By Ian J. McNiven

Probably the most well-known shipwreck sagas of the nineteenth century happened at the tropical coast of north-east Australia. In 1836 "The Stirling fort" used to be wrecked off the Queensland coast and plenty of of the staff, including the captain's spouse, Eliza Fraser, have been marooned on Fraser Island and held captive by means of Aboriginal humans. Early debts characterize Mrs Fraser as an blameless white sufferer of colonialism and her Aboriginal captors as barbarous savages. those narratives of the white girl and her Aboriginal "captors" impacted considerably on England and the politics of Empire at an early level in Australia's colonial background. this article significantly examines the Eliza Fraser episode by way of bringing jointly an interdisciplinary workforce of authors, artists, individuals of the Fraser Island Aboriginal neighborhood and teachers within the components of cultural and women's stories, literature, historical past, anthropology, archaeology, the visible and artistic arts. Essays within the textual content comprise feminist analyses of the incident, investigations of textual and visible representations of Aboriginal humans, and issues of the function performed by way of Eliza Fraser as inventive suggestion for the humanities. The textual content explores the structures of Empire, colonialism, identification, femininity, savagery, "otherness", captivity and survival.

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The castaways will claim that the Aborigines 'captured' them and, giving each person a 'master', forced them into 'slavery'. This language reflects a preoccupation of their generation. They belong to a period when slavery, a reality in many British colonies until its abolition in 1833, is the subject of moral condemnation and earnest political debate. The Aborigines, who know nothing of the concept of slavery, face a practical problem: how to cope with the arrival of a dozen extra mouths to feed.

3 This chapter investigates another dimension of the decolonizing process in Australian archaeology by examining how the actual form of archaeological narrative presented by archaeologists can dramatically affect its acceptability by Aboriginal people. During the 1970s, detailed archaeological research on Fraser Island provided the first reconstructions of 'traditional' Aboriginal society at the time of European contact and in 'prehistoric' times. It is in this regard that the Eliza Fraser saga played a key role for two important reasons.

Yes,' I said. 'Well,' said Mrs Ross, 'There's a "whin-middi" and her "piccanin" buried there' (a 'whin-middi' is a white woman and a 'piccanin' is a new-born baby). ' 'No,' she replied, 'Long before that'. ' I asked. ' 36 Chapter 3 Shipwreck saga as archaeological text: reconstructing Fraser Island's Aboriginal past Ian J. McNiven The development of the discipline of archaeology over the last 150 years has had a profound impact upon the way human history is both constructed and perceived. In most cases, representations of the past based on archaeological information have proved extremely important in the way we view not only our own culture but also other cultures.

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