Donald Thomson In Arnhem Land

Donald Thomson In Arnhem Land

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Anthropologist Donald Thomson sought a government commission to investigate the grievances of Yolngu men gaoled for killing Japanese pearl fishermen who had raped several Yolngu women in 1932. In 1932, Japanese pearl fishermen came ashore in the Caledon Bay area of Arnhem Land and raped several Yolngu women. The Yolngu retaliated, fatally spearing five of the fishermen. They were sent to Fanny Bay Gaol in Darwin, sentenced to death and the Federal Government proposed a punitive expedition to 'teach the Aborigines a lesson'. In response, Donald Thomson, a Melbourne-born and trained anthropologist with three expeditions to Cape York behind him, sought a government commission to investigate the grievances of the condemned men. A year later he finally secured their freedom, and returned with them to their own country. Thomson recorded his experiences in newspaper articles, reports to the government and private papers and in his own superb photography. Author Nicolas Peterson brings this material together in a compelling narrative that describes a white man's quest for justice and the Yolngu people's struggle for control of their own destinies.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 245 pages
  • 182.9 x 248.9 x 25.4mm | 725.76g
  • Melbourne University Press
  • Carlton, Australia
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • 2 maps, 120 b&w photos, 16line drawings
  • 0522850634
  • 9780522850635

Review quote

"'I had lived and hunted with these people, accompanied them on their nomadic wanderings and learned their customs and their languages with the result that I understood and believed in them and resented the injustices under which they had suffered for so long at the hands of the white man and other invaders of their territory.'--Donald Thomson"
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