Huts and stone arrangements at Hilary Creek, western Queensland: Recent fieldwork at an Australian Aboriginal site complex

Authors

  • Lynley A. Wallis Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research, Griffith University https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9324-8069
  • Bryce Barker Institute of Resilient Regions, School of Arts and Communication, University of Southern Queensland https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6008-6411
  • Heather Burke College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Flinders University https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1141-9072
  • Mia Dardengo Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research, Griffith University
  • Robert Jansen Marion Downs Station
  • Dennis Melville Pitta Pitta Aboriginal Corporation
  • Geoffrey Jacks Pitta Pitta Aboriginal Corporation
  • Anthony Pagels College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Flinders University
  • Andrew Schaefer Wallis Heritage Consulting
  • Iain Davidson School of Humanities, University of New England https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1840-9704

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.25120/qar.24.2021.3799

Abstract

This paper reports on an Aboriginal site complex, incorporating hut structures, ceremonial stone arrangements, an extensive surface artefact assemblage of lithics and mussel shell, and a silcrete quarry, located along Hilary Creek, a tributary of the Georgina River in western Queensland, Australia. At least two phases of occupation are indicated. The most recent huts have their collapsed organic superstructure still present, while those of a presumably earlier phase are distinguished as bare, circular patches of earth which are conspicuous amongst the ubiquitous gibber, with or without stone bases, and lacking any collapsed superstructure. Immediately adjacent to the huts and also a few hundred metres away are clusters of small stone arrangements, and about 2 km to the southwest, along the same creekline, is another series of larger, more substantial stone arrangements; these features speak to the importance of the general Hilary Creek area for ceremonial purposes. Radiocarbon dating reveals use of the Hilary Creek complex dates to at least 300 years ago; the absence of any European materials suggests it was likely not used, or only used very sporadically, after the 1870s when pastoralists arrived in the area, and when traditional lifeways were devastated by colonial violence.

Published

2021-03-20

Issue

Section

Articles