- THE DOROTHY HEWETT AWARD
Meeting the Waylo: Aboriginal Encounters in the Archipelago
Meeting the Waylo is a history of story-making about the experiences of Migeo, Boongaree and Bundle, three Indigenous Australians who were intermediaries on board maritime expeditions in the early nineteenth century. These Indigenous men travelled to the archipelagos of the north-west of Western Australia, where they became central figures in encounters between the crew and local Indigenous groups onshore.
This book captures the splintering of stories by explorers, later archivists and collecting institutions. By following the footsteps and fingerprints of the archivists as well as explorers, Shellam reminds us that the archive is never a neutral storehouse for history. While explorers sometimes acknowledged the key positioning of Indigenous intermediaries in their raw archives, later refinements rendered them absent. The expedition stories of these men appear unevenly in archives as a result of archival acquisitions, dictated by changing political climates of remembering and forgetting.
‘In her deft handling of the colonial archive and her alertness to the politics of historical memory, Tiffany Shellam offers a model for other historians to follow.’
Professor Felix Driver, Royal Holloway, University of London
‘This is a subtle and exhilarating exploration of key cross-cultural encounters in early colonial Australia. In bringing the past to life, Tiffany Shellam also analyses the surviving evidence with delicacy, insight and compassion.
Professor Tom Griffiths, Australian National University