Publication Details

The book chapter was originally published as Gill, N, The contested domain of pastoralism: landscape, work and outsiders in Central Australia, in Rose, DB and Clarke, A (eds), Tracking Knowledge - North Australian Landscapes: Studies in Indigenous and Settler Knowledge Systems, North Australian Research Unit, Darwin, 1997, 50-67.


Extensive cattle grazing has long been the dominant land use in Central Australian rangelands. Today, however, the pastoral landscape is increasingly fractured and contested by indigenous and environmentalist claims on land. Pastoralists in Central Australia are responding to environmentalist claims by reasserting territory. Territory is being constructed with reference to to particular forms of social nature and social space. Identities of insider and outsider have developed. These identities commonly correspond to pastoralists and others, such as conservationists and government, but the place specific nature of pastoralists' environmental knowledge has the potential to render pastoralists as outsiders as well. Moreover, as debates over rangelands are about creating new places, such knowledge may become less effective in resisting non-pastoral valuations of rangelands.