New Post - 21 January 2021

Early Notice - ASWA Annual General Meeting

ASWA will hold its Annual General Meeting on Tuesday, 16th February 2021 at the Paddington Alehouse, 141 Scarborough Beach Road, Mt Hawthorn. Full details to be posted soon.

New Post - 1 November 2020

Early Notice - ASWA Annual Dinner and Prize Night

ASWA Annual Dinner 2020 - Flyer

When: Friday 4 December 2020

Where: University Club of Western Australia

Time: 6.30pm for pre-dinner drinks

Cost: $90.00 Members. $100.00 Non-members. Three course meal and drinks. After dinner speaker. Annual Prize Awards

Due to COVID 19, please note that there is a limit of 36 persons allowable at this event. ASWA would appreciate you booking on-line via the link below now later than 27 November 2020.

The link below provides the opportunity to reserve your tickets, sponsor a prize or make a sponsored contribution to the ASWA Annual Dinner. ASWA would appreciate your feedback via the questions in the link below, which, upon payment, will send an invoice to your email address.

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Entrée: choice of two:

  • Prawn, snapper and smoked salmon with French bean and olive salad and tartare sauce
  • Prosciutto rolled chicken breast with saffron risotto and parmesan cream

Main Course: choice of two:

  • Grilled barramundi fillet with a mussel ragout and yellow coconut curry sauce
  • Charred beef sirloin steak with creamy mushrooms and Chinese wine jus

Desert: choice of two:

  • Warm Christmas pudding with sticky date sauce and vanilla ice cream
  • Star anise and cinnamon pannacotta with port poached stone fruit

Further details and catering for other dietary requirements are available through aswa.committee1@anthropologywa.org.


New Post - 29 September 2020

ASWA's Seminar Series 2020 - Presidential Address

Dr. Edward McDonald, the President of ASWA, will deliver his Presidential Address, the inaugural Wilson Locke Lecture, on 10 November 2020. Dr. McDonald will present a paper co-written with Bryn Coldrick, an ASWA member, formerly WA based, now based in Ireland, who has been participating in ASWA's on-line seminars.

Seminar Title: "Out amonst the natives": Daisy Bates' ethnography and the invention of ethnographic fieldwork

Date: Tuesday 10 November 2020

Time: 6.30pm (AWST)

Where: The Left Bank, 15 Riverside Road, East Fremantle - upstairs at The River Bar

Costs: $10 members, $15 non-members - book tickets via the Register Now link below

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Daisy Bates (1859-1951) has long been denied the status of a 'real' anthropologist; at best she is considered an 'enthusiastic amateur'. Her work is often discredited because of moralistic views about her personal life: a 'spoilt' moral character, evidence that her writings cannot be trusted. Examining her correspondence, published and unpublished papers, we argue that much of her work is "seriously anthropological" and her 'invention' of ethnographic fieldwork compares favourably with Malinowski's developments a decade later.

We suggest that Bates was ahead of her time, avoiding many of the shortcomings of 'modern' anthropology with its focus on Aboriginal 'cultures' as discrete and fixed. She understood the interaction of local and regional systems, of the movement of people, objects and intangible phenomena within and between regions. However, in other ways she remained a pre-modern anthropologist focusing on ethnology and endeavouring to create an encyclopedic compendium of 'facts' about all aspects of Aboriginal culture. But then, so did many of her contemporaries. We argue that much of the criticism of Bates and her work is moralist and 'presentist' in the extreme and fails to acknowledge the complex history of the development of anthropology and ethnographic fieldwork. We contend that Bates is an "excluded ancestor" who needs to be "reclaimed". Her corpus of ethnographic material needs to be examined not for "useable bits of lore" but in such a way as to provide a more critical understanding of the development of ethnographic fieldwork in Aboriginal Australia.


New Post - 20 October 2020

Review of Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972

The Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage released the Consultation Draft of the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill 2020 in September with responses due by 9 October 2020. The ASWA Committee drafted and referred to members a suggested response. A number of suggestions and additional comments were added and incorporated into the Committee's draft. The Committee appreciates the suggestions from members. Please read ASWA's formal submission in response to the Consultation Draft.


New Post - 28 September 2020

Future Forum 2020: Visions for the future of Aboriginal Heritage in Western Australia

The Australian Association of Consulting Archaeologists (AACAI), the Anthropological Society of Western Australia (ASWA), and the Australia International Council on Monuments and Sites (A.ICOMOS) are hosting a one-day symposium on Visions for the future of Aboriginal Heritage in Western Australia. It will be held at the Esplanade Hotel Fremantle on Friday, 16 October 2020.

The forum will bring together First Nations people, Traditional Owners and custodians, representative bodies, industry, consultants, researchers and other interested parties to explore and discuss what the future of Aboriginal heritage management could look like in Western Australia. There will be a number of speakers showcasing current achievements and future plans for enhancing Aboriginal heritage management, including community-led research, innovations and collaborative projects.

The Future Forum will be a remarkable opportunity to connect, share and discuss visions, aspirations, innovations and anticipated challenges as a collective of people working and engaging with Aboriginal cultural heritage within the state.

Speakers include Professor Len Collard, Professor Peter Veth, Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation & Professor Jo McDonald, PKKP Traditional Owners, Robin Stevens & Sharyn Dershow, Yindjibarndi Traditional Owners, Dr Caroline Bird, Professor David Trigger, Clint Shaw, Dr Joe Dortch & Yinhawangka Traditional Owners, Rachel Perkins & Matt Storey, and Wajarri Yamaji Traditional Owners. There will also be a presentation on the draft WA Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill 2020 from the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs or the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage. A panel session with First Nations people from across the state will conclude the forum.


Venue: Esplanade Hotel Fremantle
Address: 46-54 Marine Terrace, Fremantle WA
Date: 16 October 2020
Forum: 8am to 5pm
Canapes: 5.30pm to 7.30pm
Expected participants: Up to 200 people


Participants can register through the booking portal on the Humanitix website.

Registration Fees

$160 General Admission
$120 for First Nations People (travel subsidy available)
$120 for AACAI/ASWA/AICOMOS Members (current membership)
$120 for Students (with valid student email)

Registration includes morning tea, lunch & afternoon tea during the forum, and canapes & drinks in evening.

A small booking fee by Humanitix will apply. 100% of profits from booking fees will be directed to Indigenous Scholarships.

Numbers are limited to 230 people (due to current Government restrictions for events/gatherings) and are currently just over 200. Registrations will close on Friday 2 October (unless capacity is reached before then).

First Nations Travel Subsidies

First Nations people who live outside the Perth metropolitan area qualify for a travel subsidy to partially offset the cost of getting to Fremantle. Amounts will vary depending on distance travelled and the total number of applicants. Travel subsidies can be requested through the Humanitix registration page, or contact JJ directly.


If you are unable to attend the Forum in person but are still interested in participating, the forum will be live-streamed over Zoom – please RSVP with your email address to JJ McDermott (0458608786 or jagemcdermott2@gmail.com) and a link will be sent to you before the Forum.