Goolarabooloo futures: Mining and Aborigines in northwest Australia

Stephen Muecke

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Writing from a part of the “Global South,” whose current conjunctural position is defined historically by old imperial political and economic forces, encourages me to put myself in the position of the Indigenous people. After all, I am writing with the Goolarabooloo, and about their country. This part of Australia, where the Goolarabooloo people have lived since before memory, is often officially designated as “remote.” Sixty thousand years ago when the seas were lower, there was an archipelago of islands stretching from South Asia to the Kimberley, northwest Australia. One theory about the origin of the Australian peoples is that they paddled canoes from island to island and thus entered this huge southern continent at that point.1 But “remote” makes no sense for the locals at home; this is white people talking from the southern cities for whom the desert center and the far north are still frontier areas, having been colonized about one hundred years after occupation began in Sydney in 1788. Such places may well be remote from government centers and the goods and services now necessary, but “remote” also establishes the affective distance and othering that facilitates continued colonization. This chapter describes how such perceptions of distance have underpinned both old- style dispossession and colonization and the newer corporate colonization associated with mining ventures.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Postcolonial Contemporary
Subtitle of host publicationPolitical Imaginaries for the Global Present
EditorsJini Kim Watson, Gary Wilder
Place of PublicationNY
PublisherFordham University Press
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9780823280094, 0823280098
ISBN (Print)9780823280063
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Ethnography
  • Indigenous peoples
  • Settler colonialism
  • Postcolonialism
  • Bird nesting
  • Turtles
  • Cultural studies
  • Nature
  • Countries
  • Yolngu (Australian people)


Dive into the research topics of 'Goolarabooloo futures: Mining and Aborigines in northwest Australia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this