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Title: A History of Kangaroo Hunting on the Northern Tablelands of New South Wales 1840-1880, using the Evidence of Folksong
Contributor(s): McDonald, Barry (author)
Publication Date: 1994
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Abstract: It has been common practice amongst social historians to use the results of folksong research to illuminate certain areas of enquiry otherwise obscured by a lack of documentary evidence. Thus, to cite one well-known example, Russel Ward illustrated his construction of an Australian national "character" with, inter alia, the texts of traditional songs. Similar use of folk material has been popular in Australian historiography throughout the twentieth century, although the nature of its role in discourse has varied. The discussion presented here owes its initial stimulus to two folksongs - both concerning kangaroo hunting - collected from traditional singers on the Northern Tablelands of New South Wales. It was noticed that each text described a different hunting method, and that fact, taken together with information that has come to light since their collection, suggested that further historical enquiry might reveal some pattern of development relating to the hunting of kangaroos in New England. As a corollary, it was hoped that the songs would thereby yield meaning at a deeper level generally than had previously been possible. Although they do not supply broad historical material that is otherwise unobtainable, the songs certainly add a unique dimension to the survey, and form a convenient framework for discussion. As their immediate significance cannot properly be understood outside a social context, they will be presented with comprehensive details of collection. From subsequent analysis in the light of further historical, ethnographic and literary evidence, it will be argued that local European kangaroo hunting methods - perhaps adapted originally from Aboriginal models - changed over time, in response to certain historical trends.
Publication Type: Book
Publisher: Rams Skull Press
Place of Publication: Kuranda, Australia
ISBN: 1875434925
Field of Research (FOR): 160101 Anthropology of Development
190401 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Performing Arts
160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology
HERDC Category Description: A1 Authored Book - Scholarly
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Extent of Pages: 24
Series Name: Australian Folklore Occasional Paper
Series Number : 22
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