The Anatomy of a Relationship: Doing archaeology
The Anatomy of a Relationship: Doing archaeology with an Indigenous community on a former mission
– A case study at Point Pearce, South Australia
Susanne Montana Jones
A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the degree of Bachelor of Archaeology with Honours in Archaeology
Department of Archaeology
School of Humanities
Flinders University of South Australia
The Point Pearce community and Narungga peoples of Yorke Peninsula, South
To the quest for better relationships
Table of Contents
Candidates Declaration …………………………………………………….vii
Acknowledgements ………………………………………………………… .ix
Chapter 1 Introduction …………………………………………………..1
1.0 Introduction …………………………………1
1.1 Research Aims and Objectives ……………………………………1
1.2 Significance of Research ………………………………………….1
1.3 Location of Study Area ……………………………………………….4
1.4 Point Pearce Today ………………………………………………………5
1.5 Formal Application Process for research ……………………………...6
1.6 My Research Approach …………………………………………………..7
1.7 Outline of Thesis Chapter ……………………………………………….8
Chapter 2 History of region ……………………………………………….10
2.0 Introduction ……………………………………………………………..10
2.1 Narungga Culture ………………………………………………………..10
2.2 Pre 1836 Encounters with Europeans ……………………………….. 12
2.2.1 Historic Background of Yorke Peninsula …………………… 13
2. 3 Historic Background of Point Pearce ……………………………….15
2.3.1 Pre-mission Period (1864-1868) ………………………………15
2.3.2 Mission Establishment and Development (1868-1880) ……… 19
2.3.3 Changes in Mission Management Focus (1880-1911) ………..20
2.3.3 State Government intervention and Management (1911-1969) .. 21
2.3.4 Self Management (1969-2009) …………………………….. 23
2.4 Conclusion ……………………………………………………………….24
Chapter 3 The Anatomy of a Relationship …………………………….. 26
3.0 Introduction ………………………………………………………………26
3.1 The Human Face of Archaeology …………………………………….. 26
3.2 Relationship Building with Point Pearce …………………………….. 28
3.2.1 The Development of the Relationship ……………………….. 28
3.2.2 The Consolidation of the Relationship ……………………….. 30
3.3 The Relationship from a Personal Perspective ………………………… 30
3.4 Conclusion ………………………………………………………………32
Chapter 4 Of Fringe Camps, Missions and Relationships ……………….33
4.0 Introduction …………………………………………………….. 33
4.1 Archaeology of Fringe Camps – An overview …………………………. 33
4.2 Of missions and relationships …………………………………………. 34
4.2.1 Mission Constructs – Historic European Perspective ……….. 35
4.2.2 Mission Constructs – (Possible) Indigenous Perspectives …… 36
4.3 Mission Interactions …………………………………………………… 36
4.3.1 The Indigenous/Indigenous framework ……………………… 37
4.3.2 The Indigenous/Colonizer framework ……………………….. 38
4.3.3 The Colonizer/Colonizer framework ………………………… 39
4.4 Previous archaeology investigations of South Australian Mission Sites . 40
4.5 Previous archaeology investigations of Point Pearce Mission Site …….. 44
4.6 Conclusion ……………………………………………………………… 44
Chapter 5 Methodology
Fringe Camps on and around missions …….45
5.0 Introduction ………………………………………………………….45
5.1 Oral History ……………………………………………………………..45
5.2 Historical and Archival Research …………………………………. 46
5.3 Site Surveys ……………………………………………………….. 46
5.3.1 Wadgedin Scrub ……………………………………… 46
5.3.2 Hollywood ……………………………………………… 47
5.4 Limitations of Research ……………………………………… 47
Chapter 6 Results ………………………………………………………….49
6.0 Introduction …………………………………………………………..49
6.1 Wadgedin Scrub ……………………………………………………… 49
6.2 Survey of Little Wadgedin …………………………………………….50
6.2.1 Site Disturbance Processes at Little Wadgedin …………… 55
6.3 Survey of Big Wadgedin …………………………………………..57
6.3.1 Site Disturbance Processes at Big Wadgedin ………………. 59
6.4 Survey of Hollywood ………………………………………………….60
6.4.1 Site Disturbance Processes at Hollywood ………………… 60
6.5 Conclusion …………………………………………………………… 61
Chapter 7 Discussion …………………………………………………… 62
7.0 Introduction ………………………………………………………62
7.1 Guidelines for working with Indigenous communities ……………….. 62
7.2 The Relevance of Research to an Indigenous community …………… 63
7.3 How the Relation can define the Archaeological Process …………… 64
7.4 Future Directions ……………………………………………. 67
Chapter 8 Conclusion ……………………………………………………71
8.0 Conclusion …………………………………………………………… 71
List of Figures
Figure 1.1 Yorke Peninsula and Point Pearce
Figure 2.1 Mission huts and wurleys at Point Pearce
Figure 6.1 Mud map of Wadgedin Scrub
Figure 6.2 Mud map of Little Wadgedin
Figure 6.3 Corner of Building 1.
Figure 6.4 Cement floor at Little Wadgedin
Figure 6.5 Wombat burrow at Little Wadgedin
Figure 6.6 Mud map of Big Wadgedin
Figure 6.7 Current rubbish dump at Big Wadgedin
Figure 7.1 Material from former black smith shop
List of Appendices
Appendix Ethics Committee approval 80
Appendix Point Pearce Community Council letter of approval 81
Appendix Oral History Interview – Irene Agius 82
I certify that this thesis does not incorporate without acknowledgment any material previously submitted for a degree or diploma in any university; and that to the best of my knowledge and belief it does not contain any material previously published or written by another person except where due reference is made in the text.
Susanne Montana Jones, BArch
Department of Archaeology
School of Humanities
Flinders University of South Australia
Adelaide, South Australia
Every Honours archaeology project represents a unique journey involving many people and situations along the pathway to completion. I would like to start by acknowledging Jane Lydon for providing the inspiration to begin this journey. I am indebted to my supervisors, Heather Burke and Lynley Wallis for taking me on as a student and providing direction, trust and inspiration. In a more generalized sense, I am very grateful to every person involved in past archaeology projects on former mission sites for their research efforts.
At the heart of this project is the collective Aboriginal (Australian) community of Point Pearce and by association all peoples of the Narungga Nation. Their willingness to embark on this project is an expression of trust for which I treasure. The mutual desire to continue the relationship is precious and I thank them for encouraging me to complete this thesis. The first people I met at Point
Pearce were Lynette Newchurch and Rex. We were strangers to each other but something ‘clicked’ and we hugged on leave taking. In my own mind, I mark this occasion as the real start of my relationship with the Point Pearce community. Thank you so much for a wonderful first meeting and more. Big hugs.
A BIG ‘thank you’ to the Point Pearce Community Council, the Point Pearce
Heritage Committee and the Point Pearce community for your time and willingness to engage. Thank you for enriching my life. More specifically, thank you to Bessie and Ernie Buckskin and their family, Lanie Newchurch for her very special input and more, Claire Smith for the special sharing of herself, food, time and more, Irene Agius for the wonderful interest and more, Quenten
Agius, Raymond Wanganeen, Monique (formerly Smith) and all the young people involved in cooking. Also ‘thank you’ to Michael Wanganeen and
Narungga Aboriginal Progress Association for your timely assistance. I would also like to extend my appreciation to Lydia Rankine, Skye Krichauff, Klynton
Wanganeen, David Hill and Andrew Wilson. I would further like to thank
Katherine and her parents Helen and Don for taking me on my first visit to Point
Pearce. Thank you for taking care of me.
In relation to family, I was given unconditional and loving support by my husband, Greg, and shoulder massages by our son Chaa – thank you. When my laptop was stolen, my sister and her husband, Vickie and Lionel came to the rescue with another lap top – thank you.
A general ‘thank you’ goes to staff and students within the Flinders University
Department of Archaeology and library for all of your support.
A special ‘thank you’ also to the various people who gave of their time and knowledge on the journey. They include archivists, librarians and academics from other universities, historians and government departments. Their input contributed to the shaping of this research.
Finally, I would like to publicly acknowledge the contributions of every
Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal person associated with Yorke Peninsula in any way at any time. It is a special region.
GLOSSARY OF TERMS
Aborigine or Aboriginal: These terms are used to describe people who identify themselves as Aboriginal and in accordance with the wishes of the representative of the Point Pearce community, the Chairman of the Point Pearce community (Raymond Wanganeen) and as a mark of respect, these terms are used when writing specifically about the Point Pearce people. At all other times, the term ‘Indigenous peoples’ are used. (also see Indigenous peoples )
Adjahdura: See ‘Narungga’.
Bag camp: Another possible term for ‘fringe camp’ used by the Point Pearce community (see Fringe camp)
Community: The concept of ‘community’ is complex. I subscribe to the view that that each community is unique, that definitions of community are as diverse as there are communities, and that no one definition of community can be applied to all cases. In this work it refers to a geographic location (Point Pearce) and the Aboriginal population governed by the mission administration. It also encompasses any individual who perceives themselves as belonging to the Point
Pearce ‘community’ irrespective of whether they live on site or not.
Colonizer: See ‘invader’.
Descendant community: This term is used to describe a group of people in the present who associate themselves with a group of people in the past, socially, politically and economically (Colwell-Chanthaphonh and Ferguson 2008:2).
Fringe camp: The physical space which Indigenous peoples reclaimed by squatting and taking occupancy (Smith and Beck 2003:66). (see Bag Camp)
Goonya: This is a Narungga word referring to non-Aboriginal people usually of
European descent (Mattingley and Hampton 1998:xvi).
Indigenous archaeology: In Australia, this generally refers to archaeology about Indigenous cultures. In a wider context and applied by some archaeologists in Australia, it is defined as work done with, for, and by
Indigenous peoples. This research started from the former position and has started shifting towards the latter.
Indigenous peoples: As a mark of respect to all Indigenous peoples, in this paper, when a universal reference is made about Indigenous peoples, this is the term that is used. (see Aborigine and Aboriginal)
Invaders: This term is used to describe the Europeans and other nationalities who encroached on and took over the lands and waters of all Indigenous peoples in Australia.
Mission: The physical environment mission, defined by its boundary and all the land within it as described from the European legal perspective. Though this term is interchangeable with ‘mission station’ or ‘mission reserve’ or ‘reserve’, only this term is used here.
Nunga: This is a word used by Indigenous peoples from southern South
Australia to refer to an ‘Aboriginal person’ or ‘Aboriginal people and is used by
Narungga: This is the current and accepted name used to refer to the Aboriginal peoples of Yorke Peninsula by the Point Pearce Council and the Narungga
Aboriginal Progress Association and is the term used throughout this work. In recognition and respect to some individuals, it is acknowledged here that these people consider that the correct title is that ‘Adjahdura’.
PPC: Point Pearce Community
Wadgedin Scrub: This is the generic name of an area located just on the fringe of Point Pearce. It has two parts that are referred to separately as Big Wadgedin and Little Wadgedin.
This thesis highlights the complexity of the relationship between the researcher of an archaeology project and an Indigenous community living on a former mission site on Yorke Peninsula, South Australia. The relationship was founded in the spirit of reciprocity, by the researcher approaching the community with a request to undertake archaeological research, with the offer to ‘give back’ to the community. The results of the relationship to date reveal the importance of ample time to develop a relationship, uncovers unexpected tensions arising from past interactions with archaeology and positive outcomes for further projects that indicate that there is a need to rethink the importance of the relationship in the practice of archaeology involving Indigenous peoples.
When archaeologists begin a project with an unfamiliar Aboriginal community, the development of their relationship will reflect the purpose for the project – academic research, cultural heritage or native title, and the vested interests in the outcomes of the project. It may also reflect a history of conflict, confusion and distrust between archaeology/ists and Indigenous peoples. In archaeology today, the project process starts with community consultation, continues with effective communication and ends with a careful consideration of the communities needs in relation to their heritage. One important aspect of this process is to develop a relationship with the Indigenous peoples which is recommended and encouraged by the Australian Heritage Commission in their guidelines for respecting
Indigenous heritage places and values – Ask First.
Whilst this methodological framework stresses the importance of the role of the
Indigenous peoples and relevance of the relationship between Indigenous peoples and archaeologists more information about how to do this is needed.
According to the results of a recent qualitative investigation of Indigenous South
Australian perspectives of archaeology, new and structured approaches are required when working with Indigenous communities that challenge and change
xv current ‘taken-for-granted’ practices within the discipline as well as actively addressing tensions arising from past inter/actions. The results of this project confirm these findings. This research approach reflects a commitment to developing a meaningful relationship with Indigenous communities and a more relevant archaeology to Indigenous peoples.
Chapter 1 Introduction
Archaeology is not only an objective science, but one that is dependent upon how we personally approach the discipline. Each of us needs to be very clear not only how we do archaeology, but also why.
In recent years, a major focus in Indigenous archaeology has been the need to develop a more relevant archaeology for Indigenous communities (Nicholas
2003a:114) by forging collaborative relationships with Indigenous communities
(Wobst and Smith 2003:221-222) that incorporate flexibility of all aspects of the research design and practice as well as taking a long-term view of the relationship. This research is about the processes of doing archaeology with a descendant community living on a former mission.
1.1 Research Aims and Objectives
The research aims are to work ethically with the Indigenous community by first presenting them with an archaeological theme that is mutually interesting to both the community and the researcher - identifying historic fringe camps located on and around the mission; and to establish a working relationship based on the principle of reciprocity.
1.2 Significance of Research
If the original aims of the research had unfolded according to normative archaeological practice, the significance of the research would have focused on the primary aim of researching Indigenous perspectives of fringe camps on and around a mission and how this research can provide further insights into the impact of missions on the Indigenous population at different periods to add to the increasing volume of archaeological research in this area (Birmingham 2000;
Griffin 2000), whilst the relationship building activity between myself and the
Point Pearce community would have been a secondary consideration. Instead, within weeks of starting the research, my early experiences with the Aboriginal community of Point Pearce lead to a realignment of the research aims with relationship building becoming the primary aim whilst the archaeology of the fringe camps being a secondary focus. This is not a ‘new’ method to working with a community (Clarke 2002).
In Australia, for some years now, the relationship between the archaeologist and
Indigenous communities has been under review leading to developments in new approaches to how archaeologists work with communities (Nicholas 2001).
There are professional guidelines that outline a standard approach such as the process of community consultation, but these do not address the unique set of experiences and attitudes relating to and emanating from individual communities towards archaeology and archaeologists. Nor does it address the ever present changes resulting from the passage of time in communities, where the experience and composition of Community Councils change and can reflect a lack of experience of working with or directing archaeologists.
When working with Indigenous communities, it is difficult to generalize approaches when each community has a unique composition of histories, social values and location (Nicholas et al. 2008:274). From the archaeological perspective, some successful and on-going relationships share some key approaches that help to address these issues (Meehan 1995:38-40; Field et al.
2000; Moser et al. 2002: Smith and Jackson 2008). These include the motivations of the archaeologist to create more meaningful archaeological practices and interpretations by, with and for Indigenous peoples and the unique nature of each community (Nicholas 2003).Besides ethical considerations for creating more meaningful archaeological theories and practices, other motivations are that it has the potential to enrich the understanding of the
3 archaeological evidence and offers additional access to the local knowledge of archaeological sites (Moser et al. 2002:243).
The adoption of these types of approaches is supported by a recent study of
Indigenous South Australian perspectives of archaeology (Roberts 2003) involved interviewing fifteen Indigenous representatives of Indigenous Nations across South Australia on a range of different topics such as working with archaeologists, the issue of Indigenous control over research using archaeology as reconciliation and archaeology as an Indigenous tool for self-determination.
These topics were explored from supportive and inhibitive points of views of different aspects of working with archaeologists or of archaeology. One compelling validation for the decision I made to focus on the relationship with the community is represented in the following statement from one of the interviewees of this research:
Oh yes there is distrust. There always will be because we got to tell it to our fellas coming up. It makes them so angry.
Be careful what you say you know. – Elaine Newchurch
Elaine Newchurch is an Elder of the Point Pearce community, mother of my
Mentor with the community, and a person I had been spending time with. When
I began to focus on relationship building with the community one of the activities resulted from Elaine expressing the view that a problem on the community was that young people were not connecting with their culture. I suggested some field trips with young people as one way of sharing information.
Soon after one of the field trips, Elaine unexpectedly told me that I was the first archaeologist she had met who was interested in doing cultural things with the community. This was a good thing. It was also Elaine who first told me that I should register the Wadgedin Scrub sites with the Aboriginal Heritage Branch.
At a fundamental level these comments illustrate the significance of this
4 research to an Indigenous community at one level, and to the archaeological community at a broader level where it demonstrates that a focus on developing a productive and meaningful relationship with a community can enhance the archaeological process through changes in attitudes.
An important outcome of the early stages of archaeology research of fringe camps on and around a mission is the need to alert the archaeology community to promote further research into these sites. What has happened to at least one or more fringe camp sites on and around Point Pearce is that they have been destroyed or damaged through land clearance or development practices. This can lead to the position where fringe camps on and around missions become
‘invisible’ in the archaeology record in a similar way to being almost ‘invisible’ the historic record.
Finally, as a South Australian based project, this project is contributing to the practice of archaeology in this region by focusing on the development of a working relationship using a topic that is relevant to the Indigenous community.
1.3 Location of study area
Yorke Peninsula is located in the state of South Australia and is approximately
240km (north-south) by 50km (east-west) in the upper half and about 80km
(east-west) in the southern foot shaped part with a coastline of approximately
520 km. Point Pearce is located on the western side of Yorke Peninsula (Figure
1.1), and was listed with the National Estate Register in 1992 (Place ID. 17802;
Place File No: 3/06/060/0013).
Figure 1.1 Yorke Peninsula and Point Pearce (Archibald 1915)
1.4 Point Pearce today
The Point Pearce community is part of the greater Narungga Nation of Yorke
Peninsula and has its own governing structure consisting of the Point Pearce
Community Council along with several sub-committees including the Heritage
Committee who is responsible for any history or heritage issues relevant to Point
Pearce. On site is the Administration Centre for the Point Pearce Community
Council, a health centre, a lower primary school, a church, associated
6 community centre and a cemetery. The nearest main town centre is Maitland.
The capital city of Adelaide is a two hour drive away and is visited regularly for community business or personal reasons as many Narungga people from Point
Pearce live there. The Point Pearce community is currently building an on site
1.5 Formal applications for research work
Archaeological research involving Aboriginal people necessitates adherence to a formal permission process with a number of institutions, government departments and Aboriginal communities. Ethics approval for this project was provided by Flinders University as Project No. 4139. (Appendix 1.) however approval also had to be obtained from the Point Pearce Aboriginal Community
Council. On my first visit to Point Pearce information about how to go about the process of obtaining permission and to whom the application should be addressed was first provided by two initial contacts and later confirmed by the secretary to the Community Council. The process involved submitting a written application to the Point Pearce Community Council. Once the application was approved (Appendix 2.), the Council nominated a mentor, Lynette Newchurch and directed me to the Chairman of the Point Pearce Heritage Committee,
Quenten Agius, for further assistance.
There was also one relevant government body which was approached for research data. This was the Aboriginal Heritage Branch (Aboriginal Affairs and
Reconciliation Division, Department for Premier and Cabinet, South Australia), for all information about heritage issues related to Point Pearce (and the
Narungga Nation), including previous archaeological surveys. This application process required Point Pearce Community Council approval before I could access any information relevant to the community. The Aboriginal Heritage
Branch forwarded information about archaeological surveys of Yorke Peninsula conducted by Wood and Westell (1998), because of relevance to Point Pearce.
The State Records loaned a copy of indexed correspondence in relation to Point
Pearce between 1866-1896 and 1907.
1.6 My research approach
….archaeologists may be hesitant to share accounts (at least in print) of the travails they have endured. This is unfortunate, because it may mean that others have to make the same mistakes at a period in our discipline’s development in which success stories are more valuable than failures.
(Nicholas et al. 2008:275)
Since the 1990s archaeologists have increasingly incorporated an autobiographical approach or self reflexive methodology when writing about archeology projects and in Australia, archaeologists have been increasing adopting this approach to their work (Field et al 2000:35; Roberts 2003:12-18).
According to George Nicholas (2003:12), the archaeologist has a responsibility to acknowledge themselves in the archaeological process for two main reasons; the past and the present are different aspects of the same thing because the ‘part’ cannot exist apart from the present; and in identifying themselves, the archaeologist puts their interpretations about the past into a context of possible influential socio-political biases. A further argument for using this approach is that by adopting a critical awareness of current practice it can lead to further productive changes in those practices (Burke et al. 1994).
An incidental consideration for using this approach here is to address the needs of tertiary students of archaeology for more information about experiences of other students in working with Indigenous communities. Though there are insightful and inspiring examples of archaeologists working with Indigenous communities
(Nicholas et al.2008; Smith and Jackson 2008), these tend to reflect years of archaeology experience with these communities and are not representative of the archaeology students position of little or no experience in working with
Indigenous communities. There are few stories of what it was like when first starting work in this area. One example is the article about an archaeological project on Groote Eylandt, Northern Australia (Clarke 2002), where the writer describes the process of working with an Indigenous community with a focus on the areas of communication, social practice and cultural transformation as a method of sharing the experience. Clarke also positions herself as an apprentice undergoing an ‘archaeological apprenticeship’.
The reflexive approach used in this work is intended to provide insights from one student’s experiences with building a productive relationship with Indigenous communities that may contribute to the experiences of other students in this area.
1.7 Outline of thesis chapters
Chapter 2. This chapter provides a background to the study region. It examines the contact history of the region in general and outlines the phases of the former mission. Finally, it provides a background for identifying fringe camps on and around the former mission.
Chapter 3. This chapter focuses on the relationship building aspect of doing archaeology with a community in two parts. The first part provides an overview of the relationship in Indigenous archaeology followed in the second part by a description of the formation of the relationship between myself and Point
Chapter 4. This chapter outlines how fringe camps can develop on and around missions from the perspective of relationships.
Chapter 5. In this chapter, a brief outline of the methods used to survey is presented.
Chapter 6. The results of the surveys of Wadgedin Scrub and Hollywood are outlined along with extracts from the oral history interviews.
Chapter 7. This chapter discusses how the current archaeology guidelines address the relationship issues and describes how the relationship with Point
Pearce has defined and contributed to the archaeology process. Future directions for this research are outlined.
Chapter 8. The chapter concludes this work by summarizing this project and identifies different aspects of reconciliation as the Indigenous archaeology.
Chapter Two - History of region
This chapter provides a context for the existence of fringe camps on and around a mission by outlining a history of the Narungga culture, an overview of the
European invasion on Yorke Peninsula, the development of the mission and its subsequent history.
2.1 Narungga Culture
Before the European colonization of South Australia in1836, the Narungga occupied all of the Yorke Peninsula with the northern boundary reaching to what is now known as Port Broughton along the western coast of Yorke Peninsula and eastwards to the South Hummocks Range. The Narungga consisted of four clans which included the Carrie (Emu) located in the northern part of the peninsula, the Wourie (Red Kangaroo) in the southern end, the Wilthu (Shark) on the eastern side and the Wiltu (Eaglehawk) on the western side of the peninsula (Sutton 1887:17).
Though there is a paucity of first hand nineteenth century reports of Narungga culture, the existing information suggests that the non-material cultural aspects of the Narungga were similar to that of other traditional groups in southern
Australia (Wundersitz 1979:82). Each individual had two totems; the main totem, paru and the secondary or sub-totem, kuyia. The paru was inherited in conjunction with their territory, from the individuals parents. The kuyia manifested as a significant event or sign before the birth of the individual, and was recognized and interpreted by the mother-to-be or a closely affiliated woman as a sign of the unborn child’s special connection with certain places and animals (Sutton 1887:17). It was deemed a serious crime among the Narungga to eat another persons paru without first getting permission and though a less serious crime, eating another persons’ kuyia without permission was considered impolite.
A major influence on the lifestyle of the Narungga people was the seasonal variations in the availability of water supplies as the region has an average low annual rainfall, and no permanent surface streams (Wundersitz 1979:81). This created an annual pattern of mobility across the peninsula based around the winter and summer seasons which was governed by recognized Elders such as
King Tommy. Between April and October, during the generally wetter, colder winter months, the Narungga peoples moved from the coastal camps to the mallee-covered midlands of the peninsula where rain water collected in lowland sites. Here their diet consisted of animals, reptiles and eatable plants. During the summer months between November and March, they moved to coastal areas where soaks and springs were located and had a diet of fish and shell. Many of the kuyia included different fish such as silver bream, tommy rough, snapper and traveling mullet demonstrating the Narunggas’ close links with the sea.
According to Fowler (Carmichael and Mudie 1973:170), the Narungga population was possibly numbered about 500 when European settlement began.
By the time Fowler arrived on Yorke Peninsula in 1856 that number had been halved. According to Wilson (Wallaroo Times 3 rd
February, 1866:5), an
Aboriginal man calculated that the population was about 230 in number. By
1880, there were less than 100 left (Carmichael and Mudie 1973:170).
Introduced diseases like smallpox, measles, typhoid and scarlet fever caused the deaths of a large number of the Narungga (Wood and Westell 1995:9), and by
1851 the then Protector of Aborigines, Dr. Moorhouse found that three out of every four mean and women were infected with the European introduced venereal disease. By 1866, with the overwhelming increase in the settler population in these towns collectively totally approximately 11,000, along with outlying farms and pastoral stations, compared with the Narungga population that had dropped to less than 100 (Wundersitz 1979:84).
2.2 Pre 1836 Encounters with Europeans
South Australia was formally colonized by the British in 1836. Between 1802 and 1836, there were two different European groups who visited the Narungga coastal waters. The first was the well documented group consisting of explorers on formal government sponsored scientific voyages and the second was the least documented group comprising sealers and whalers on private commercial ventures. The British explorer Matthew Flinders in the Investigator and the
French explorer, Nicolas Baudin in the Le Geographe, both sailed around the coastline charting the coast and assessing the landscape for potential sites for future colonization for their consecutive governments in 1802. There was no direct contact between the Narungga and the explorers but it is evident from various documents such as log books and diaries from these voyages, that
Flinders and Baudin, along with their ship crews were cognizant of the need to respect any local people they came across for future relations.
The second group, comprising sealers and whalers were driven by the need to find new hunting grounds to satisfy the demand for seal fur in the Chinese,
European and American markets and whale bones and oil for the European market (Clarke 2001:20). Between 1803 and 1836 the coastal regions of Yorke
Peninsula, Eyre Peninsula and Kangaroo Island were frequented by various sealers and whalers because of an abundance of seals. Yorke Peninsula was also favoured for its salt lake deposits close to shore as salt was an essential ingredient for preserving the pelts. There was direct and intermittent contact between the Narungga and various sealers and whalers but unlike the government sponsored explorers who maintained a respectful outlook in their dealings with the local peoples as well as maintaining consistent records of any meetings, there where no protocols of conduct for the this group and no need to keep records of the types of cross-cultural encounters on Yorke Peninsula.
2.2.1 Historic Background of Yorke Peninsula
The typical invader pattern of settlement involved first surveying the landscape and identifying fresh water sources, followed by encroachment into Aboriginal territory and forceful acquisition of land and fresh/sea water sources. From the earliest European settlement period there was an impetus for economic growth through the colony with the pursuit of three primary potential sources of income
– the exploitation of natural resources like minerals or the exploitation of land for pastoral or agricultural activity (Pope 1989).
The European pattern of settlement on Yorke Peninsula was similar to the early
European settlement of the Adelaide plains and other parts of South Australia with the difference that there was a gap of about ten years between the invasion of ‘South Australia’ and the invasion of Narungga lands because of the geographic isolation of the peninsula. Unsuccessful attempts to settle on Yorke
Peninsula were made in 1839 (Carmichael and Mudie 1973:168-169), when the non-government Adelaide Survey Association surveyed land in what was to become known as Port Victoria and Port Vincent. After about twelve months, these early European settlements were abandoned because of lack of fresh water.
From this period, the Narungga began developing a sophisticated sense of differentiation between the European visitors that caused a change in behaviour over time from initial avoidance behaviour, to overt hostility after 1846 that finally metamorphed into acceptance that the invaders were a permanent and fixed feature in the landscape (Krichauff 2008:34-37).
From 1846, the pastoral era on the Peninsula began in earnest when a need for fresh pastures for stock arose along with the Government introducing
Occupational licences in the region (Heinrich 1972:16). This involved a heavy emphasis on appropriating the best grazing lands, decimating grazing wildlife that were perceived as competition for feed and locating shepherds camps and live stock near natural water holes (Wundersitz 1979:83). By 1878, the pastoral era across the Peninsula ended with the agricultural subdivision of the southern
14 section of Yorke Peninsula (Wundersitz 1979:84-85). The Narungga responses underwent a series of changes from initial avoidance behaviour to
Following the European pattern of identifying and exploitation of natural resources, a new phase of European activity began in 1859 with the development of a vigorous copper mining industry and the establishment of the towns of Wallaroo and Kadina in 1861 and Moonta in 1863. In response to the mining activity and increasing European population, between 1862 and 1865 a small European wave of agricultural activity took place around the mining towns with the expectation that agriculture would supply hay and flour to these populations (Carmichael and Mudie 1973:172). Another critical European wave of agricultural activity occurred in 1871, in response to the two key factors of good harvests on recently established farms around the aforementioned towns and the economic incentive to open up more farmland by the amendment of the
Strangways Act which meant that all farmlands were now available for purchase on credit (Carmichael and Mudie 1973:173-174). The northern section of the
Yorke Peninsula was surveyed for agricultural purposes and the larger tracts of original pastoral holdings were taken back by the government for agricultural subdivision.
The increase in the agricultural activity on the peninsula also signaled other changes in European settlement patterns because of the government directive that every hundred surveyed for the subdivision of agriculture include the suitable site for a township. The surrounding agricultural district prosperity was reflected in the growth of the townships. Maitland, the nearest inland town to
Point Pearce was proclaimed on the 22 nd
August 1872 followed by the sale of town allotments in July 1873. Within eight years, it had a population of 177
During the mid 1880s and through to the late 1890s, settler activity in the region was adversely impacted by a combination of a series of severe droughts, agriculture related problems like rust disease and declining soil fertility and
15 fluctuating wheat prices culminating in an agricultural depression. The end of the economic down turn beginning in the late 1890s coincided with the agricultural developments in farming techniques such as the introduction of super phosphate, new rust resistant wheat strains, and technical improvements on farm equipment (Wundersitz 1979:85-86). During the 1920’s, barley became an increasing important crop. Today, the region is known as a wheat, barley and sheep area.
The combination of mining and agricultural activity necessitated a transport system and until the introduction of motor transport in the early 1900’s, the major form of transport and communication was by sea (Carmichael and Mudie
1973:176). During this period, ports that were established around the coast of
Yorke Peninsula were important centres for the inland regional areas and up until 1884, Port Victoria located just south on Point Pearce, was the major wheat port for the western region of the Peninsula servicing the inner regional and coastal areas (Heinrich 1972:12).
2.3 Point Pearce Mission history
The mission history can be divided in to five clearly defined phases that are based around significant turning points in its history. These are the pre mission period (1864-1868); the establishment and development of the mission (1868-
1880); the mission station under state government control (1915-1969); and the current period of self governance (1969-2009).
2.3.1 Pre-mission period (1864-1868)
This period starts from around 1864 to the mission formation in 1868. It is a significant period because it established the positive tone of the mission for the next twenty years. There were two factors that contributed to this. First, it provided a long period of talk, planning and activities associated with fund raising and planning that involved both the Europeans and the Narungga.
Second, it gave the Narungga a chance to assess the Moravian missionary, W.
Julius Kuhn who was engaged to act as a missionary by a group of Yorke
Peninsula settlers in 1866.
The campaign for a mission began in 1864 with the purpose of aiding the
Aboriginal population of Yorke Peninsula and coalesced into a firm plan for a mission with the arrival of the Moravian missionary Kuhn in 1866. At this time a series of public meetings took place to consider how best to proceed. The result of these meetings was the formation of the Yorke’s Peninsula Mission
Society that was charged with the purpose of promoting the welfare of the
Aborigines’ and lobbying the government for a reserve of land and a grant to establish buildings on it. During this period, local fund raising activities were organised that included concerts for the audience of Europeans and Narungga, and assorted meetings held in aid of the mission plan. Historic newspaper accounts of these activities infer that the Narungga were aware of these activities and were actively interested in the development of these meetings by being present at least one meeting (Register 12 th
February, 1866), and by participating in activities associated with raising money, for instance at one concert,
Aboriginal children sang for the audience.
Kuhn was to play an influential role in how the Narungga responded to the mission in a number of different ways. He was a German who trained with the
Moravians, an international mission based movement (Edwards 1999). When
Kuhn arrived in Australia as a professional missionary in 1864, he stayed at the
Moravian managed Ramahyuck Mission (Victoria) where he learnt English and other skills deemed necessary to mission work with Indigenous peoples:
Nothing further has been decided with reference to the field of labour to be occupied by the brethren who have just come out, but they are zealously preparing in every way for a life in the bush. Besides making themselves thoroughly acquainted with the missionary’s work in teaching the poor savages, they are training themselves for a life with them,
17 practicing riding, boating, etc, and accompanying the natives on their fishing and hunting expeditions.
On Kuhn’s arrival on Yorke Peninsula, a major factor that contributed to the success of his relationship with the Narungga was that he applied himself to learning over 300 words of the Narungga language and was able to communicate at a superficial level with the Narungga. From this time, he appears to have assumed an intermediary role between the Narungga and
Europeans settlers. For the Narungga, Kuhn served as an ‘advocate’ ‘protector’,
‘teacher’ and ‘healer’, whilst for the Europeans, he was able to provide relevant information and guidance in the formation of the mission.
One issue for the Narungga, was the shortage of wildlife for food because of land clearance. Kuhn went on a hunting expedition of several hours with some
Narungga and at the end of the hunt when they had not caught anything, confirmed in his own mind the need to provide rations to the Narungga. Kuhn was able to convincingly challenge comments from other Europeans that the
Aborigines could get their own food and by mid-June of 1866, had received authorization to distribute government rations to children and adults (Wallaroo
Times, 7 th
February, 1866). The role of protector took another form when
Narungga women approached Kuhn to protect them while their men were away, from the advances of miners and other European workers who wanted to take advantage of the women with gifts of money, food and alcohol (Krichauff
In his capacity as ‘teacher’, Kuhn established a school for the Aboriginal children and was supported in his efforts by both the European and the
Narungga peoples (Krichauff 2008:162). From 1866 to the establishment of the mission in 1868, Kuhn was given accommodation, meals and space in various
18 houses and sheds to run the school by committee members and other Europeans, whilst the Narungga demonstrated their support by attending the school at a time when school attendance was not compulsory on the Peninsula.
During this period, the decision of where to locate the mission was given much thought.
…the Home must be on a spot where they (Aborigines) most congregate.
To build at a place they only visit once a year for mullet fishing or any other purpose would cause the failure of the mission.
(Register 19 th
February 1866, 2H)
Initially, the Committee worked on the premise that the mission should be located close to their towns for the convenience of visiting the mission regularly.
Kuhn argued against this location suggesting it would be better to place the mission further away from towns to the influences of ‘intoxicating drinks’. The
Committee agreed and decided that the mission should be located at least 10 miles from a town. On this basis, a site at Tipara Springs was recommended because it was about thirteen miles from both Moonta and Kadina. This was subsequently rejected because the Narungga,
….do not like Tipara very well because a number of their people
have died there.
(Register 27 th
A government surveyor visited the Peninsula looking for potential mission sites and by the spring of 1866, Point Pearce was identified as the best site. When
Kuhn first visited the site, he came across a group of Narungga who knew of him. According to Kuhn they wanted to know when he was going to come and build the mission house (Krichauff 2008:166). These accounts suggest that the
19 decision of locating the mission was taken seriously and that Narungga sentiments were taken into account.
2.3.2 Mission establishment and development (1868-1880)
This period is marked by the establishment and development of the mission under the management of Kuhn who worked at Point Pearce between 1868 to
1880. In August of 1868, Kuhn married Mary Jane (nee Bond) who was to compliment the work of Kuhn.
She took a deep interest in the natives, both in temporal and spiritual matters; commenced a Bible class for young women; took charge of the children’s clothes; visited the native cottages regularly, and acquired great influence over them.
In the first year of occupation, a number of unidentified buildings along with a stone cottage residence for Kuhn had been erected along with a separate building serving as the school room (Figure 2). During the next 10 years on the mission, the building and land development continued and by 1875, the entire mission land had been enclosed with a sheep proof fence.
From the inception of the mission proper, the accommodation of the Aboriginal population reflected the lifestyle choices of different individuals, and their relationship to and with the mission. Kuhn writes that in 1878,
Some of the early scholars are settled in stone cottages, with families growing up. Even some of the oldest couples who live in wurleys on the station have remained here nearly a year without seeking a change.
Figure 2. Mission huts and wurleys at Point Pearce in 1868. (Source: Archibald
There were still Narungga people living on the mission proper in wurleys as late as 1899 when Frank Gillen, an experienced ethnographer who was living at
Moonta at the time, visited Point Pearce to do some field work (Mulvaney et al.
2.3.3 Changes in mission management focus (1880-1911)
In the last years of the 1870s the financial state of the mission was a cause of concern to the mission management and in 1879 the Yorkes’s Peninsula
Aboriginal Mission Incorporated was formed with the purpose of taking administrative pressure off the existing management. From this period, the
Committee of Trustees implemented a number of schemes to establish a stable financial footing for the mission. One scheme involved leasing Wardang Island to outside farmers to supplement grazing areas for sheep. Another and more contentious scheme involved sharefarming with neighbouring farmers in which more mission land was brought into production (Heinrich 1972:61-63). Though these schemes benefited the running of the mission, it did not foster an
21 independent lifestyle for the Aboriginal population who perceived this scheme as taking land away from them. It was events such as these that were to lead to the next phase.
2.3.4 State government intervention and management (1911-1969)
This period is marked by the juxtaposition of two different types of political developments associated with the mission. The first development is changes in state government policy which introduced the Aborigines Act (1911) marking the beginning of total government intervention through the role of the Chief
Protector of Aborigines. It continued through this period with increasingly restrictive legislation in relation to the Indigenous population both on and off mission stations and had a major impact on where Indigenous people lived. The second is the development of political protest by the Point Pearce Aboriginal community in response to how the mission was being managed. During this period the Point Pearce community was at the forefront of organized Aboriginal protests (Raynes 2005).
In relation to changes in government policy, during this period, a number of state government polices were initiated to regulate Aboriginal ‘welfare’ and though all of the changes had an impact on the Point Pearce community to some degree, the Aborigines Acts of 1911 and 1939 had a profound influence on where and how Aboriginal people lived. The Aborigines Act (1911) was managed by the Chief Protector of Aborigines. Under this Act, Aboriginal reserves and institutions could be established and it gave wide ranging powers to the Chief Protector who could confine or remove Aboriginal people to or from these reserves as well as declare specific towns prohibited areas to Aboriginal peoples. With the position of Chief Protector also came the responsibility of being the legal guardian of all Aboriginal and half-caste children. From this period the policy of removing children of mixed descent from the missions began in earnest and was further pursued with the Aborigines (Training of
Children) Act (1923) which was incorporated into the Aborigines Act (1934). In
1915, on the recommendation of the 1913 Royal Commission into Aboriginal
Affairs, the state government took control of the Mission Station. Regulations under the 1911 Act gave the superintendents of mission stations wide ranging powers over the mission populations where there were rules governing speech, appearance, behaviour and instituted a regulatory life governed by the bell. It also extended to accommodation. In 1922, the then Superintendent of Point
Pearce, Francis Garnett decided that buildings had to be constructed to house the single men who were living in bag camps. It was time to:
…get rid of as many bag camps as possible as they are costly in bags, unsightly and need frequent removal.
(Garnett: State Records GRG 52/1:1922/83)
In relation to the Aborigines Act of 1939, the Aborigines Protection Board was created with the task of overseeing the exemption scheme among other ‘welfare’ activities. From this period, Aboriginal communities were disrupted and divided by the continuing removal of Aboriginal children as well as the implementation of the exemption scheme where a person of Aboriginal descent could be issued with either a limited or unconditional exemption certificate, also known as ‘dog licences’ by Aboriginal people, which gave them the same rights as non-
Aboriginal Australians. In effect this meant that they couldn’t live on missions with their extended families and were only allowed to visit during set times and lead to a series of fringe camps being established such as the Hollywood fringe camp located on the other side of the Point Pearce mission boundary fence.
The Point Pearce community has a long and rich history of political protest that took the forms of petitions, strikes and lobbying of Members of Parliament or individuals they thought could help them. Many petitions were organized over this period in 1894, 1901, 1910, 1926, 1941, 1942, 1945, 1946 and 1952 and addressed a variety of issues including poor wages, rations, alternative education for the mission children and the operation of the share-farm scheme on the
23 mission station. In one example, a petition in 1941 was signed by 65 male residents of Point Pearce and presented to the local Member of Parliament, C. S.
Hincks. This petition called for an increase in wages, a hospital on the mission, greater variety in the rations, a change in the share-farming allocation on the mission from the then one-tenth share to a one-third share of harvest returns for the Aborigines and finally, that a deputation of three Aboriginal residents meet with the Aborigines Protection Board to discuss their grievances. In addressing these issues, the Secretary of the Aborigines Protection Board recommended an increase in wages, and assured Hincks that the Department was already working on the issues of hospital accommodation and rations and argued against the share-farming increase. The deputation of three Aboriginal residents to meet with the Board had been rejected out of hand by the Secretary.
In this history of Point Pearce, there have been two strikes in 1901 and 1941 when the mission population felt compelled to address wage conditions. In relation to the 1901 strike, the then Mission Board decided to reduce the weekly wages of the Aboriginal adult men working on the Mission from nine shillings per week to four shillings plus rations. For two weeks the Aboriginal population did no work on the mission and the Board took the step of reducing the rations by half if the strike continued, which effectively brought the strike to an end.
Another example of the residents lobbying Members of Parliament occurred in
1926 when two Members visited the Mission Station. The Aboriginal residents submitted a list of questions on a variety of issues such as the conditions of their housing and the share-farming arrangements. These questions were dismissed by the Chief Protector.
A possible reason for the ongoing efforts of the Point Pearce community was their educational background that reflects a key ethos of the Moravain missions of educating the mission population (Edwards 1999).
2.3.5 Self management (1969-2009)
This phase represents the most recent period of Point Pearce and marks a historic turning point in its history when, in accordance with the Aboriginal
Lands Trust Act (1962) Point Pearce became the first Aboriginal community in
South Australia to take up self management in 1972. The Aboriginal Lands
Trust Act (1966) consolidated all of the existing Aboriginal reserves and placed them under the control of a board comprising Aboriginal representatives from the different Nations of South Australia. In relation to Point Pearce, the process of self management occurred in several stages beginning in 1965 when the Point
Pearce people established an Aboriginal Reserve Council which was given the responsibility of carrying out minor and unpopular tasks such as issuing reserve permits, allocating houses and policing the streets (Valance and Hullick
1975:57). Between 1969 and 1974 control of Point Pearce was gradually handed over to the Community Council and by 1974 it had assumed control of Section
300, the actual residential area of Point Pearce as well as Wardang Island. In the intervening thirty five years, Point Pearce has assumed a role akin to that of
‘home’ for the Narungga population and is most apparent by the fact that irrespective of where a Narungga person dies, they are buried at the Point Pearce cemetery.
In summary, this chapter has outlined a brief history of the Narungga before the
European invasion of Yorke Peninsula and subsequent development and changes in the relationship between the two cultures up to the present which provides a context for understanding the existence of fringe camps on and around the mission. It has demonstrated the possibility of a complex and respectful relationship between some of the invaders and the Narungga peoples where there appears to be a joint investment in the establishment of a mission. In contrast to this early interaction, the subsequent government paternalistic intervention in the second half of the mission history ignores the desires of the
Narungga for improved living standards, more land or recognition of their capacity to successfully function in society without intervention. The Point
Pearce community responded with the development of sophisticated and persistent forms of political protest that finally result in it’s being the first community in South Australia to take up Indigenous self determination under the Aboriginal Lands Trust Act (1966).
Chapter 3 - The Anatomy of a Relationship
Building partnerships between archaeologists and Indigenous and other descendant communities is difficult.
This chapter is in two parts where the first part provides a general outline of the relationship between Indigenous communities and archaeologists, and the second part outlines the process of establishing a relationship with the Point
3.1 The human face of archaeology – working with Indigenous communities
Working with Indigenous communities is a complex process and it is a truism of
Indigenous archaeological practice that there is a need for archaeologists to build meaningful relationships with Indigenous communities (Conkey 2005:17;
Davidson et al. 1995; McGuire 2003:92-100; Murray). In Australia there have been complex and uncomfortable associations with this relationship that has been acknowledged by both archaeologists and Indigenous peoples. Issues contributing to these uncomfortable associations are a combination of past archaeological activity, an ongoing international Indigenous movement of self determination in association with politics of identity, different world views, heritage legislation impacting on archaeology practice, intellectual ownership or for pragmatic reasons such as communities having more relevant concerns such as housing or employment issues (Colley 2002:61-91; Zimmerman 2005:302).
In response to some of these issues, there has been the development and adoption of Codes of Conduct by professional associations of the discipline
(Australian Archaeological Association; Australian Association of Consulting
Archaeologists; World Archaeological Congress) and legislation and guidelines by government Indigenous heritage agencies. Whilst these documents provide general guidelines for working with communities, there have been other
27 movements from within archaeology to further decolonize archaeology and create more collaborative approaches to working with Indigenous peoples
(Byrne 2003; Clarke 2002; Faulkner 2000; Greer et al. 2002; Moser 2002;
Marshall 2002; Smith and Wobst 2005; Smith and Jackson 2008). There are two key features that distinguish these approaches from normative archaeological practices. These are: a. Flexibility with time and research design
Different researchers have had different experiences in relation to flexibility and time. It can be represented by a long germination phase (Nicholas et al.
2008:274), the long-term expectations of the community to the relationship
(Smith and Jackson 2008:190-192), or the long-term commitment of the archaeologist to the community (Meehan 1995:38; Moser et al. 2002:232).
Whilst the idea of negotiating research directions has challenged many archaeologists, in practice it has proven to be an enriching approach for the
Indigenous community as well as the archaeologist:
Each year we go into the field with a plan, and each year we achieve both more than is in the plan and less. We are never able to do all the things we hope to do and always achieve more than we had planned.
(Smith and Jackson 2008:183) b. Caring for the place and people and not just the research
A consistent and important feature is the personal investment of the archaeologists in the community. On first issue the range of activities such as collecting firewood or wild honey, taking children swimming or arranging for community members to stay for a holiday (Smith and Jackson 2008:183;
Meehan 1995:40) may seem to have no bearing on archaeological research. In the context of the relationship it represents a reciprocal approach that can extend the range of shared experiences that enhances the relationship, facilitate
28 archaeological activities, contribute to the welfare of the community by helping to strengthen the culture, provide opportunities to educate young community members about their culture and provide avenues for reconciliation.
3.2 Relationship building with Point Pearce Community
An important and integral part of this research was the formation and fostering of a meaningful relationship between the community and the researcher. In terms of results, the relationship can be perceived in two phases, the first was the development of the relationship that took place between May and November
2008; and the second with ongoing social and archaeological research activity conducted between February and April 2009.
3.2.1 The development of the relationship
…..insights into social relationships often come in Zen-like epiphanies – typically when mistakes occur and emotion rather than reason dominates the scene.
(Nicholas et al. 2008:275)
During the first phase, a combination of factors influenced the activities of this period. First, the Point Pearce community and the researcher were strangers to each other with no previous history and no common intermediary to foster the relationship, which meant that the relationship had to develop from scratch.
Second was the power dynamic in the relationship which rested with the Point
Pearce community who had not commissioned the research, and who had not thought about the research project in any way. Third, my lack of experience with working with Indigenous communities had a significant bearing on how I went about developing a relationship. Finally, I did not appreciate the different roles of ‘person’ and ‘archaeologist’ until I began this research. Most of this period was spent in developing a relationship based on the following activities:
29 a. A ‘meet and greet’ morning tea at the Health Centre where people from the community were invited to come along and meet me. This was promoted through the Point Pearce School newsletter and posters on notice boards at the Health Centre. Young people from the Youth Group attended along with a handful of adults. b. At one stage, there was the possibility that the Point Pearce Youth
Group could be actively involved in working on a time capsule project for the
anniversary of the mission event. As a way of getting to know each other, I organised a series of cooking activities with members of this group. These were carried out in either the church hall kitchen or the Women’s Centre kitchen and I supplied the ingredients and cooking utensils. My idea was to have a good time and talk about ideas for the time capsule project. The group’s idea was to have fun and eat the results. The most persistent question from the group was, would I be coming back to the community? The most challenging information from this group was their sharing information about sexual abuse which I passed on to my
Mentor. c. Participated in the organization of cultural field trips for young people which resulted from discussions with Elanie Newchurch, one of the community
Elders. Elanie mentioned on several occasions that she thought a major problem in the community was how young people lacked a connection with Country and their culture. The result was field trips on two different days. The first field trip involved visiting two significant places where adults from the community shared stories with the young people. The first place was Wadgedin Scrub where Elanie
Newchurch shared childhood memories of digging for onion weed, peeling it and then eating it. Everybody sat in a circle and dug onion weed and prepared it.
In the afternoon the group went to Hollywood, where stories were told by
Claudia Smith who had lived there as a little girl. In an example of the power of
‘word of mouth’ information, a young boy who had not been on either trip came up to me at the end of the day and displayed a handful of peeled onion weed that
30 he had dug up and said they were delicious. This was a pivotal moment in my relationship with the community that demonstrated that archaeology could productively contribute to the education of young people of community culture.
Another trip was organized for young people with the purpose of trying to see if the group could dig a well at Hollywood. On this occasion, the young people ended up playing on the beach whilst the adults talked. d. Assorted volunteer work for the 140 th
anniversary activities such as street cleaning, cleaning and organizing the hall and tidying up the Point Pearce war memorial as well as assisting the Point Pearce Chairman on the day.
3.2.2 The consolidation of the relationship
The second phase of the relationship was aligned with the time extension that was given to complete this thesis and has been primarily focused on the gathering and sharing of information or the conducting of field trips, though various social events also occurred. A discernable difference in support and response time occurred after I had visited the community in November before and during the 140 th
anniversary activities. In January 2009, when I indicated that I had an extension to complete my thesis but had a strict timeline to meet, any help I solicited from the community members or the Narungga Nation
Aboriginal Progress was instantly and positively addressed, reflecting an overall sense of community acceptance and consideration of my needs at a personal level and as a student. This has been a fully cooperative, productive and supportive period. A concrete example of support for the research includes a request two of the community Elders that the fringe camp sites be registered with the Aboriginal Heritage Branch.
3.3 The relationship from a personal perspective
A problem with describing relationships from a personal perspective arises from a desire to juggle not wanting to be ‘critical’ of situations whilst reporting the situation. It is these types of situations that Nicholas (et al. 2008:274) is
31 probably referring to when discussing how successful collaborations ‘require patience and frequently a thick skin by those involved’.
During 2008, there were a number of incidents with different community members such as broken appointments that reflected my lack of experience with working with Indigenous communities and illustrated that I needed to cultivate patience, a non-judgmental attitude and demonstrate ongoing commitment to the community. At the same time, I recognize that I may have been doing or saying things (or not doing and saying things) that were testing the patience of community members. In the greater scheme of things, these incidents are inconsequential but at the time, I had to exercise patience and not take them personally. At the same time, my lack of experience with working with
Indigenous peoples was at the forefront in my desire not to be seen as ‘racist’ or insensitive. When I asked Elanie Newchurch, how I could improve the way I interacted with people, her response was valuable – be yourself. What these experiences offer me is an opportunity to process my reactions and responses in these situations. This puts an entirely new slant on doing archaeology by considering it as a tool for change involving self-development opportunities that reflects the truth of the following:
Ultimately, collaborations rest on the character, actions, motivations, and interpersonal skills of the affected and engaged parties.
(Nicholas et al. 2008:274)
In relation to doing archaeology, it became clear from individual comments that there was hostility towards the discipline of archaeology from some quarters that
I was not prepared for. Reading about how Indigenous communities have been disenfranchised by archaeology is different from being the personal focus of
Indigenous hostility. As a result of these particular situations, I resolved to work harder at creating a meaningful relationship with the community at the expense
32 of doing archaeological research because it seemed more important to demonstrate that I respected the community and took their interests into consideration, as a representative of the archaeology fraternity, then it was to conduct archaeology research that I felt could be comprised because of lack of support from the community. If I had known that I needed to address these issues, I would have approached working with the community in a different way such as arranging an opportunity to workshop attitudes to archaeology with the community during National Archaeology Week (or at another arranged time).
Another good approach is to write about these experiences so that subsequent archaeologists can learn how to deal with this if it arises during the course of research.
This chapter has focused on the nature of the relationship between Indigenous peoples and archaeologists and the relationship building activity between the
Point Pearce community and myself. In relation to the former, there has been an outline of some of the types of approaches that are being used in the area with a focuse on two keys elements of these approaches. In relation to this project there has been a summary of activities over two periods and some personal observations of different issues that occurred during this time.
Chapter 4 - Of Fringe Camps, Missions and
Analysing colonial Australia requires being aware of people disenfranchised by colonial processes, and perhaps ‘hidden’ from historical interpretation.
(Paterson et al. 2003:83)
In historical archaeology, former mission sites are one of the most commonly studied post-contact sites types in Australia (McNiven and Russell 2005:226), yet to date Indigenous fringe camps directly associated with mission sites have received very little attention (per.comm. Paul Memmott: February 2009).
This chapter presents three key arguments for the value of researching fringe camps on and around missions. First, it is relevant research to many Indigenous communities because it is conducted from the Indigenous perspective instead of being perceived as Eurocentric research, and it can also be socially significance because of its links to the recent past. Second, these sites provide an opportunity to track potential changes and cultural continuity in the Indigenous cultures for all occupation periods that can expand an understanding of different periods of the mission, thus revealing a more complex picture of Indigenous responses to the mission presence than a reliance on documented history of these missions that tends to reflect the European voice.
4.1 Archaeology of Indigenous Fringe Camps – An overview
Fringe camps have become an increasing focus of research since the 1990s
(Colley 2000:279). The two main areas of research have been camps associated with the pastoral industry (Harrison 2004; Smith 2000) or regional approaches
34 which have included the identification of camp sites (2003Byrne and Nugent
2004; Smith and Beck 2003;Smith et al. 2003; Paterson et al. 2003).
Since the 1990s, contact archaeology projects have become more common in relation to understanding aspects of Indigenous-settler histories, including the
Indigenous responses to the intrusion of foreign cultures (Colley 2002:18-19). In this context, there has been a tendency in traditional archaeological theory to oversimplify interactions between cultures in the colonial process by creating a duality or oppositional structure also known as the ‘myth of the colonizercolonized dichotomy’ (Bray 2003:110; Lightfoot 2005:210-211). Paterson et al.
(2003:83), created a case for providing a fresh understanding of people and relationships that was overlooked in the written record and argued that,
…by investigating evidence for complex expressions of cultural interactions and human agency across a landscape through multiple forms of evidence, it becomes possible to generate a different understanding of one region.
(Paterson et al 2003:83)
The following section explores in detail the possible range of complexity of these relationships in the context of missions.
4.2 Of missions and relationships – A framework
Within the micro-scale social landscape of a mission, there are two categories of
Indigenous groups. First, the ‘formal’ mission Indigenous population that inhabited the central mission zone and demonstrated a proactive relationship to the formal social processes of the mission. The second is the informal or hidden group within and off the formal mission zone, represented by the construction of fringe camps clearly demonstrating variability in people’s lifestyle choices. The latter constitutes a hidden history of interactions and relationships that question the nature of theoretical models such as the domination and resistance model. A
35 combination of archaeology and other methods such as oral histories is uniquely placed to generate a more complex understanding of these people overlooked in the written histories (Paterson et al 2003:83).
A framework of possible relationship links illustrates the complexity and possible range of connections within a mission landscape. In the Australian colonial context, missions were polytypic institutions inhabiting the landscape in at least three interlinking social/cultural and material constructs. By creating a mission model that identifies these converging areas, it is possible to understand the importance of the fringe camp on and around missions and create new ways of interpreting their existence in relation to cultural continuity and change.
The following framework outlines the two major mission constructs - the colonizer mission construct and the Indigenous mission construct, then explores the possible range of relationship links that incorporates three subgroups reflecting the Indigenous/Indigenous relationship, the Indigenous/colonizer relationship and the colonizer/colonizer relationship.
4.2.1 Mission constructs – the historic European stereotype
This represents the historical European mission stereotype, recognized as the formal mission zone where both physical and social elements, European cultural mores and stylized activities and functions around buildings, school, church and other activities such as farm management were imposed on the Indigenous mission population (Lightfoot 1995:204; Lydon 2003:174). In 19 th
South Australia, a series of missions were established to relocate Indigenous people (Brock 1993:14), either in response to white settler requests or as a result of a perceived need by mission institutions to protect, civilize or convert the
Indigenous population to Christianity (Scrimgeous 2006:35). This wave of mission development ensured that islands of containment and ‘protection’ existed for the Indigenous population and partly defined the Indigenous experience as a paternal process (Birmingham 2000:378), with the missionaries
‘civilizing’ this population into European cultural ways, whilst protecting it from European influences (Attwood 1989:2). Over time, it also acted as a form of government control over the Indigenous population serving different political aims during different periods. From the colonizer perspective, the prime purposes of the mission was not to understand or maintain Indigenous cultures, but to teach, train and impose a European lifestyle model on the Indigenous population with a secondary purpose of protecting the European settler population. This construct oversimplifies the many varied mission experiences and management styles at different periods in Australian history.
4.2.2 Mission construct – (possible) Indigenous perspective
The Indigenous mission construct, was fully comprehended, used and highly
‘visible’ to the Indigenous population because of cultural links, but not always visible to the European population because of their ignorance of Indigenous practices (Lydon 2003:185). It had both social/cultural and physical elements.
For example, the social/cultural element manifested through the persistence of traditional values such as kinship (Lydon 2003:175), whilst the physical element was apparent in such forms as camps located on the outskirts of the formal mission zone, exclusively serving the Indigenous population (Birmingham
2000:378, 380), that reflected pre-existing cultural ties and familiarity of the landscape. This construct tends to be hidden from the historic record, at least from the Indigenous first person perspective; so many historic references may contain distortions about Indigenous intentions or actions because of lack of, or limited understanding about the Indigenous culture.
4.3 Mission interactions construct
This construct outlines three types of interactions between individuals/communities and illustrates the complex combination of identity through three subgroups (Rogers 2005:331). It is designed to reflect links and interactions at the most basic level rather than more complex interactions provoked by gender or age considerations. It consists of three subgroups
37 including the Indigenous/Indigenous subgroup; the Indigenous/colonizer subgroup; and the invader/invader subgroup. This construct is designed to challenge Eurocentric assumptions about mission populations by developing multi-layered interactions constructs which move beyond the simplistic binary oppositions of Indigenous/European, Indigenous/other foreign country and
European/European. This allows for both visible and invisible interactions which served as a platform for an interplay of contestation, domination and resistance, cultural support, negotiation and cultural adaptation between and by all parties during different phases of the mission history (Paterson 2000:110;
4.3.1 The Indigenous/Indigenous framework
This subgroup challenges many assumptions about Indigenous cultures, including the prevalent one during the colonial era that the Indigenous population was a homogeneous group (Lightfoot 2005:231-232). In relation to missions, research has revealed a complex picture of Indigenous/Indigenous interaction, division and choice where Indigenous people from the same cultural groups often made different lifestyle choices. Different choices included the elementary choice of living on or off the mission (Seymour 2007:294; Silliman
2005:291), on the mission but not within the formal mission population (Wood and Westell 1999:11) or
, as in the case of Coranderrk Indigenous Station, deciding how they were going to live on the mission in terms of type of accommodation and location to the main mission population (Lydon 2003:181).
Missions were also often centralized sites for the relocating of Indigenous people from different cultural groups leading to tension between the original
Indigenous mission population and the newcomers (Lightfoot 2005:231), which occurred at the Point Pearce Mission during the 1880s and 90s when Aborigines from other areas moved to Point Pearce (Mattingley and Hamption 1992:197).
4.3.2 The Indigenous/colonizer framework
This subgroup is itself a multi-layered complex node with a huge range of variables in relation to the mission such as colonial period or phase of interaction influenced by changes in government legislation or mission management, identity of those involved in the interaction, and types of interaction. One example is the process of deciding the mission location. The choice of physical location of the mission site – the ‘visible’ element, could have significant bearing on the interactions between the Indigenous and Europeanized cultures where the ‘invisible’ process of deciding where to locate the mission was either a European decision by the missionaries (Birmingham 200:364, 396), or was a negotiated ‘invisible’ process between both parties (Baker 2005:20-22;
Attwood 1989:4). An example of the ‘invisible’ process is the establishment of
Point Pearce Mission in 1868. As early as 1866, the Narungga may have directed the government surveyor, the Moravian missionary Kuhn and the
Yorkes Peninsula Native Mission committee to the area that is now known as
Point Pearce which was a traditional meeting area, and known to have a number of sacred sites. On Kuhn’s first visit to the area, he came across a group of about
50 Aborigines who wanted to know when he was coming to build the mission house and teach them (Krichauff 2008:166). The implication, at least from the
Narungga perspective is that as early as 1866, the area was to be the site for the mission. An example of identity and type of interaction with a fringe camp population is illustrated in the following report to the Board for the Protection of the Aborigines (1871:11-14) by a visiting doctor to Coranderrk Mission in
Victoria in the 1870s:
There are still five nomadic huts of the station, made of sheets of bark laid together; but these belong to elderly blacks, whose habits are difficult to deal with; but the interior of these is as clean and orderly as the circumstances will allow.
4.3.3 The colonizer/colonizer framework
The colonizer/colonizer subgroup also reflects complexity of interactions between the mission administrators and colonizers outside of the mission population such as with settlers, government agencies or even mission administrators of other missions. Some of these links/interactions could also be influential on the mission community – for instance, through management practices or deciding on the type of mission layout adopted. An example, which is directly relation to the history of the Point Pearce mission, involves the former
Ramahyuck mission in Victoria. Mr. Kuhn, the Moravian missionary who was the first missionary at Point Pearce and instrumental in its 1868 establishment, had strong links with the Moravian managed Ramahyuck mission because he stayed there when he first arrived in Australia from Germany in 1864
(Hagenauer 1865:413). The historic information about Kuhn’s Ramahyuck mission visit provides the backdrop for exploring the former Point Pearce mission layout and raises a number of questions that may relate to the design of the mission landscape in South Australia. For instance, did the Ramahyuck mission and staff influence Kuhn’s subsequent mission design and layout at
Using this model as a means to explain the location of fringe camps on the mission, it can be extrapolated that fringe camp populations represented a number of lifestyle choices. In the first instance, fringe camps allowed for a degree of privacy away from the prying mission management. As they were maintained along traditional lines, they may have served as a reminder of the traditional lifestyle as well as a repository of traditional culture that could not readily be ‘stored’ in the mission infrastructure (Griffin 2005). In the latter situation, the fringe camp was more likely to reflect classical Indigenous camp layout - if not Indigenous architecture, which may have been superfluous to traditional cultural mores but where kinship and cultural group organization was more likely to be practiced. In contrast, the formal mission layout was the sole
40 domain of the colonizers’ perspective with no intrinsic value as a teaching tool for traditional culture.
Second, the fringe camp served its Indigenous population who, for whatever reason, represented those who chose not to embrace the formal mission lifestyle.
Were they maintaining a position as a holder of traditional values that could not be maintain within the mission system? Finally, just as the mission served as an
Indigenous haven in a changing landscape, fringe camps located on or around missions may have served as a haven for the Indigenous population who wanted the protection of the mission, but not the lifestyle.
4.4 Previous archaeological investigations of South Australian mission sites
Since European colonization of South Australia in 1836, fifteen major mission settlements were established between 1850 and 1915 including: Poonindie, Point
McLeay (Raukkan), Killalpaninna, Point Pearce, Koonibba, Oodnadatta,
Colebrook, Swan Reach, Nepabunna, Ooldea, Umeewarra, Ernabella, Finniss
Springs, Gerard and Yalata (Mattingley and Hampton 1992:175).
The Ooldea mission is located on the southern fringe of the Great Victoria
Desert northwest of Ceduna and is famous as a result of its association with
Daisy Bates who established an informal mission at the site from 1918 to
1933/4, after which a UAM mission was formally established there. An archaeological survey (Brockwell et al 1989) demonstrated traditional
Indigenous links with a former mission site as it was a traditional refuge during times of drought, a meeting place and trade centre as well as an important ceremonial and mythological place. It also had socially significant links with the mission as many Aborigines who were born in the area continued to regard the mission as their home through to adulthood, suggesting a strong bond between place of birth and the individual. A major factor influencing the results of this site is that it is in an area of extremely mobile dunes which have engulfed some of the structures associated with the mission. Taking this into account, the
41 results indicated the presence of Indigenous camp sites around the mission representing all periods of occupation, though within the parameters of the study, no research was done to ascertain the relationship between these sites and the mission proper, so it is difficult to determine the nature of these camp sites.
An example of an archaeological study of a mission using the theory of the dominant ideology is Griffins (2000) work at the Poonindie Mission site established in 1850, near Port Lincoln on the Eyre Peninsula. Here Griffin argued that the formal mission layout was deliberately designed to teach
Indigenous people their position in the colonizers’ European style class-based society. Indigenous people responded with either covert or overt forms of resistance, particularly in their visitations to the Barngalla-Nauo (fringe) camps located outside the boundary of the mission settlement and through the continued practice of sitting around fires on the mission. In contrast to the
Europeanized behaviour of the formal mission, the Barngalla-Nauo camps reinforced traditional culture and lifestyle and provided a haven or sanctuary away from the European regime whilst the continuing use of hearths on the mission established a subliminal juxtaposition of European and Indigenous culture (Griffin 2000).
A comparative study of three theoretical models, the dominance model, the traditional forager optimization strategy and creolization theory, was developed from archaeological research conducted on the former Killalpaninna (Bethesda) mission as part of the Central Australian Archaeological Project (Birmingham,
2000). The Killalpaninna mission site was established in 1866 on an existing campsite and burial ground, in an isolated area of northern South Australia which was, at the time, the vanguard of pastoral expansion. A landscape approach was adopted in the archaeological study, with the purpose of identifying and recording surface material at increasing distances from the mission proper up to 10 km away, in all directions. The results of this approach revealed a variety of Indigenous campsites reflecting both a wide temporal range
42 from the deep past to the historical present, as well as a variety of uses. These included (1) campsites with pre-contact materials only; (2) campsites located close to the mission displaying a greater quantity of European artefacts in contrast to Indigenous artefacts signifying both pre- and post-colonial use; and
(3),whilst other campsites with lesser quantities of European artefacts were located close to but not on the mission proper and were out-sight-of it. These camp sites were not identified as fringe camps, though the inference is that their inhabitants enjoyed a traditional lifestyle whilst interacting with both the white and Indigenous mission population – hence, serving as a fringe camp in intention, if not in name.
In one phase of the Killalpaninna mission history, a plan of the mission included the position of ‘native humpies’ located near the church (Birmingham
2000:377). It is not known if these structures represent a fringe camp or the utilization of Indigenous architecture by the Indigenous community due to a shortage of European building materials for European-style housing structures.
What is documented is how during the Lutheran management phase of the mission, the Lutheran missionaries made a clear distinction in the Indigenous population of ‘mission blacks’ and ‘bush blacks’ (Birmingham 2000:378), with the implicit notion of individual choice. What is not articulated in the historic record is the middle ground occupied by Indigenous people who had, for whatever reason, decided not to fully adopt the formal mission lifestyle, but were possibly ‘testing’ the European lifestyle, taking the opportunity to enjoy certain benefits such as rations or maintaining cultural kinship by their presence.
In this regard, the absence of the middle ground is an example of oppositional theory in cultural practice.
The archaeological reconstruction benefited from the landscape approach adopted where a comparative study of recorded material culture both on and off the formal mission zone, provided sufficient detail to explore all three theories.
The results indicated a high level of Indigenous resistance to the mission in
43 contrast to the relative absence of this behaviour in the historical record. The archaeological record also revealed evidence of the forager optimization strategy by the Indigenous population both within the imposed mission construct and off the mission proper. The creolization theory was designed to highlight the
Indigenous adoption of foreign material manifested in a hybrid culture resulting from cultural contact. In this regard, the material culture that best suited this theory were the humpy materials that revealed the incorporation of recycled bottle glass and salvaged European building material into up-dated humpies.
Though this research did not formally register ‘fringe camps’ in relation to the mission proper, it did identify all camp sites, analysis the material culture of same and present a rich and complex archaeological interpretation of Indigenous relationships and group/individual choices in relation to the influence of the mission.
The Swan Reach UAM mission history is intrinsically linked with two sites on the Murray River, the first site near the town of Swan Reach which was established in 1925, and the second site located on the Murray River about 15 kilometres south of Loxton which was established in 1945 known as Gerard. An archaeological project was conducted on site.
An analysis of these projects reveals that there is a rich complexity in the choices Indigenous people made in their relationship to the mission. Some people chose to become integrated into the formal mission population proper, whilst other people lived (duration of period unknown) a more traditional lifestyle in camps located near the mission but not as part of the formal mission.
An underlying assumption in most of these studies that fringe camps existed off the mission proper. The model that has been described identifies that this is a self limiting research option as fringe camps are identified on missions in the
Indigenous/Indigenous construct (see above).
4.5 Previous archaeological investigations of the Point Pearce mission site
In relation to the Point Pearce mission, an archaeological survey of Yorke
Peninsula (Wood and Westell 1998) was initiated by the Point Pearce
Community Council. In this survey many traditional camp sites located on Point
Pearce were identified, but there is no mention of fringe camps at Wadgedin
Scrub or Hollywood.
This chapter has argued that a defining model for researching contact fringe camps are the historic relationships between different groups of the mission and mission Indigenous populations that are represented by both the formal mission material culture and the informal or hidden material culture of associated fringe camps. Though previous archaeological research has addressed fringe camps around mission sites, little attention has been given to the existence of such sites when located within the mission boundaries. An important approach for implementing this type of research has been identified in the influence of a meaningful and positive Indigenous community/archaeologist relationship, where contemporary Indigenous community knowledge can reveal the locations of historic fringe camp sites and memories of these places can be accessed.
Chapter 5 Methodology - Fringe Camps on and around missions
This chapter provides an explanation of the methods employed, why they were chosen and a brief summary of the limitations of the research. This project employed two main methods to identify fringe camp locations and drew out historical and personal knowledge and memories of these camps. The methods included oral history and site visits with interviewees and site surveys.
5.1 Oral histories
Oral history interviews with people associated with the Point Pearce and
Hollywood sites played a significant role in the research process. In this case, they represent ‘intersecting conversations’ between the archaeology and oral history as they both have something in common, specific stories and memories with a specific place (Beck and Somerville 2005:475). Though there were discussions with a number of Point Pearce people, two people were interviewed for oral histories. The selection process was depended on personal referrals and recommendations. The Point Pearce Community Council initially referred me to the Point Pearce Heritage Committee who then referred me on to specific individuals. The criteria for selection was based on the informal method of identifying individuals who either had first hand experience of living on a fringe camp site as in the case of Claudia Smith, or of individuals who were recognized for their knowledge of historical information about the mission. In all, three people were interviewed.
The interview questions were informally structured but based on the interviewees’ area particular area of knowledge about the fringe camps that were identified during this research. Though the bulk of questions for each interview focused on one fringe camp, questions about other fringe camps were also asked of interviewee.
Irene Aguis is a Narungga Elder who was born at Point Pearce and lived there most of her life. She has been actively involved in cultural activities and her knowledge and memories of Wadgedin Scrub (pronounced ‘wha-jah-din’) in particular provided a valuable foundation for this research. As well as completing an oral history interview (See Appendix 3.), Irene also took me to visit Wadgedin Scrub where she shared her stories of bottle collecting activities and gave her interpretation of how some of the areas in the site might have been formed.
5.2 Historical archival research
Aside from accessing information from the Aboriginal Heritage Branch and historic research about Aboriginal history in South Australia was accessed through the State Library and various university libraries. The State Library has a number of publications both in its catalogue and special collections that were relevant to this research. These included reports of previous archaeological surveys of Yorke Peninsula and original documents from the collect of Frank
Gillen that form part of the historical collection of South Australia as well as copies of archaeological and social history surveys of the region.
5.3 Site surveys
There were a number of visits to two areas that were connected with fringe camps on and around Point Pearce. These included Wadgedin Scrub located on
Point Pearce and the former Hollywood site.
5.3.1 Wadgedin Scrub
Big Wadgedin, a section of Wadgedin Scrub was first visited with Point Pearce community members as part of a cultural field trip for young people in 2008 as part of the development of the relationship. The author also visited the site separately on a number of occasions between 2008 and in March of 2009 a
47 visual survey of the area was conducted to identify significant structural features such as building foundations, fence lines and evidence of contact fringe camps.
Little Wadgedin was first visited in March of 2009 and there were subsequent visits during this month. to conduct a visual survey of the area. These structures were photographed, GPS coordinates were documented and samples of artefacts collected to see if activity associated with the fringe camp areas could be dated.
This site was also first visited with Point Pearce community members as part of a field trip to share cultural information with young people. Subsequent visits to the area were carried out in the company of Claudia Smith with the view of creating a mud map of buildings that previously existed on the site. Sometime between 1981-83, the site was bulldozed by the Maitland Council with
Community Council approval, and the only visual clues of former residences is building debris, some of which was photographed.
5.4 Limitations of research
A number of limitations surfaced at different stages of the study that had a major impact on the outcome of my initial aim of researching contact Indigenous sites.
These essentially arose from either practical considerations, such as time constraints, geography and limited trips to the research location due to financial constraints; from social and cultural considerations, such as the need to develop a meaningful relationship with community members or lack of experience in working with Indigenous communities and from not ensuring that prior research that fringe camps had existed on Point Pearce.
The practical considerations were to some degree all linked together but the most significant limitation was lack of time. The actual work with the community only began near the end May 2008, after receiving final approval from the Flinders University Ethics Committee. At the time, I took a literal
48 position of interpretation of the University Ethics process which meant that though I had received written approval from Point Pearce, I did no actual work with them until I had received notice of approval from the university. I did not want any confusion to occur with the Point Pearce community, if I had not received approval from the university and had to withdraw my application of research with the community itself. Another time constraint occurred because the research area is a two and a half hour drive from Adelaide and my personal time spent with community members was restricted to some weekend visits or day trips. The final influence of ‘time’ was comfortably melding my time with the time of community members. This did not always coincide with the availability of some community members for interviews and may have been directly linked with the relative ‘newness’ of our relationship.
In relation to cultural considerations, Clarke (2003:259) argued that any archaeological research carried out within an Indigenous community will be framed by current cultural and individual events such and funerals, rather than textbook-based approaches to field work. A consideration for this research was when a community member died. On the day of the funeral, the whole community was in attendance and other activity was put aside. On Point Pearce, all funerals occur on Fridays, and as a mark of respect to the family, all meetings and other activities were cancelled for that day.
CHAPTER 6 RESULTS
This chapter outlines the results of the oral history interviews and subsequent surveys where each section of Wadgedin Scrub, Little Wadgedin and Big
Wadgedin and Hollywood are reported separately. The results include a general description of each site, more detailed information of major cultural features or unique characteristics and major site formation processes.
6.1 Wadgedin Scrub
Susanne Montana Jones: Okay, so do you know where the name ‘Wadgedin’ comes from?
Irene Agius: ‘Wadgedin’ is just the name of scrub. It’s a tribal name.
Susanne Montana Jones: So when we say ‘Wadgedin Scrub’, it’s like saying
Irene Agius: Wadgedin is, “We’ll go down to the scrub”.
Susanne Montana Jones: Means “We’ll go down to the scrub.”?
Irene Agius: Yes
(Oral history interview Appendix :4)
The area commonly known as ‘Wadgedin Scrub’ is located southeast of the
Point Pearce township (Figure 6). It comprises a large area known as ‘Big
Wadgedin’ on the east side of the Point Pearce/Port Victoria Road and ‘Little
Wadgedin’ on the west side of the Point Pearce/Port Victoria Road. Some Point
Pearce community people regard this area as a significant social site because of historic associations where bags camps were located and people went for picnics. People were still going to this area for picnics every Sunday as recently as the 1940s (Oral history interview Appendix ). According to Irene Aguis
(per. com. 29/3/09, Point Pearce) Big Wadgedin was chosen for picnics because
50 the ‘old’ rubbish dump was located at Little Wadgedin and it wasn’t as nice a place to visit. Wadgedin Scrub is significant to Claudia Smith because her father told her he was initiated by the old Elders of the tribe at Wadgedin Scrub when he was 12 or 13 (per. com. 1/3/09, Port Victoria).
Figure 6.1 Mud map of Wadgedin Scrub (drawn S. M. Jones)
6.2 Survey - Little Wadgedin
Susanne Montana Jones: So you didn’t hear any stories about that (Little
Wadgedin) at all?
Irene Agius: The only stories I heard was that most of the men liked playing cards or Two-Up down at the scrub.
(Oral history Appendix :9)
Little Wadgedin is an unfenced area that is bounded by roads on four sides including the Point Pearce/Port Victoria road and three dirt roads (Figure 4.).
Historically, a wool shed was located at the northern end of the site and there is evidence that the land surrounding the wool shed was fenced in. There are two post-contact features on this site including surface traces of four separate standing structures concentrated in one area and historic artefact scatters throughout the site.
Figure 6. 2 Mud map of Little Wadgedin (drawing: S. M. Jones)
The surface traces of the standing structures consists of foundations of two buildings, (Building One. and Building Two) and two cement floors that may be associated with buildings (Floor 1. and Floor 2.). At the time of this writing, there is no documentary or oral information available to indicate what buildings existed in this area, the purpose of these buildings, when they were built, who used them or when they were dismantled. a. Building One
There are six features of this site that suggest it may have been the residence of a farm supervisor or mission superintendent.
1. The location and orientation of the building indicates it was the main building as it was prominently located near the Port Victoria and Maitland Roads intersection with the main entrance facing the road suggests it was a significant building.
2. It was built on an artificially raised area of ground under the foundations that suggest it was designed either to be protected from something or to emphasis its importance by being noticeable.
3. It was built to last as indicated by the width of the exterior and interior walls
The interior walls have been rendered with cement suggesting that comfort and appearances were important (Figure 6.3).
4. Some thought had also gone into its design as a feature included the foundations of a built-in fireplace in one corner.
5. It is the only building of this type in this vicinity suggesting it could have been the residence of a farm supervisor as it is located near the old wool shed site and piggery site. b. Building Two
This building foundation is located next to and north of Building One. The foundations are not clearly as defined as Building One. The key features of this building include the following:
Figure 6.3 Corner of Building 1. (Photo: S. M. Jones March, 2009)
1. It is a smaller building and is built to one side of Building One. It is also built on artificially raised ground suggesting that it was built either at the same time as
Building One, or if not, then built to compliment Building One.
2. It has a signs of a cement floor.
3. A design feature at the eastern end of the building is a chimney.
4. There are a number of features that suggest it was an outbuilding to Building
One. A wall appears to have run the length of the northern side of the building suggesting that access was from the southern or eastern sides of the building.
There are no signs on the existing interior walls that they have been rendered suggesting that it was not as important as Building One. c. Floors 1. and 2.
These floors are located close to the historic fence line separating Little
Wadgedin from the old Wool Shed site (Figure 6.). They are grouped together as they are similar in style and existing material and are located about six metres distance from each other on the same side of the historic fence.
1. The two cement floors are the only surface evidence remaining to suggest that they were sites of buildings.
2. They covered 2 x 2 metres at the most so were very small structures.
3. They are located some distance from the other building foundations with no discernable feature connecting them with the other buildings.
4. Maybe these were not building floors but served another purpose.
Figure 6.4 Cement floor at Little Wadgedin. (Photo: S. M. Jones, March 2009)
6.2.1 Site disturbance processes at Little Wadgedin
Natural site formation processes:
A major source of natural site formation processes involves the Southern hairynosed wombat (Lasiorhinus latifrons) population. This is a protected species in
South Australia and is the states faunal emblem. The wombats have created a complex system of burrows (tunnels) at different locations (Little Wadgedin and
Big Wadgedin) and a network of surface pathways connecting these burrows.
Each burrow may have several entrances. The wombats cause damage in three ways; by their burrowing activity (Figure 6.5), by creating surface pathways through the landscape and by pawing or scratching the surface.
Figure 6.5 Wombat burrow at Little Wadgedin (Photo:S. M. Jones March 2009)
According to Irene Aguis (PC 28/3/09), a grader was used to bulldoze over wombat holes in the area around the old wool shed site. Though no dateline was given for when this happened, the grader tracks are still discernable. The wombat activity on the sign is cause for stopping another potentially damaging activity on site; vehicles driving over the area to avoid burrows.
Cultural site formation processes
There are a diverse range of cultural site formation processes at work on Little
Wadgedin that include the following:
1. Presence of Narungga people living in the area before invader occupation.
The nature of Aboriginal material structure building material that utilizes natural foliage is vulnerable both to the elements and potential fire damage and leaves very little trace of its existence. If hessian bags was used as a building material, they are also a perishable material. The subsequent development of the mission would also have had an impact on the Aboriginal structures. It is possible then that the only evidence of fringe camp sites in this area will be represented by hearths or artefact scatters.
2. The development of the mission standing structures, farm fixtures and farming practices associated with stock had a significant impact on this landscape in the following ways: clearing the land, building of roads, fences, power and telegraph lines and construction of buildings.
3. Subsequent land clearance activity by dismantling and demolishing buildings, fences and covering over wombat holes occurred in the 19 th
century. The surface structures previously mentioned had been dismantled sometime before 1941 according to Irene Agius whilst the old wool shed was demolished in recent years.
4. Continuous rubbish dumping activity from at least the early part of the nineteenth century to the present.
5. Extraneous cultural activity such as bottling collecting or going to un unidentified part of Little Wadgedin to play Two-up or cards where it is feasible that a hearth might have been built.
Figure 6.6. : Mud map of Big Wadgedin (Drawn by S. M. Jones;)
6.3 Survey - Big Wadgedin
Susanne Montana Jones: Okay, now you told me that you use to go down to Big
Irene Agius: As we got older, we were allowed to go down with Aunty Flossie –
Aunty Bessie had too many kids, but Aunty Flossie and Mum came with us one day and showed us what they use to do to keep us in the tribal section like that, so we wouldn’t forget and we would sit down by a bush while some of us sat down and made ourselves comfortable, some of use went around picking up sticks of wood to make a fire and when the fire burnt out they would put potatoes and onions on the coals – even meat they would take down to put on the coals.
(Oral history interview Appendix :6)
Big Wadgedin is entirely fenced in with one drive through access point from the
Point Pearce/Port Victoria Road side. The site is surrounded by farm land on two sides and main roads on the other two sides (Figure 6.6), and is presently being used as the Point Pearce rubbish dump for both household rubbish and general rubbish (Figure 6.7). Bulldozers are used to shift earth and rubbish around. The major dump area is surrounded by relatively flat ground sparsely and moderately covered with low lying scrub in different areas. There is evidence of random rubbish dumping activity throughout the area that appears to predate the current dump.
Figure 6.7 Current rubbish dump site at Big Wadgedin. (Photo: S. M. Jones,
Irene Agius: ….Big Wadgedin is where the dump is and that wasn’t supposed to be a dump. That was a dump for the road when they put the bitumen through.
Our dump was down going down towards the beach.
Susanne Montana Jones: Yes, I’ve seen that. Okay, so why did they make it a dump over here at Wadgedin Scrub?
Irene Agius: I don’t know. People came from Adelaide and said you should put a dump somehere else, now.
(Oral history interview Appendix :8)
6.3.1 Site disturbance processes at Big Wadgedin
Since the end of the mission era, Big Wadgedin has been subjected to a range of natural and cultural site formation processes that have changed over a period of time.
Natural site formation processes:
A wombat population is also established at Big Wadgedin.
Cultural site formation processes:
Cultural site formation processes at Big Wadgedin reflect different types of activity at different times.
1. In relation to social or cultural activity, between the 1920s to the 1940s PP
Aboriginal people socially congregated in the area regularly. Information predating this time is unknown.
2. In relation to rubbish dumping activity, at some time after this period but before the establishment of the current rubbish dump, and before the current fence line was established, it became a location for selective rubbish dumping.
3. Though no farm practices such as growing crops was carried out on the area, there is no available information about whether or not there was any land clearing or stock like sheep enclosed on site.
4. A fence line was erection around the entire area separating it from farm land.
A dirt road follows the inside fence line.
Claudia Smith: Well, Aboriginal people called it ‘Hollywood’ and non
Aboriginal people called it Reef Point.
(Oral history 1/3/09)
The Hollywood site is located on the coast, immediately adjoining the mission on the other side of the former mission northern boundary fence and south of the small sea side shack settlement of Chinamans Well. The results of this surface indicated that little material culture in the way of foundations exist aside from the foundations of a water tank.
6.4.1 Site disturbance processes at Hollywood
Hollywood has been subjected to a diverse range of natural and cultural site formation processes that have changed over a period of time.
Natural site formation processes
As the Hollywood fringe camp site is located on the beach,, shifting sands, low lying vegetation and potential exposure to king tides have all obscured any remaining structures associated with the camp such as wells or building foundations.
Cultural site formation processes
1. Sometime in the last twenty years, heavy earthmoving equipment was used to clear the Hollywood fringe camp site leaving only scattered artefacts from this time. The current road was built only in recent times.
2. An access vehicle track to the beach front comes off the main road and divides the site.
This chapter has detailed the results of the pre-disturbance surveys of two areas associated with fringe camps on or around Point Pearce. The oral history
61 interviews and the surveys revealed areas associated with complex cross cultural activity in the material culture which was investigated using oral history interviews and surveys. At this stage, the only evidence of the existence of fringe camps at these sites rests with the social history and not the material evidence. The next chapter discusses these results.
CHAPTER 7 DISCUSSION
In working with various communities, I discovered that collaboration is a balancing act: there were things that I wanted to do and things the band wanted done. Often they coincided, occasionally not.
(Nicholas et al. 2008:277)
The main aim of this research was to work ethically with an Indigenous community by providing an archaeological theme that was mutually interesting to both the community and the researcher and by establishing a working relationship based on the principle of reciprocity. Two factors created inherent tensions in this work, essentially through balancing time spent with the community with balancing time spent on the research subject and not understanding the need for prior consultation with the community about the project. This chapter discusses the benefits of protocols; outcomes in terms of relevancy of research to the Point Pearce community, outlines a context for the relationship at different stages and how it defines the archaeology and describes some future directions resulting from this work.
7.1 Guidelines for working with Indigenous communities
There are two types of guidelines or protocols with working with Indigenous communities, the industry related Codes of Ethics and guidelines and the
Indigenous community generated protocols. The industry related guidelines for ethical archaeological work practice with Indigenous communities provide significant signposts for conducting all of the steps associated with negotiating projects and activities with the Indigenous community (In industry Codes of
Ethics and other guidelines such as Ask First: A guide to respecting Indigenous
heritage places and values 2002). These guidelines read well but can translate into something different when put into practice. For instance, in relation to community consultation, I did approach the community for approval to do the project, which was subsequently forthcoming. I could have taken another
63 approach and first asked the community if they were interested in having an outsider come in to do research and if so, if they were interested in my proposal or something else.
There are also Indigenous community generated protocols that may include the designation of a mentor to the researcher. One example of protocols that have been developed with a community are those that are outlined by Smith and
Jackson (2008). In relation to this research, the protocols were few, loosely defined and dependent on informal communication processes rather then guidelines for doing the research. This may reflect the level of interactions between the community and outside researchers over time or the experience of the Community Council in dealing with outside researchers. It may also reflect my level of experience with working with an Indigenous community which was none. This has lead to my approaching my mentor with the idea that we develop guidelines for community designated mentors and researchers.
7.2 The relevance of research to an Indigenous community
One of the issues addressed by Indigenous archaeology theory is that of ensuring a ‘relevant’ archaeology to the community. There are a number of definitions of
‘relevant’ archaeology; relevant in regards to the express directions of the community, negotiated archaeological methods and practice or as in this case, proposing a research topic - fringe camps on and around a mission that represented Indigenous perspectives of a mission through the lifestyle choices of the Aboriginal population outside of the formal mission structure or mission management. This approach was possibly a factor in its being approved by both the Point Pearce Community Council on initial application for research. This naïve approach about a ‘relevant archaeology’ was not enough to engage community support or general interest in the topic because I had not factored in the need for the community to get to know me as a person and give them time to get to know me. At one level, there was definitely approval about the research
64 topic, but it needed to extend to a form of ‘approval’ about me as an archaeology representative and a person.
7.3 How the relationship can define the archaeological process
An analysis of the impact of the relationship on this project started with the questions - how do archaeologists measure the success of their relationship with an Indigenous community and what are the contexts for measuring the success of relationship building process? I decided to measure the relationship by identifying turning points and events that signaled progression in the research topic. The essential factor was the time element where as more time was spent with the community as well as the passage of time, there were more observable changes. The following areas were used to provide the context: a. The level of information that I got from community members over a period of time. b. Expressions of interest in the research topic. c. The types of cooperation. d. The range of extra activities we did together.
In relation to the level of information, the exchange of information is an important part of the relationship. There were three elements association with the level of information that provided a basis for measuring the relationship including the type of information, the degree of information imparted and information soliciting the need for clarity. I gradually became aware that there were different ‘types’ of information, represented by information I needed to know for my safety, information that was none of my business, and information that I might or might not know in the future, but that was culturally important to the community and wasn’t going to be shared with me in the present. During the course of the time of this research with the community, different interactions with the community have highlighted the different types of information and all
65 of them are indicative of a developing relationship in the form of their concern for me as a person or for the research topic.
The degree of information imparted can be best illustrated by the following example of the level of information shared with me about the name of areas. I first came across the name ‘Wadgedin Scrub’ in the Social History Project of
Point Pearce (Woods and Westell 1995) and began talking about it with community Elders. It took nine months from using the term ‘Wadgedin Scrub’ and assuming it was the only term used, to being told that there were other names, ‘Little Wadgedin’ and ‘Big Wadgedin’. During that time, I had asked someone how they distinguished between the two areas and at the time, was not given these terms. This may simply mean that they may not have known these other names, or, that they did and were not prepared to share them with me at the time. When I use these terms now, I know that it signals to community members that I have a level of knowledge about places in the landscape that is common terminology to the community and also indicates a degree of acceptance into community knowledge. In using these terms in this work, it is a small act of reconciliation where the Point Pearce community are willing to share common terminology of language, perhaps illustrated by the fact that these terms where not offered in the publication about the Social History Project of
When someone asks you to explain what you mean, in its broadest context, it signals that they want to understand what you are saying and that they are interested. It is a valuable gift. On one occasion, a community member asked me to clarify what was meant by ‘post-contact’ archaeology – before or after invasion. I related to this question at a personal level because I always have to pause when using the terms ‘former’ and ‘latter’. The question also helped me understand that I was using a language that was not part of the community language at present. In the context of this research about fringe camps, I still
66 have reservations about how community people understand the term ‘fringe camp’ because of the term ‘bag camp’ that is used by the community.
One way of gauging the community responses to the research subject is by expressions of interest. In this case, there were two significant examples at the individual and community level. The first example is in relation to information about some artefact scatters in Little Wadgedin that suggested Indigenous metal work activity. There were three major surface artefact scatters that presented as a possible hearth and metal work activity by Aborigines on site. When I shared this possibility to Irene Agius, she wanted to see the sites in question. After examining them, Irene suggested that they were rubbish from the blacksmith shop that was demolished some years ago and she took to the site of the former blacksmith shop (Figure 7.1). She was right.
Figure 7.1 Material culture from former black smith shop (Photo: S. M. Jones
In relation to the community level, this occurred in March 2009 when community members indicated that they wanted me to formally register the sites of Wadgegin Scrub and Hollywood with the South Australian Aboriginal
Heritage Branch (Aboriginal Affairs and reconciliation Division, Department of the Premier and Cabinet). It is these types of interest in archaeological research that can enhance the archaeological process.
Finally, during this period of time with the community, there have been degrees of cooperation at different periods. The initial research proposal rested on the notion that it was important to interact in terms of reciprocity and on this occasion, this was loosely defined as community time with the research topic for my time on activities outside of the research topic. A weakness of this approach was that it did not set out the terms and conditions in more detail. In the early phase of the project there seemed to be mixed cooperation. An example of a discernable change in cooperation occurred after the 140 th
anniversary event to mark the establishment of the mission. On this occasion, I spent time on the community helping with the physical set up for the event as well as volunteering time during the event. Subsequently, when I pointed out to community people that I had a deadline to meet for the thesis, there were always instant and helpful responses. One analysis of this situation is that enough people in the community saw that I was putting in substantial volunteer time with them and that they reciprocated in kind.
7.4 Future directions
There are future directions at different levels, both for the work with the Point
Pearce community and for the practice of Indigenous archaeology.
In relation to Point Pearce, there are a number of different avenues of research to pursue, first the need to carrying on with identifying fringe camps sites at
Wadgedin Scrub and also the areas known as Little and Big Jericho to identify if there are fringe camp sites in these areas. It would also be an interesting exercise
68 to establish a relationship simple to the ‘sister city scheme’ but in this context a
‘sister former mission scheme’ with the Ramahyuck mission site because of the associations with Kuhn and Hagenauer (Edwards 1999). Finally, this thesis has outlined a possible framework for relationships on and around a mission that was never presented to the Point Pearce community to discuss. This is raised here for two reasons, first by sharing these ideas in discussions, it is being respectful and the outcomes may be beneficial to the archaeology by adding to or correcting the misconceptions. More importantly, it recognizes the need for this process to occur as part of the decolonizing of archaeology theory.
In relation to the topic of fringe camps on and around missions, information about these sites is relatively sparse with oblique references in historical documentation to the inhabitants of the fringe camps, rather than active descriptions of the layout, architecture of these sites or purpose for these sites.
The results of this work suggest the importance of surveys and recordings of existing fringe camps on and around missions as a first priority because of the threat of land clearance or damage. In archaeology, a landscape approach has demonstrated the complexity of relationships in human and material terms and turning points in those types of relationships. If more fringe camp sites are lost around or on mission sites, than an important part of the material culture is lost that may have subsequent implications for any interpretations of these sites.
There is also scope on Point Pearce to compare and contrast the changes of camp site places between traditional and post-contact sites (Memmott 2002).
In relation to Indigenous archaeology, one aim of Indigenous archaeology is to attract Indigenous peoples in to the profession and it is important that the relationship between present archaeologists and Indigenous peoples positively address issues such as lack of trust or issues from the past for the simple reason that Indigenous people are more likely to be attracted to professions where the individual is liked and trusted, then disliked and not trusted. For the archaeology
69 discipline, in part, this is about responsibly acknowledging and accepting the consequences of past actions of archaeology.
One useful vehicle to facilitate this is the annual National Archaeology Week event that could involve projects for Indigenous communities and archaeologists as well as non-Indigenous communities incorporating education about
Indigenous archaeologies. Some of these activities could address community attitudes to archaeologists in general; community education of archaeology practice as it is practiced today compared to the past; developing methods with communities for dealing with any issues that might have arisen from past archaeological projects; create more opportunities for Indigenous communities to practice archaeology themselves; and address the issue of terminology used by Indigenous communities and within archaeology.
Every state has different legislation and Heritage Acts which has an impact on who, when and how Indigenous archaeology is conducted, and it is difficult to generalize, at least in relation to South Australia, this approach could lead to building alliances with Indigenous peoples; fostering greater Indigenous involvement in archaeology or sponsoring Indigenous peoples into the profession of archaeology. For the latter, it could be grounded in a form of reconciliation.
Universities and archaeology associations can target the need for more practical training for students and archaeologists, that addresses a number of areas including an awareness of the range of Indigenous lifestyles from urban to remote locations, as well as providing training in human relation skills to effectively identify and deal with any ‘hidden’ archaeology issues within the relationship boundary such as those mentioned above. Archaeologists are not trained in the nuances of developing relationships with communities. It is now normal archaeology practice that ‘community consultation’ occurs. What does this mean in practice and how does it happen with different communities?
Publishing results of collaborative approaches is one excellent step (Colwell-
Chanthaphonh and Ferguson 2008) but another way of doing this is perhaps to have semi regular events in each state which brings together both archaeologists
(and students) and Indigenous representatives to talk about how things are going, and share the success and failures of different approaches. Perhaps this is another National Archaeology Week activity? Universities in particularly are uniquely situated to provide a neutral territory, to explore alternative sustainable and ethical research practices with Indigenous peoples. This is fine in theory but it may mean some imaginative thinking to fit in with overworked and understaffed archaeology departments.
Chapter 8 Conclusion
“The implications for these findings for archaeology are that new and structured approaches to working with Indigenous peoples are required in order to overcome the taken-for-granted practices within the archaeological discipline and to make attempts to rectify these tensions in the future.”
This thesis has outlined the journey of an archaeology project on post contact fringe camps on and around a mission with an Indigenous community. It has outlined the complexities of establishing a relationship, demonstrated the importance and benefits of relationship building for the archaeology project and explored some issues arising in the course of this research.
At a fundamental point during the course of this project when I was torn between the pressures of completing this research thesis on time and spending quality time with the community, I found myself asking, for whom was I doing this archaeology project and why was I doing it. This came about because of the inherent tensions between wanting to produce a meaningful body of work for the archaeology discipline demonstrating ‘best practice’, whilst recognizing from a very early stage of the project that it would have been counter productive to the archaeology research if I didn’t make an effort to spend time with the community in ways that maximized opportunities to get to know each other.
This has resolved itself in an uncomfortable mix of feeling incomplete and unhappy about the limited range of archaeological activity to date, with a deep sense of satisfaction with some of the events and outcomes during the course of developing the relationship because I know I took the right course of action.
It has also meant a personal reevaluation of what Indigenous archaeology is?
I started with the assumption that it was about applying archaeological theory and methods to a site that changed to something that represents the human face of archaeology. The foundation of Indigenous archaeology, at least for the moment, is about the need for expressions of reconciliation in the broadest sense of the word, because of the tension inherent in the combination of ‘Indigenous archaeology,’ where the ‘Indigenous’ position epitomizes a world view that was different before colonization and remains different today for other reasons, and the position of ‘archaeology’ which is a ‘colonialist endeavor’ (Smith and
Wobst 2005:5). Indigenous archaeology can provide opportunities for inner
‘reconciliation’ for descendant Indigenous individuals or communities who straddle different cultures. It can provoke opportunities for inner ‘reconciliation’ for descendant non-Indigenous individuals or communities about past actions.
An example of this was my need to connect with my Point Pearce community
Mentor by giving her a gift that symbolized the time of innocence before the
European invasion of Australia, which resulted in the purchase of a small gift pre-dating colonization. For the first time in my life, I had to internally process my feelings about being a goonya. I loved creating the notion that there was one point that we could symbolically connect with each other - ‘a time of innocence’ in the past, because it meant the possibility of working together towards ‘a time after healing has happened’ for the present and future.
Finally, it is about ‘reconciliation’ for archaeologists who straddle a science based in Western ways of knowing with the need to continue to create new approaches where the relationship with Indigenous communities is more relevant than the science based material evidence. In the context of working with Indigenous peoples, this research project has demonstrated that it takes time to develop a relationship with the community, that the relationship will continue to evolve and that it can prove to be beneficial to archaeological research in the longer term. In the context of working with Indigenous peoples the archaeologist needs to be tooled up with additional skills beyond the knowledge of archaeological theory and practice that can enhance relationship
73 building with Indigenous communities. Ultimately, during the course of this project it has proven beneficial to an individual, an Aboriginal community and consequently launched us on a longer journey with no end in sight.
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Department of Aboriginal Affairs GRG 52/1
ORAL HISTORY INTERVIEW
Date - 7th March, 2009
Interviewer - Susanne Montana Jones, Flinders University archaeology Honours
Student (No: 2023452)
Interviewee - Irene Aguis
Contact - Parrys Road, Point Pearce South Australia
- Wadgedin Scrub Site, Yorke Peninsula, South Australia
S. - Susanne Montana Jones
I. – Irene
Wadgedin Scrub 1. Refers to Big Wadgedin
Wadgedin Scrub 2. Refers to Little Wadgedin
I am Susanne Montana Jones, an Honours archaeology student at Flinders University,
South Australia, and this is an oral history interview in relation to my Honours thesis about Aboriginal fringe camps located on or around the former Aboriginal mission of
Point Pearce, Yorke Peninsula South Australia.
The purpose of this interview is to collect relevant information about Aboriginal fringe camps on and around the former mission that can provide a better understanding of fringe camps in general, and more specifically the relationships between the fringe camps and the former mission.
Today is the Saturday, the 7 th
March, 2009 and the time is 1.20 pm and we are located at
…..I am with Irene Aguis at Point Pearce. Hello Irene.
I. Hello there dear.
S. Are you comfortable?
I. I have to go forward because I took my hearing aid out because of the spare battery.
S. Do you think we will be able to do the interview?
I. Well if you talk loud enough.
S. Okay, I will talk loud enough. So the record, could you give me your name and your relationship to the Narungga Nation of Yorke Peninsula?
I. My name is Irene Dorothy Aguis and I was born on Point Pearce and I lived here most of my life. After the age of 15 well I first went out to work.
S. Okay. And in what year were you born.
I. I was born on the 30
of April, 1931.
S. Oh wow, well that’s a good date, in relation to it. So today, we are going to be talking about Wadgedin Scrub and I believe that Wadgedin Scrub is - and Wadgedin Scrub 2?
I. That’s right.
S. So why were they separated?
I. They were separated because of the road they made a road to go through to Port
Victoria; otherwise the only other road was going round the beach or the coast line.
S. Okay. So do you remember that road being built?
I. I don’t remember it being built but I remember driving a horse and buggy over both roads.
I. Going to Port both ways - beach side and main road side.
S. Are there any other….. Was there anybody living at W. S. in your life time?
I. Could have been. I don’t remember. But I do remember a pile of houses, about nine houses being built on the outskirts of Point Pearce. The mission station – in those days, that housed about nine families. Most of them are dead now.
S. Right. And were those houses built at W. S. or on the outskirts.
I. A couple of houses built on W. S. in the earlier days, not that I can remember.
S. So do you remember memories or someone telling you when you were a child about
I. I could remember a hall being built in 1936 and I guess I was about five or six years old then.
S. Is that the hall that is there now?
I. Yes, the church.
S. Do your remember your Grandparents talking to you about W. S. .
I. My grandmothers died before I was born. Both of them. One came from Point McCleay and her name was Mary Wilson. She married Barney Warrior my Grandfather.
S. Was he your paternal grandfather?
I. My Mothers father. My father’s father was Eddy Sansbury and he was born and lived here on Point Pearce but he was married twice. The first wife was Jessie Johnson from
Adnmanta???? tribe. He had about seven kids from Granny Jessie and both the old ladies died before I was born, otherwise I would have known a lot more now.
S. Okay. And did your grandfathers talk to you about W. S.?
I. Yes, they did say that there was in the early part before the white man came or when the white man came, they pushed other Aboriginal families off their land and the only way they could come to a safe place was Point Pearce. At one stage that I know of - which they did, and when they came they were told that they weren’t allowed into the community until they had permission from the head man. As far as I know, the head man was called Durra and he was my Great Great Grandfather.
S. Great, Great Grandfather.
I. He was on my fathers’ side. I found out after awhile that the tribe he came from was called Adjahdurra.
S. I’ve seen that spelling. How do you spell ‘Durra’?
S. Dury. Okay, thank you. Your Great, Great Grandfather Dury gave permission….
I. He was Great, great, great Grandfather.
S. Your Great, great, great Grandfather gave permission to other people to come on the mission.
I. Yes, but before that he made sure that the other Nungas (correct spelling??) , Nunga families that came from other areas had no disease or typhoid fever. Because typhoid fever in those days was raging. A lot of people died from typhoid fever here.
S. So that was his role.
I. You know where Lanie (sister) lives?
I. Well straight across from her stone house was an old type house and they had that as the hospital. That’s where they kept them, who were pretty sick.
S. Okay. So that was one story where you told any other stories about Wadgedin Scrub as a child when you were young by your Grandfathers?
I. I haven’t told three stories, three main stories I haven’t told anyone and I’m not about to tell it today. But, it will be told soon. I just let people know where we are from and where we were educated and born and what I would like to say is Narungga, the name
Narungga is the name for a camping ground, not for the people. There was no Narungga
S. Okay. How does that relate to Wadgedin Scrub?
I. Wadgedin Scrub. Well like I said they didn’t want any germs coming in to finish the tribe off so they made stay out to make sure they were clean enough to come in.
S. Okay. So do you know where the name ‘Wadgedin’ comes from?
I. Wadgedin is just the name of scrub. It’s a tribal name.
S. So when we say ‘Wadgedin Scrub’, it’s like saying ‘Scrub Scrub’.
I. ‘Wadgedin’ is, we’ll go down to the scrub.
S. Means we’ll go down to the scrub?
S. So why do people say Wadgedin Scrub there as a location, when they don’t say
‘Wadgedin Scrub’ over there, or behind the school?
I. I don’t know. It was just that they - once they made their home here on Point Pearce, they had three places to make their home – Lanie could tell you different, but she will come up with the same words I’ve given you there for Narungga. And she will tell you
86 that me and her were brought up different to the others. So whether we were made to be the story tellers or not I don’t know.
S. Okay, so what were the three places if people came to the mission where were the three places?
I. One was down at Gulatry (correct spelling????), straight down the road here – there was a big camping ground there, but there were camping grounds all over Yorke
S. Yes, that’s right.
I. And the main one was at Stenhouse Bay.
S. Okay, so on Point Pearce mission there was Guladri,
I. Guladri and at Balgowan.
S. So Balgowan wasn’t on the mission though was it?
I. It was all along there right up to Cape Elizabeth. That was woman’s business in Cape
S. And where was the third place? At Gulatry, one at Balgowan and..
I. And one here you see at Point Pearce, Wadgedin Scrub.
S. Wadgedin Scrub. Okay. So there are theories being put forward that by a historian that the then Aboriginal people in 1868 wanted the mission put here because it was a significant place to them?
I. I think the white man put it here because it was too close to the beach.
S. So you think the white man put it here?
I. White man put it here but they still had to bring the water in from the beach here.
S. So you don’t think that the then Aboriginal people wanted to be here.
I. Well put it this way, the tribes were fringe dwellers all around the place and then the white man came and took over. The white man didn’t want them hanging around. So they got together and all this area right to Stenhouse Bay and Marion Bay, that all belonged to one person – from Maitland all the way down. That person was Roger Samuel. Samuel
Rogers. In a meeting with Mootna, Kadina and Maitland whites didn’t want the blacks on their land. They bought the land from the government for fifty cents or whatever, fifty dollars, or shillings rather and because Moonta was becoming famous because of the rock
87 they found, coal mine which was found by my Great great, great Grandfather Tommy -
S. You mean copper mine.
I. Yes, the copper mine. It was found by him and another white man. They gave the white man first preference. Even put a statue of him with a lump of coal in his hands. I haven’t seen the statue all the time I’ve lived here. But they offered to Tommy then, King
Tommy then, five shillings or fifty cents, whatever the money was then and a pension when he died, the pension died with him.
S. Is the statue still there?
I. The statues still up there.
S. Do you want me to take you there?
I. Yeah one day.
S. Okay let’s do that.
I.. We’ll have a look I don’t know where abouts it is.
S. No, I don’t know either. Did anybody else besides your Grandfathers tell you anything about Wadgedin Scrub?
I. No, because when they all came down from – the fringe dwellers were kicked off once they got this land, it was only part of the beach that they got. But when they moved, the
Chinese moved with them and the white man on horses also moved with them, so they fed the Chinese and gave them water, found water for them, and the priest. They came all the way down to the wells down here, where they had a concealed well or something or they just dug and the water came up. Then the wells – when the fringe dwellers got here or got down to the beach, one of the bosses said… no, the priest said to the men,”Who is your leader?” because he heard them calling him Durra and they pointed to King Tommy.
And he went to Tommy and said, “You’re the leader.” He was watching them you see, who moved first and who would follow him. And he went to Tommy and said, “I was told that you were the leader.” And he couldn’t deny it then, so he said, “I’ll call you
Tommy.” Before that, he said, “No, I’ll call you King Tommy”, and that’s where Tommy got his name. There is no black person in this world who’s got a name, only tribal name sort of thing. Even Africa, they only have their tribal name. So, they take their names from King. Some you’ve ‘Billy’ and ‘Hopping Jimmy’, horrible names they gave, the whites, you know. There are a lot down there that are buried in the cemetery with those funny names and at Edithburgh.
S. Okay, now you told me that you use to go down to Wadgedin Scrub No. 1.
I. As we got older, we were allowed to go down with Aunty Flossie – Aunty Bessie had too many kids, but Aunty Flossie and Mum came with us one day and showed us what they use to do to keep us in the tribal section like that, so we wouldn’t forget and we would sit down by a bush while some of us sat down and made ourselves comfortable, some of us went around picking up sticks of wood to make a fire and when the fire burnt out they would put potatoes and onions on the coals – even meat they would take down to put on the coals.
S. So at what age were you?
I. About seven or eight.
S. And you went down a few times?
I. We went down right up until I was fifteen and they stopped it then because I had to go out and work. And we never left. The whole time, we would go to church on a Sunday and sometimes they had Catholic mass in the morning then, Methodist at 11.00 –
Catholic was 7.00, and we had Catholic people here, Aboriginals. Then we had Sunday school. Then in the evening we had Lutheran and I still go to church today. There’s only me and her (Lanie) because we got a new priest, that priest and help with Lionel and his lady Pat Web.
S. So which day did you go to Wadgedin Scrub, on Sunday?
I. On the Sunday, it was a tradition, that we did that every Sunday.
S. So which adults went with you, Aunty Flossie?
I. Oh, a big mob of us, nearly half of the community because half of them were getting old and of course Mum and then had a lot of kids, and Aunty Flossie she had three. She had seven but they all passed on too. They all ended up, likes Mums kids they all ended up with - what’s that word, fits, the ordinary fits.
I. No, not epilepsy, ordinary fits.
S. So who was Aunty Flossie, how were you related to her?
I. My Mothers sister.
S. and your Mothers name?
I. Annie Warrior, before she married Sansbury. You take my cousins who are running the show up at Nagriee (correct spelling?????), they said to me we’ve only got up to Ernest
Warrior, and I said Ernest Warrior, he could have changed his name. He could have been
89 one that came out on the boat. He is supposed to be Grandfather Barney’s father. Plus he could have changed his name, he could have been a man who stole a loaf of bread and was known as a criminal, so he was sent out here and he could have changed his proper name to ‘Warrior’. I said, “You don’t know that”. And his name may not have been
‘Ernest Warrior’. Most blacks took their name from white man.
S. When the big mob went down there you would make a fire, cook food and what other things did you do there?
I. Some of us kids played around, we had a skipping rope and played knuckle bones, we would pick up the knuckle bones from dead sheep. Because in the early days we would go around the paddocks, when the war was on and pick up the bones, all the bones had to be picked up from the paddock and bagged and stuck on the dray and put on the big shed that stored what bales of wheat and barley weren’t taken to market was left in the shed.
The shed was a big blacksmiths shop. They had a blacksmiths shop at one end and another big store for the barley and oats and whatever that weren’t taken away and we had a mans room built onto it so that the man living there looked after the lot. But the blacksmiths shop use to make the rims for the buggies and the wagon and the drays.
S. So getting back to the games you use to play. When you were 15, you left. And before you were were still going down to Wadgedin Scrub before 15. Every week you would go down?
I. Every week if it wasn’t raining. It was mainly winter time that we did that.
S. So which one was it. Where the rubbish dump is now?
I. Yes, it was down there but further towards the ???.
S. and you said before the idea was to maintain the tradition. So how did it maintain the tradition?
I. Well people still did it until I came back and then people didn’t bother anymore. I asked if they go down to the scrub and they said no. And they knocked down the blacksmiths shop and the wheat and barley shed. They said it had to be knocked down because it was vermin infested with all sorts of animals. And I asked them who knocked the houses down on the end there, but it was all done by the officials I suppose, because they didn’t want this place to be a brothel. They just wanted a few houses on the place that they could maintain. And in the long run they ended up leaving, and they left the black men take over. Just with government grants.
S. That was in 1969, 1972
I. 1973. In the ‘60s, they decided to put an act on the place to safe guard it. So they safe guarded the place under the banner of Aboriginal Lands Trust. And The Aboriginal
Lands Trust still looks after it today. When we had a big meeting here, we told them you
90 are the bosses and don’t let anyone tell you different. You are the two bosses that look after the place. We didn’t know if we were going to get into trouble but we said it anyway.
S. Do you have any photographs of the Wadgedin Scrub?
I. Photographs? Nobody bothered to take any photos. I suppose some did and some didn’t. Depended on who had cameras I suppose.
S. No, that would be right. And just to make sure, where the rubbish dump is today, you call it Wadgedin Scrub?
I. That’s all Wadgedin Scrub, both sides.
S. And you said ‘one’ and ‘two’ the other day? Did you say Wadgedin Scrub 1 and
Wadgedin Scrub 2?
I. Yes. You could say that. Number 2 is where the dump is and that wasn’t supposed to be a dump. That was a dump for the road when they put the bitumen through. Our dump was down going down towards the beach.
S. Yes, I’ve seen that. Okay. So why did they make it a dump over here at Wadgedin
I. I don’t know. People came from Adelaide and said you should put a dump somewhere else, now.
S. So I’ve heard that at Wadgedin Scrub, there use to be ceremonial grounds.
I. There could have been, yes.
S. That young people were initiated there.
I. Yes, they could have been initiated there but I think they would have more likely been initiated out in the bush, more than down there. It was too close to the mob that they made stay there.
S. They certainly had a mob stay there. So do you know of any wells at either location…?
I. I haven’t seen any down there.
S. …..because I wondered how they got water?
I. I’ve wondered the same thing.
S. Unless they dug that big dam, you know where you thought that was a dam?
I. Water…I don’t know. If we had been allowed out of our house, we would have found out a lot of things.
S. So just again, to see if I can jig that memory of yours, every Sunday when you were walking down to Wadgedin Scrub, did you see any remnants of buildings or stone houses. So they had been bull dozed by then.
I. Nobody lived there then.
S. So there were no cottages or houses?
I. No houses were up. I didn’t see any houses up.
S. So what we saw when we went for that walk today, last week.
I. You’ll have to get a stone mason in to tell you how long that house were up. That would be a good idea.
S. So you didn’t hear any stories about that at all.
I. The only stories I heard was most of the men who liked playing cards or two up down at the scrub.
S. And they would go down there during the war years or after the war years?
I. I was still a kid when I heard all of that.
S. That’s a good memory.
I. I would have taken more notice after I was……….
S. So I’ll just ask some questions about Hollywood. Do you remember Hollywood?
I. I remember Hollywood. That’s my Grandfather Eddy’s second family home. He married a woman called Jessie Newchurch when our Granny Jessie passed on and he had seven kids from that lady too.
S. And did you use to visit Hollywood?
I. I use to go down to Hollywood. I use to drive Aunty Blanch down to Balgowan in a horse and buggy. I use to drive my mother and Aunty Flossie and Aunty Bessie down to
Maitland in a horse and cart for shopping.
S. Was it a good horse?
I. It was a good horse, just like the horse you see in Maitland. Semi draught. We had full draught horse, a Clydesdale and then we had the semi, just like that one up there.
S. Did you kit it up? Who got it ready for you?
I. I use to walk down the paddock and catch my, our horse and put him up against the fence and jump on his back and bring him home.
S. So you left here when you were 15, when did you come back here to live.
I. Thirteen months after.
S. So you were about 17.
I. I was 17 because at that age Grandfather Barney said to me, as soon as you turn 17, we’ll go up to Orroroo and show you Ochre Hill and I’ll show you the line with red and yellow ochre and I’ll show you Ochre Creek. I went and found them myself. And where I was born this side, two trees – they are whopping big trees, he said. And it was a birthing place for women, down further from the trees and in Betina (???) Creek. The trees were up as you were coming in from the road, and the creek runs at the back of it all the way down to the main creek.
S. And had your Grandfather Barney, had he died before he could show you those places?
I. Yes. I wasn’t allowed to go to his funeral; they had his coffin in a house. In those days they had the coffin in the house ready for burial and I had seen him and it was horrible – just like he was sleeping you know. But I would like to get hold of Berndts book,
Professor Berndts, because he use to ….all their work is frozen, him and his wife’s work over in Western Australia. We can’t get at them. They are both dead. They went around and came this with Grandfather Barney and I was 12 years old when they first came. He got up and had a shower and got dressed and waited for them. The bosses must have told him that they would be here to see him. So while we were outside talking a car – a tin lizzie – pulled up, one of them old cars and I started to cry. I didn’t want him leaving.
They got out of the car and handed him a case and told him to go and put his suit on.
They brought nice clothes so he got dressed in suit, new shoes, socks, everything and when he came out, they were talking to me when he came out and I said, what do you want to take him away for. And they said that they wanted to learn about his history. So he went with them and he lived in Professor Brendts father’s house in Adelaide somewhere and he was a Professor too. They were both Professors. Anthropologist and archaeologists.
S. How do you spell ‘Berndts’?
I Byrent, some name like that. It’s easy to find. I thought Parry would have it by now.
S. He doesn’t have it/
I. I don’t think he’s got it.
S. So they would have a lot of stories from your Grandfather Barney.
I Well, they had him for a couple of weeks, then they brought him back and then they would come out and take him the next month. When they had time to do that. They just kept him in Adelaide and they might have taken him up here where they could see what he had, but I went up there and I found a hill that you could go down it, turn your car off and the car would go down the hill, leave it off and the car would go back up, backwards.
You turn it around once you get down the hill and it will come up front without turning the key on.
S. So where is that?
I. Up at Orroroo. What is it called – Magnetic Hill? You could see the sign off the
S. It’s a strange sort of road to be on, isn’t it?
I. …. and the creek at the back of the hospital, that one with the overflow down it. I don’t know where the hill is…on one of them roads.
S. So with Hollywood, I’ll just talk about Hollywood a bit more, do you know when it was started? Do you know the history of Hollywood?
I. Come closer…History of Hollywood – I don’t know the history, but my Grandfather lived there. And if you go there, you know where we went that day, all the cottages belonged to the whites at one end and all down the bottom end belongs to Point Pearce and I keep telling the mayors in Maitland, I don’t want to put no body else down here, this is our part.
S. How would you like Wadgedin Scrub remembered?
I. I don’t know, if you could do something about that old building that would be something, or even fence it in, so no cars can go and run around it – they won’t run around in there because of wombats which is good.
S. So the wombats are a big help
I. Yes they are a big help.
S. And you would go looking for old bottles.
I. I would go there looking for old bottles, olive bottles, castor oil bottles.
S. And what would you do with the bottles?
I. They are all in my back shed there somewhere. Keeping them for a day. But one of my
Grandsons, he wants to grab anything that I’ve got this is old. There is a big flag in there, its still on the stand. When you get your own house, you can take that and there is a quartz bottle there, they use to have shandy in. Instead of making their own shandy they use to buy it like that. That’s the only drink I ever seen my father drink…the shandy.
S. So did other people use to come looking for bottles with you.
I. A few of they use to go down there and look for bottles. They are the ones who found the blue bottles and I only found one and I don’t know where that is now. That table comes from my husbands’ father. I’ve had that for fifty years I suppose. And I’ve got an old jug there that came to them to. And I look forward. Over there in the cabinet.
S. Okay. That’s a beautiful little jug. So that came from your husbands father as well.
I. He was married to a white woman and after his mother left ?????, divorced him he married a white woman and lived on Gouger Street in one of the old type houses, but they’re not there anymore – the houses.
S. No, there not there.
I. They are all knocked down. Lanie might give you a bit more about Hollywood because she lived here while I was gone.
S. And you were gone for how many years?
I. I came back when I had holidays or long weekends I had off. I’ve never really left the place, so I’ve always come back.
S. Okay, so shall we finish this interview unless there is anything else you want to say?
I. No, I would like to say one thing about King Tommy. They laugh about him how he went to – they read a piece from the museum how he went to Renmark to get fire sticks, grass seeds to make fire. They think its funny – what they don’t understand is that he didn’t go for grass seeds, he went up there to look for the ever lasting fire, a fire that you can just break, they would just set light.
S. And did he find it.
I. He found it and brought it home. So they don’t know that.
S. No, they don’t. Just one last question from me, is there anyone else besides Lanie who could talk about Wadgedin Scrub as well.
I. They could all talk about Wadgedin Scrub. You go around and interview everybody and then they would tell you that I don’t know nothing.
S. That you don’t know nothing? Would they know something about Wadgedin Scrub?
I. They would tell you all that you want to here I suppose.
S. Okay, so why would they say that you knew nothing?
I. Because they don’t class me from here. Because I went out to work. I had a woman who said to me at a big meeting in Tanunda, why are you telling us, saying things like that when you don’t belong at Point Pearce? I said, what, I was born on Point Pearce, you know that I lived there with my mother and father and two grandfathers. Unreal, I told them all to go and get stuffed.
S. I would like to say thank you very much for this interview and can I ask you anymore if I have any other questions.
I. You can come back because it’s got to be recorded.
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