Ethnography and archaeology on the north coast of New South Wales


  • Luke Godwin Prehistory & Archaeology, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351
  • Howard Creamer New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service



A number of recent anthropological studies have noted that even in situations that are far removed from the "traditional" pre-European lifestyle, including the urban context, Aborigines employ distinctively Aboriginal methods of resolving crises and problems encountered (see Langton 1981 for examples). Quite often the solution has a strong basis in some element of "traditional" culture, such as the use of kinship systems in confronting a shortage of housing in Adelaide (Gale 1977). Another example of this distinctive Aboriginal culture, which Langton (1981) has cogently argued as being much more than a culture of poverty, can be seen in the very strong retention of "traditional" values and beliefs by Aborigines living a "non-traditional" lifestyle. Chase (1981:25) provides a clear case of this when describing the detailed knowledge of clan territories in tribal areas retained by the older people living on the Lockhart Aboriginal Reserve on Cape York, even though in some cases these people have not visited these particular areas for many years.