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Picture imperfect: re-reading images of Aborigines in Walkabout


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Rolls, M (2009) Picture imperfect: re-reading images of Aborigines in Walkabout. Journal of Australian Studies, 33 (1). pp. 19-35. ISSN 1444-3058

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The representation of Aborigines in the popular Australian magazine Walkabout has attracted the attention of a small number of scholars. For the most part their analyses draw a distinction between the portrayals of primitive natives and those of the emergent modernising Australian nation. It is argued that Aborigines appear as debased, as noble savages, or as bearers of an idealised and imagined traditional culture. These representational strategies are evident in both photographs and text in Walkabout. Whilst not necessarily disagreeing with these critiques, more nuanced readings of Aboriginal photographic representation in Walkabout are possible. This article seeks to reveal the potential for a more diverse and complex understanding of the images appearing throughout the 1930s.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Aborigines; Aboriginal representation; photography; Walkabout; criticism
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Australian Studies
Page Range: pp. 19-35
ISSN: 1444-3058
Identification Number - DOI: 10.1080114443050802672494
Additional Information: The definitive version is available online at
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2010 06:41
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 04:11
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