Australia - Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia
William Blandowski arrived in Australia in Spetemeber 1849. In his ten years' stay Blandowski worked as a surveyor and gold-miner, travelled along the Lower Murray River and the Coorong and organised scientific expeditions in northwestern, central and southeastern Victoria. As the first curator of the Melbourne Museum and a foundation memeber of the Royal Society of Victoria, he cut a flamboyant figure in colonial Melbourne.
Blandowski's major scientific expedition was to the Murray River in 1856 - 7, where he employed Aboriginal people to collect natural history specimens. The expedition took place at a time of significant ecological and social change and it produced unique collections, sketches and photographs of natural history and Aboriginal life.
Blandowski warmly acknowledged the contribution Aboriginal people made to his expedition and to colonial science, but he was very critical of the colonists' treatment of Aboriginal people.
When he left Australia in 1859, his priceless collection of images and specimens went with him. Having lain in Eurpoean archives for nearly 150 years, Blandowski's amazing work is now published in English - for the first time. Blandowski's Australia is a unique creation: a continuous visual narrative which reveals 19th century Aboriginal people angaged in everyday activities as well as dramatic conflicts and ritual life.
Blandowski's narrative and images reveal a high level of Aboriginal sociality and mutual cooperation and the intimacy of these images makes us on-the-spot participants in moments of 'first contact'.
Blandowski's Australia is simultaneously an encyclopaedia of Aboriginal life, a visual record of Blandowski's travels from 1849 to 1857 and a collage which combines photographs, original images and works of other artists.
This contemporary publication of Australia includes contributions by archaeologist, Mark Dugay-Grist, a descendant of the Nyeri Nyeri (Yerri Yerri) people who welcomed Blandowski to the Murray river and collected specimens for him; Wiradjuri artist, Brook Andrew, who explores how we might read the past through the images contained in Blandowski's Australia; linguist Luise Hercus, who provides information about the people and languages spoken in the Murray area (Sunraysia), and Thomas A Darragh, who provides a timeline for Blandowskis='s timer in Australia.
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- Publisher: Aboriginal Studies Press
- ISBN-10: 9780855757137
- Pages: 188 pages
- Price: $60.00