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When Europeans first arrived in the Kimberley, a turbulent era began for the Indigenous people. To survive, they aligned themselves with white men through unspoken and unequal contracts of ownership and protection.
Aboriginal men were forced to fight for their own women, children and resources, and many were driven away from pastoral stations or gaoled. Until 1968, when equal wages were finally granted, black pastoral workers received only a pocket money allowance and rations. By then the stations no longer sustained them, and Aboriginal people gradually moved towards towns and reserves, where Welfare and Social Security became their only means of survival.
In this absorbing study, survivors of this devastating time speak openly to Mary Anne Jebb about first contact between blacks and whites, the arrival of Welfare, and the demise of pastoralism in the northern ranges. Alongside their oral testimonies, the author draws on a range of written archives to explore what really happened during the settlement of the Kimberley.
Won – 2004 W K Hancock Prize
Won – 2001 Western Australian History Foundation Award
Won – 2001 Australian Historical Association Centenary of Federation Award
High-res cover image
Praise for Blood, Sweat and Welfare:
Blood, Sweat and Welfare is one of the best books currently available about race relations on the pastoral frontier. It is required reading for anyone interested in Aboriginal history.