Discussions on the history and historiography of Australia's New England

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Crowd research - seeking information on the Aborigines of South East Queensalnd

Meeting this morning with linguist Margaret Sharpe to talk about the Aboriginal history of New England. While both of us are conscious of how far we have come, more and more we can tell a story, so much remains to be done. There will always be gaps, but a many textured history is emerging.

Just a reminder on what I mean by New England. The history I am trying to write covers the Northern or New England Tablelands and the surrounding river valleys to the north, south, east and west. The focus of our discussions was on Aboriginal history up to European intrusion. To avoid the earlier history becoming entangled with later events, I am using 1788 as a cut-off point for the first part of the story.

Pretty obviously, the state boundaries as we know them today did not exist then. The subject area extended into what is now called Southern Queensland. I said pretty obviously, but in fact the later boundary created an effect that I call border myopia.The Aboriginal peoples who occupied South East Queensland and form part of my story are all seen as belonging to Queensland; their southern linkages are not focused on. A similar pattern holds south of the boarder.

This brings me to the point of this post. I am seeking your help to identify sources, evidence and subsequent analysis of the Aboriginal groups who spanned the border with a special focus on the Queensland side. The language groups include the inland riverine, tableland  and coastal language groups who extended into Queensland.

The evidence I am looking for includes archaeological studies, ethnological studies, historical or ethnographic memories, linguistic studies and Aboriginal oral tradition. Obviously I have some, but I am seeking more.

It's an experiment in crowd research.


Johnb said...

A serendipitous article Jim also has an interesting link in the correspondence.
The origins of Pama-Nyungan, Australia's largest family of Aboriginal languages
Claire Bowern, Yale University
The origin of around 300 of Australia's Aboriginal languages lies in Queensland, about 6,000 years ago.

Jim Belshaw said...

Thanks, John. I will bring this up as a post. I also forwarded it to Margaret Sharpe to get her comments as a linguist who knows the New England languages. I am trying to work out how it might fit with what we already know.