Australia's national history has rarely allowed space for the history of Aboriginal work. This void enabled the growth of conflicting racist stereotypes of Aborigines as either lazy or slave-drudges. Historical research tells us otherwise, with Aborigines demonstrably efficient workers in colonial Australia. Throughout Australia's history, they worked as domestics, pastoral and sexual workers, and in entertainment, sports and the arts. Aboriginal Workers surveys both the historical myths and the realities. It explores contested white representations of Aboriginal workers and presents an Australia-wide survey with a chronology sweeping across the full post-contact period, especially the less researched twentieth century. As well as providing valuable new material, Aboriginal Workers offers fresh insights, especially into the complex intersections of gender, race and labour. Significantly, this collection includes the perspectives of both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal historians and workers.
This volume has been updated with a new introduction for 2020.