Decolonising, multiplicities and mining in the Eastern Goldfields, Western Australia



Publication Details

Gibbs, L. Maree. (2003). Decolonising, multiplicities and mining in the Eastern Goldfields, Western Australia. Australian Geographical Studies, 41 (1), 17-28.


In this 'postcolonial' era, peoples and places around the globe continue to face ongoing colonisation. Indigenous peoples in particular experience colonisation in numerous forms. Despite recent attempts to 'decolonise' indigenous spaces, hegemonic systems of production, governance and thinking often perpetuate colonial structures and relationships, resulting in further entrenched colonisation or 'deep colonising' (Rose, 1999). The interface between indigenous communities and the mining industry provides fertile ground for the tensions emerging between decolonising and deep colonising. Gold mining operations at Placer Dome's Granny Smith mine in the Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia present a valuable case study for examining this tension. Changes taking place at the mine site are decolonising in intent, though outcomes may be deep colonising in effect. Recent discussions among cultural geographers over meanings of place, Ollman's (1993) notion of vantage point and a broadly postcolonial literature inform consideration of this tension. Acknowledgment and incorporation of multiple vantage points into new resource management systems allows current hegemonic approaches to be rethought, and provides insights for the shift towards genuinely decolonising processes.

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