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Telling and hearing: learning from Macassan-Yoln̦u stories of connecting

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posted on 2022-03-28, 19:56 authored by Rebecca Hâf Bilous
This thesis is about stories that connect Macassan people from the IndonesianIsland of Sulawesi, and YoIqu, Indigenous Australians from the north coast ofAustralia. These stories are important because they unsettle how Australiansunderstand their nation's histories and geographies, challenging manycommonly held assumptions. Yet many Australians, if they hear these stonesat all, often hear them filtered through a very limited number of academicdiscourses that rely on tangible objects and data, based on particularapproaches to research and seeing the world. This thesis starts by exploring the ways in which these discourses addressthese stories of connecting in museums and popular geographical journals. Itthen offers an alternative approach to telling, hearing and responding toMacassan-Yolrju stories by listening to Yolt]u elders in north-east ArnhemLand. The thesis offers not simply a framework for engaging with these Yolt]ustories of contact with and connection to Macassan people, nor simply acritique of a dominant discourse that reduces the complex histories andgeographies of connection to a rather singular 'Macassan contact', butcontributes to a more reflexive and pluralist perspective on the ways in whichknowledge is both created and shared. Finally, the thesis considers how thesediffering ways of telling and hearing Macassan-Yolqu stories might open up aspace for engaging with a multiplicity of knowledges, challenging learners andeducators to change the ways in which they tell, hear, teach and learn from allstories.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction -- Section One : Telling. Chapter 2. Telling stories of Macassan-Australian Aboriginal connections in academic literature -- Chapter 3. Telling stories of Mcassan-Yoln̦u connecting in the National Museum of Australia and Australian National Maritime Museum -- Chapter 4. Telling stories of Mcassan-Yoln̦u connecting in popular geographical magazines -- Section Two : Telling and hearing. Chapter 5. Methodology learning to hear and tell -- Chapter 6. All mucked up : sharing stories of Yolngu-Macassan cultural heritage at Bakawa, north-east Arnhem Land -- Section Three : Telling, hearing and learning. Chapter 7. Making connections : hearing and sharing powerful Macassan-Yoln̦u stories -- Chapter 8. Unexpected and transformative learning -- Chapter 9. Learning from Macassan-Yoln̦u stories of connecting in Australian education -- Chapter 10. Conclusion.


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 237-255

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Science, Department of Environment and Geography

Department, Centre or School

Department of Environment and Geography

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Sandie Suchet-Pearson

Additional Supervisor 1

Kate Lloyd

Additional Supervisor 2

Richie Howitt


Copyright Rebecca Hâf Bilous 2014. Copyright disclaimer: This thesis was digitised for the purposes of Document Delivery. Macquarie University ResearchOnline attempted to locate the author but where this has not been possible; we are making available, open access, selected parts of the thesis which may be used for the purposes of private research and study. If you have any enquiries or issues regarding this work being made available please contact Macquarie University ResearchOnline - If you wish to access the complete thesis, on receipt of a Document Supply Request, placed with Macquarie University Library by another library, we will consider supplying a copy of this thesis. For more information on Document Supply, please contact






1 online resource (xii, 269 pages) colour illustrations, maps

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