenous studies, with a focus on the humanities and social sciences. It is published for a wide audience in both print and digital form, and visual content is encouraged.

The journal acts as a forum for dialogue about the key themes in the disciplines involved with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research. It is networked to multiple universities and research centres, and includes practical research with policy relevance.

Each issue contains several scholarly articles, accompanied by research reports and book reviews. All major articles are peer-reviewed and copyedited for publication. Australian Aboriginal Studies is abstracted in the following databases: AIATSIS Indigenous Studies Bibliography, Informit APAFT (Australian Public Affairs Full Text) database and Indigenous Collection, EBSCO Academic Search Complete and Australia/New Zealand Reference Centre and ProQuest.

Australian Aboriginal Studies is also comprehensively indexed with full text in the Informit APAFT database and Indigenous Collection, EBSCO Academic Search Complete and Australia/New Zealand Reference Centre databases and ProQuest.

Editorial Advisory Board

The Editorial Advisory Board of Australian Aboriginal Studies includes eminent international and national scholars in a range of disciplines.

The Australian Aboriginal Studies journal editorial advisory board ensures that each issue of the journal meets the inter-disciplinary, peer-reviewed standard expected by its subscribers.
The current editorial board consists of:

  • Prof Fred Myers, NY University, USA
  • Dr Melinda Hinkson, ANU
  • Prof Robert Layton, University of Durham, UK
  • Dr Anthea-Jo Taylor, Edith Cowan University
  • Professor Howard Morphy, ANU
  • Toni Bauman, AIATSIS
  • Dr Patrick Sullivan, The University of Notre Dame Australia
  • Dr Lorraine Gibson, Macquarie University
  • Professor Tim Rowse, UWS
  • Dr Barbara Glowczewski, CNRS, France
  • Professor John Taylor, ANU
  • Associate Professor Pat Dudgeon, UWA
  • Dr Yin Paradies, University of  Melbourne
  • Jeanie Bell, Batchelor Institute for Indigenous Tertiary Education
  • Professor Martin Nakata, UNSW
  • Dr Gaye Sculthorpe, the British Museum
  • Professor John Maynard, University of Newcastle
  • Professor Lynette Russell, Monash University
  • Professor Mick Dodson, ANU
  • Professor Colleen Hayward, Edith Cowan University
  • Dr Graeme Ward, AIATSIS
  • Professor Francoise Dussart, University of Connecticut, USA
  • Professor Lester Irabinna Rigney, Flinders University

Contributing to the journal

Referencing examples
Writing an abstract


To submit a paper please read our information for contributors. Contact us for more detailed information about content or style at

Please ensure your submission adheres to the guidelines below.

Send all submissions to


All major articles will be peer reviewed. Research reports, comments, book reviews and review articles will be copy-edited but not peer reviewed.


  • Research articles can be no longer than 10,000 words; preferred length is 5000 to 6000 words.
  • Research reports: up to 3000 words.
  • Comments, book reviews and review articles: up to 1500 words.


Because the journal is multidisciplinary, we urge authors to write using the principles of plain English where possible to allow their work to be understood by a wide audience.
Refer to the Aboriginal Studies Press - Publishing Style guide for Authors and Editors.

What to include

Article submissions should include an abstract, a short biographical note, and a contact address - including an email address.

Style and formatting

Text and tables

Please submit your content as an electronic file in Microsoft Word format. Use the Word default margins in A4, with the font set to 12pt Times New Roman, and use double-spacing throughout.


  • lllustrations should not be included in the body of the text. Instead, include an instruction about where to include the image, with the illustrations provided as separate low-res files, TIFF, EPS or JPEG. (High-res files will be required from you at the point of printing).
  • Provide captions for all illustrations, including the artist’s name, medium, date and name/s of copyright holder/s.
  • Single column images must be at least 73mm wide, double column images at least 152mm wide.
  • All scanned images should be at appropriate size and at 300dpi or higher.
  • Preferably no stippling/shading is to be used in figures (e.g. maps).

Referencing system

The AAS uses the name–date (Harvard) system. Textual references should include the name of the author/s and the year of publication (e.g. Neale and Kleinert 2000). All directly quoted material should include relevant page number/s (e.g. Neale and Kleinert 2000:69–70). All references are then listed alphabetically and in full at the end of the article. Please see our page of referencing examples to make sure your references meet the AAS referencing system.

Copyright clearances

Once material is accepted for publication, authors are responsible for obtaining permission to include any third party copyright material (for example, text, photos, tables, graphs). Permissions should be for the same use as stipulated in your author’s agreement for publication. Before you submit your material, double-check you have met your copyright obligations:


Australian Aboriginal Studies
GPO Box 553
Canberra ACT 2601
P: 02 6246 1162 | 02 6261 4251

Referencing examples

Following are examples of the AAS referencing style.


  • Anonymous 1994 Creative Nation: Commonwealth Cultural Policy, Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.
  • Neale, Margo and Sylvia Kleinert (eds) 2000 Oxford Companion to Aboriginal Art and Culture. Oxford University Press.
  • Turpin, Myfany and Alison Ross 2004 Awelye Akwelye: Kaytetye women’s songs from Arnerre, Central Australia. Papulu Apparr-kari Language and Culture Centre, Tennant Creek (Audio CD with scholarly notes).

Articles in journals

  • Garde, Murray 2006 ‘The language of Kun-borrk in western Arnhem Land’. Musicology Australia 28:59-89.
  • Toner, Peter 2000 ‘Ideology, influence and innovation: the impact of Macassan contact on Yolngu music’. Perfect Beat 5(1):22–41.

Articles in edited books

  • Payne, Helen E 1989 ‘Rites for sites or sites for rites? The dynamics of women’s cultural life in the Musgraves’. In P Brock (ed.) Women, Rites and Sites: Aboriginal women’s cultural knowledge. Allen & Unwin, Melbourne pp.41–59.
  • Smith, Claire E 1991 ‘Female artists: the unrecognised factor in sacred rock art production’. In P Bahn and A Rosenfeld (eds) Rock art and prehistory. Papers presented to symposium G of the AURA Congress, Darwin 1988. Oxbow Books, Oxford (Monograph 10) pp.45-52.

Unpublished papers and presentations

  • Blythe, Joe and Michael Walsh 2006 ‘Murriny Patha song language and its relation to the “everyday” language’. Presentation to the Third Oxford-Kobe Linguistics Seminar, ‘The Linguistics of Endangered Languages’, Kobe, Japan, 4 April 2006.
  • Gillespie, Danny 1974 Documentation of the work AAB 534 of the Maningrida Arts and Crafts Collection held at the National Museum of Australia, letter to Bob Edwards of AIAS dated July 1974.
  • Pilling, Arnold 1958 Law and Feud in an Aboriginal Society of North Australia. Unpublished Doctoral thesis, University of California, Berkeley.

Web citations should include the date that the item was viewed

  • Crow, Kelly 2007 ‘A work in progress: Buying art on the Web – Saatchi Online offers a view of nascent internet market’ The Wall Street Journal 10 October 2007 <> accessed 14 April 2008.
  • Tatz, Colin 2005 ‘From Welfare to Treaty: reviewing fifty years of Aboriginal policy and practice’. In GK Ward and A Muckle (eds) ‘The Power of Knowledge, the Resonance of Tradition’. Electronic publication of papers from the AIATSIS Indigenous Studies conference, September 2001. AIATSIS, Canberra.

Writing an abstract

Following these five simple guidelines for structure and content will help you to ensure that your abstract can be understood by a wide audience.


  • Indicate the ways in which your research approaches and methodologies are underpinned by ethical decision-making.


  • Explain the purpose of your study/paper.
  • Ideally in one sentence, state the primary objectives and scope of the study or the reasons why the document was written.
  • Also state the rationale for your research. Why did you do the research? Is the topic you are researching an ignored or newly discovered one?


  • Clearly state the techniques or approaches used in your study.
  • For papers concerned with non-experimental work (such as those in the humanities, some social sciences and the fine arts) describe your sources and your use/interpretation of the sources.


  • Describe your findings, the data collected and the effects observed as informatively and concisely as possible.
  • If these results are experimental or theoretical, note it.
  • Give special priority to new and verified findings that contradict previous theories. Mention any limits to the accuracy or reliability of your findings.


  • Describe the implications of the results — why the results of your research are important to your field — and how they relate to your investigation’s purpose.
  • Include recommendations, suggestions and both rejected and accepted hypotheses if appropriate.

Past issues

Past issues of the Australian Aboriginal Studies journal are held in our collection. We offer a document supply service for remote users who require copying from our print collection.

Alternatively you can purchase copies of past issues through Aboriginal Studies Press. 


Subscription rates are available for individuals, students, organisations and AIATSIS members. Institutions can place a standing order.

How to subscribe

Subscribe to Australian Aboriginal Studies Journalby completing the subscription form, then emailing the form to

Order past issues

Please contact us to order copies of past issues.
P: 02 6246 1183


The Institute now has a policy in place which allows authors to deposit accepted AAS journal papers in institutional or subject repositories after a period of 12 months from publication. Accepted papers are defined as post peer-review but prior to publisher copy-editing or issue assignment.

Authors are required to acknowledge the source of publication when depositing their accepted papers.