Speaking back to colonial collections: Building living Aboriginal archives

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Journal Article
Artlink: Australian contemporary art quarterly, 2019, Volume 39 (Issue 2 (Jun 2019)), pp. 42 - 49
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During the late‑nineteenth and earlytwentieth centuries a significant number of amateur collectors were on a quest to record, categorise and preserve what they perceived to be the "dying races" of Aboriginal Australia. In New South Wales, collectors such as Alan Carroll (1823-1911) and Clifton Cappie Towle (1888-1946) set out to capture information on Aboriginal cultural practices and languages and to disseminate these through their networks and in published journals. Both used various kinds of methods to gather and document cultural content, be it in the form of diaries, paintings, manuscripts or photographs. This knowledge had previously been held by Aboriginal people in specific locations on Country or transmitted in fluid ways through relationships between people and informed by community protocols.
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