HoW: History on Wednesday | Seminar Series – Sep 23
Dr Amanda Harris | USYD Research Fellow, Director – PARADISEC Sydney Unit
The 1951 Jubilee and Contested Representation of Aboriginal Music and Dance
In the commemorative year of 1951, Australian Jubilee Festival programming became a battle ground for the right to represent Aboriginal music and dance. In Melbourne, the Australian Aborigines’ League campaigned against exclusion from the festivities. Aboriginal tenor Harold Blair performed both in the League’s Aboriginal Moomba production and in a national art song tour with the ABC. The big ticket production, also touring the nation with support from Jubilee committees and symphony orchestras, was the ballet Corroboree by non-Indigenous composer John Antill. Already a celebrated work five years after its premiere, Corroboree had become the poster child for an Australian music. Officially sanctioned representations of Aboriginal culture by non-Indigenous people and performative acts of resistance by Aboriginal people jostled for space in the fifties. In this presentation I will present a snapshot of performances of Aboriginal music and dance in 1951 that highlight the hypocrisies of Assimilation policies and their application, and reckon with histories of representation and Australian cultural identity.
The Department of History hosts a lively departmental research seminar series. Everyone is welcome to attend.
23 September 2020
2020 HoW Seminar Series
The Department of History is part of the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry (SOPHI)