The principal aim of this study was to provide a close examination of nineteenth-century archival records that relate to Victorian Aboriginal people’s associations with koalas, in order to gain a greater understanding of the utilitarian and symbolic significance of koalas for Aboriginal communities, as recorded by colonists during the early period of colonization. The etymology of “koala” is discussed, before an examination is made of the animal’s spiritual importance, associated cultural traditions, and simultaneous utilitarian role. At the time of European colonization in 1788, koalas were probably found in coastal and lowland forests and woodlands across southern, central and north-eastern Victoria.
At the 2013 conference of the Australian Historical Association, Tim Rowse brandished a recent copy of Arena Journal in its book form as Stolen Lands, Broken Cultures: The Settler-colonial Present, 1 and railed against what he characterized as a ‘festschrift’ to Patrick Wolfe’s self-fulfilling project of the homogenization of Indigenous histories and experiences. He accused Arena of projecting the overarching singular narrative provided by Wolfe’s ‘elimination paradigm’. The session was tense. Rowse was himself subsequently excoriated by Marcia Langton, a member of the same panel, for using the terms ‘half-caste’ and ‘quadroon’ without raising his bunny ears each time these terms were used. "From paper"