Visual Representations

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Visual Representations of Massacres

The focus of this site is on mapping massacres with supporting historical evidence and making this publicly available. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people discuss and represent massacres in a variety of ways. We cannot include a comprehensive list of all such representations and discussion here, but here are just a few:

There are also many colonial and later depictions of massacres which are beyond the scope of this site to collect.

This site does not include other factors affecting Aboriginal populations as a result of colonisation, such as disease, loss of land, and changes to community and culture.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mapping Technology

Mapping has long been an integral part of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and is richly expressed in art and technology. These maps are not limited to geographical features but fuse together layers of meaning. The maps can be read on many, sometimes inseparable, levels including law, religion, music, history, psychology, social organisation, literature and economics. Maps are not only recorded visually in art and text, but also in oral literature, song and dance. Maps may be written in sand or read from the night sky. Here are just a few examples of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mapping in different forms:

  1. Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri Warlugulong Anmatyerr people, 1977
  2. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
  3. Indigenous Australian Art, Queensland Art Gallery, Gallery Of Modern Art, Brisbane
  4. Indigenous Art, National Gallery Victoria, Melbourne
  5. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney
  6. Dixon, RMW & Duwell, Martin (eds) The Honey-Ant Men’s Love Song and other Aboriginal Song Poems University of Queensland Press, St Lucia, 1994
  7. Peggy Rockman Napaljarri, Lee Cataldi (trans) Warlpiri Dreamings and Histories: Newly Recorded Stories from the Aboriginal Elders of Central Australia Yale University Press, 2011
  8. We Don't Need A Map, (2017) Warwick Thornton (Writer, Director, Camera) and Brendan Fletcher (Producer and Screenplay)
  9. Songlines On Screen, NITV and Screen Australia, 2016 available at SBS on Demand
  10. R. Fuller, M. Trudgett, R. Norris and M. Anderson "The Euahlayi People and their Use of the Night Sky" in Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage, 17(2), 149 – 160 (2014).