Degree Name

Doctor of Creative Arts


Faculty of Creative Arts


The historical record in Australia shows that the rights of equality most Australians assume cannot apply to Aboriginality. This inequality exists in academic research as it does in political and social areas. The assumptions that underlie the terms of academic discussion have had a constant impact on Aboriginality as a result of this inequality.

This work underpins current discussions of reconciliation with an investigation into issues of death and genocide through appropriation, caste and Aboriginal identity related to the Protection Act, as well as contemporary issues of relationship to land and its consequences.

Traditional Aboriginal culture and spirituality has within it Creation stories and the resultant Dreamings. The sacredness of these events are reiterated in the various Song Cycles which incorporate conception, life, and death, through story, song, sand or earthwork, painting and sound.

The work is structured as a Song Cycle with three sections: TRANSFORMATION(death) Appropriation, CONCEPTION(birth) Identity, TRANSITION(life) Land. Written and visual work are based on an oral tradition and start within personal memory and expand, through research, into those areas that impact on contemporary Aboriginality.

The first section, TRANSFORMATION(death) Appropriation, explores current issues of appropriation of Aboriginality and ideas of Aboriginal ownership with the development of the Copyright Act (Australia). The second section, CONCEPTION(birth) Identity, investigates the history and application of the Protection Act and the development of a contemporary Aboriginal identity as a result of this Act. The third section, TRANSITION(life) Land follows through traditional Aboriginal relationships to land and how dispossessed Aboriginality rediscovers those connections.



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.