On settler national culture: Dan Tout, ‘Rex Ingamells and Ted Strehlow: Correspondences and Contradictions in Australian Settler Nationalism’, Journal of Australian Studies, 2020


Abstract: The standard story of Australian national cultural development revolves around a fundamental conflict between the forces of empire loyalism or universalism on the one hand and Australian nationalism on the other. Yet this narrative structure neglects the complexities of the settler-colonial, as distinct from the colonial, situation. This article is premised on the proposition that the settler-colonial situation is conditioned by a triangular system of relationships involving settler, metropolitan and Indigenous agencies. In this schema, the settler is compelled towards both indigenisation and neo-European replication, while both trajectories are similarly founded on the prior displacement of pre-existing Indigenous populations. While at certain historical moments exclusive emphasis on the settler–metropole relation may be maintained, at others the disavowal of the settler–indigene relation common to both sides of the “two Australias” divide is rendered untenable by changing circumstances. It is into such a moment this article aims to situate its subjects—Rex Ingamells and the Jindyworobaks—and it does so with reference to the correspondences between Jindyworobak indigenism and the indigenising settler nationalism evident in the “salvage linguistics” of Ted Strehlow. In doing so, the article aims to reveal the complexities and persistence of what it terms the settler predicament.

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