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Title: "Their God is their belly": Moravian missionaries at the Weipa Mission (1898-1932), Cape York Peninsula
Contributor(s): Morrison, Michael  (author); McNaughton, Darlene  (author); Keating, Claire (author)
Publication Date: 2015-07
Early Online Version: 2015-06-12
DOI: 10.1002/arco.5061
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Abstract: The Weipa Mission (1898-1932) on Cape York Peninsula (north-eastern Australia) was one of seven Australian missions designed and staffed by the Moravian Church during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. We present findings of archaeological and historical research that illustrate key aspects of the settlement’s development and operations. Moravian missionaries at Weipa aimed to create a built landscape that reshaped Aboriginal social, cultural and economic relations, with particular emphasis on children through the use of a dormitory system. However, their efforts were mediated by the open spatial and social boundaries of the settlement, which enabled Aboriginal people to make choices about the nature and extent to which they engaged with the mission. Adopting a political economy approach, we show that this openness emerged through complex social relationships between missionaries and Aboriginal people. While missionaries required access to children and adults, they lacked the ability (or will) to maintain a resident population through force, with limited financial resources also hampering their activities. Instead, Aboriginal people came and went from the settlement, with some establishing and maintaining social relationships with missionaries to access economic and social benefits. We argue that these social relationships led to the development of the settlement as a more open domain.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Archaeology in Oceania, 50(2), p. 85-104
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Inc
Place of Publication: Australia
ISSN: 1834-4453
Fields of Research (FoR) 2008: 210101 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Archaeology
210301 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 450102 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artefacts
450101 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander archaeology
450107 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2008: 950503 Understanding Australia's Past
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 130703 Understanding Australia’s past
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages: Y44 Kaanju / Kaantju
Y48 Wik Ompom
Y15 Teppathiggi
Y12 Luthigh
Y24 Thaynakwith
Y41 Mbiywom
Y28 Ungawangadi
Y32 Alngith
Y36 Ngkoth
Y39 Ntra'ngith
Y20 Anguthimri
Y23 Wimaranga
Y21 Nyuwathayi
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

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