Imagining the Indigenous Land Owner: a history of sympathetic speculation since 1966

Wednesday, 17 June 2015
Prof Tim Rowse

My paper is about the history of the arguments for creating an Indigenous land and sea estate, since the 1960s. I will illustrate the variety of ways that those advocating land rights and native title have evoked the figure of the 'Traditional Owner'. All the projects to legislate forms of Indigenous land title have had to say something about the Indigenous entity (whether individual or group) in whose interests the law seeks act. My paper would start with Dunstan in 1966 and finish with the Senate debate on the ILC in 1995. From these and intervening debates, my paper will would draw attention to the diverse terms in which the 'Traditional Owner' has been evoked.