Reproducing indigenous peoples, redacting indigeneity: Tim Calabria, ‘The Bungalow and the Transformation of the “Half-Caste” Category in Central Australia: Race and Law at the Limits of a Settler Colony, 1914–1937’, Law & History, 7, 1, 2020, pp. 89-122

02Aug20

Abstract: This article re-examines modalities of governing the ‘halfcaste’ legal category in Central Australia between 1914 and 1937. It mainly analyses administrators’ discourse, with a focus on the Alice Springs half-caste children’s home, the Bungalow. Robert Stott’s regime in Central Australia (1911–1928) has received limited attention in the literature. Stott sought to prop up the failing settler colony in Central Australia by establishing the half-caste cohort as a colonised labour pool. He pursued policies that would increase their population while eroding their claims to the land. The administration of Cecil Cook (1931–1938) continued this policy agenda, contrary to his infamous eliminationist rhetoric. Ex-alumni of the Bungalow resisted state controls over them as half-castes and, in 1937, one graduate, Emily Geesing, won a court case that determined she was not beholden to half-caste regulations. The victory redefined the limits of state control ahead of the end of Cook’s tenure as Chief Protector in 1938. Overall, the Bungalow emerges as both a mechanism of colonisation and a breeding space for ‘decolonised consciousness’.



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