Thwarted aspirations: The political economy of a Yolngu outstation, 1972 to the present

Thwarted aspirations: The political economy of a Yolngu outstation, 1972 to the present Book Section

Experiments in Self-Determination

  • Author(s): Morphy, Frances, Morphy, Howard
  • Secondary Author(s): Peterson, Nicolas, Myers, Fred
  • Published: 2016
  • Publisher: ANU Press
  • ISBN: 9781925022902

Abstract: The outstation movement and the Aboriginal art movement have something in common: they are both often said to have originated, even to have been invented, at the beginning of the 1970s. Each is associated with myths of origin that privilege the agency of non-Indigenous actors. One is that the rise of contemporary Aboriginal art was initiated by a Papunya schoolteacher in 1971; another is that the outstations were an initiative of the Whitlam Government associated with land rights. Some have given H. C. (‘Nugget’) Coombs a primary role in influencing the direction of both: in the case of Papunya, the important contribution made by the Australia Council; in the case of the homelands, Coombs’ romantic socialist imagination (Hughes 2007). Aesthetics and socialism come together in Helen Hughes’ articulation of the primary motivations of those white intellectuals and public servants who supported the outstation movement: ‘The homelands were designed to enable Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders to enjoy their traditional lands as hunters and gatherers with culturally rich lives’ (Hughes 2007: 5); and they were thought ‘to have inherited communitarian social structures that were free of private property concepts’ (p. 12).

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Suggested Citation
Morphy, Frances, Morphy, Howard, 2016, Thwarted aspirations: The political economy of a Yolngu outstation, 1972 to the present, Book Section, viewed 13 June 2024, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=29426.

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