Customary Marine Tenure in Australia

Edited by Nicolas Peterson and Bruce Rigsby

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Format: paperback
Edition: First published in 1998 by Oceania Publications
416 pages
ISBN: 9781743323892
Publication: 19 Feb 2014

Most Australians are familiar with the concept of land ownership and understand the meaning of native title, which recognises Indigenous peoples’ rights to land to which they are spiritually or culturally connected. The ownership of areas of the sea and its resources is often overlooked however, despite Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander connections with the sea being just as important as those with the land.

The papers in this volume demonstrate how the concept of customary marine tenure has developed in various communities and look at some of its implications. Originating in a session of papers at a conference in 1996, the papers in this volume were originally published as Oceania Monograph 48 in 1998.

Bruce Rigsby is professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of Queensland

Nicolas Peterson is a professor of anthropology at Australian National University.

Note to the 2014 edition by Peter White
Preface by Nicolas Peterson and Bruce Rigsby

1. Introduction by Nicolas Peterson and Bruce Rigsby
2. A survey of property theory and tenure types by Bruce Rigsby
3. Reimagining sea space: from Grotius to Mabo by Nonie Sharp
4. Aboriginal fishing rights on the New South Wales south coast: a court case by Scott Cane
5. Use and continuity in the customary marine tenure of the Whitsunday Islands by Bryce Barker
6. Salt water, fresh water and Yawuru social organisation by Patrick Sullivan
7. Marine tenure in the Wellesley Islands region, Gulf of Carpentaria by Paul Memmott and David Trigger
8. ‘We always look north’: Yanyuwa identity and the maritime environment by John J. Bradley
9. Customary marine tenure at Groote Eylandt by Peter Cooke and Gowan Armstrong
10. Gapu Dhulway, Gapu Maramba: conceptualisation and ownership of saltwater among the Burarra and Yan-nhangu peoples of northeast Arnhem Land by Geoffrey Bagshaw
11. Ownership and resource use on islands off the Liverpool River, Northern Territory by Peter Cooke and Gowan Armstrong
12. The Sandbeach People and the dugong hunters of Eastern Cape York Peninsula: property in land and sea country by Bruce Rigsby and Athol Chase
13. The Sea of Waubin: the Kaurareg and their marine environment by Michael Southon and the Kaurareg Tribal Elders
14. The promise of native title and the predicament of customary marine tenure by Sandra Pannell

' ... the first major collection of works to study Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander systems of marine tenure. It is eclectic in number and scope.'
Richard Davis   Oceania

'This volume is a worthy addition to the ethnographic data on customary marine tenure systems and their adaptations to modern Australian society, but also, until very recent times, their lack of acceptance by that society.'
Hartmut Holzknecht   Pacific Affairs

' ... a common ground between European legal positions and traditional Aboriginal concepts of ownership. This is achieved without diminishing the validity of the less tangible mystical aspects of Aboriginal ownership to which most Aborigines remain strongly attached.'
Phillipe Max Rouja   The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

'The chapters present case ethnographies from 11 local or regional settings around coastal Australia, weighted to the tropical north. Together, they raise a spectrum of theoretical and methodological questions connected to the study of customary marine tenure. The relatively advanced state of inquiry in Australia on these questions makes the book, as a whole, important reading for anyone engaged in these issues elsewhere.'
Colin H. .Scott   Anthropologica

Format: paperback
Size: 210 × 148 × 23 mm / 8.27 × 5.83 × 0.91 in
416 pages
16 b&w illustrations and 7 b&w tables
Copyright: © 2014
ISBN: 9781743323892
Publication: 19 Feb 2014