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A world that was : the Yaraldi of the Murray River and the lakes, South Australia

Author: Ronald M Berndt; Catherine H Berndt; John E Stanton
Publisher: Vancouver : UBC Press, 1993.
Series: Miegunyah Press series, no. 11.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
This extraordinary book, written from material gathered over half a century ago, will almost certainly be the last fine-grained account of traditional Aboriginal life in settled south-eastern Australia. It recreates the world of the Yaraldi group of the Kukabrak or Narrinyeri people of the Lower Murray and Lakes region of South Australia. In 1939 Albert Karloan, a Yaraldi man, urged a young ethnologist, Ronald  Read more...
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Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Ronald M Berndt; Catherine H Berndt; John E Stanton
ISBN: 0774804785 9780774804783
OCLC Number: 28667822
Description: xxxi, 624 pages, [20] pages of plates : illustrations ; 26 cm.
Series Title: Miegunyah Press series, no. 11.
Responsibility: Ronald M. Berndt and Catherine H. Berndt with John E. Stanton.

Abstract:

This extraordinary book, written from material gathered over half a century ago, will almost certainly be the last fine-grained account of traditional Aboriginal life in settled south-eastern Australia. It recreates the world of the Yaraldi group of the Kukabrak or Narrinyeri people of the Lower Murray and Lakes region of South Australia. In 1939 Albert Karloan, a Yaraldi man, urged a young ethnologist, Ronald Berndt, to set up camp at Murray Bridge and to record the story of his people. Karloan and Pinkie Mack, a Yaraldi woman, possessed through personal experience, not merely through hearsay, an all but complete knowledge of traditional life. They were virtually the last custodians of that knowledge and they felt the burden of their unique situation. This book represents their concerted efforts to pass on the story to future generations. For Ronald and Catherine Berndt, this was their first fieldwork together in an illustrious joint career of almost fifty years. During long periods, principally until 1943, they laboured with pencil and paper to put it all down - a far cry from the recording techniques of today's oral historians. Their fieldnotes were worked into a rough draft of what would become, but not until recently, the finished manuscript. The book's range is encyclopaedic and engrossing - sometimes dramatic. It encompasses relations between and among individuals and clan groups, land tenure, kinship, the subsistence economy, trade, ceremony, councils, fighting and warfare, rites of passage from conception to death, myths, and beliefs and practices concerning healing and the supernatural. Not least, it is a record of the dramatic changes following European colonization. A World That Was is a unique contribution to Australia's cultural history. There is simply no comparable body of work, nor is there ever likely to be.

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