Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Representation of Aboriginal Australians in a 19th Century Catholic Newspaper

Sue McGinty, Tony McMahon.

This paper is a critical discourse analysis of the representation of Aboriginal people in "The Advocate", a Catholic newspaper published in Melbourne, Australia. The major references to Aborigines in the paper from the years 1869-1899 support the "doomed race" theory of the time that underpinned the colonisation of Australia. Most of the remaining references bolster Church self-perceptions rather than address Aboriginal circumstances. The paper highlights the power relations and ideological processes in the texts to critique the social practices of late 19th century Catholic society's relationships with Aboriginal Australians.


Sue McGinty  (Australia)
Director of Research, School of Indigenous Australian Studies

James Cook University, Townsville

Sue McGinty is currently Director of Research at the School of Indigenous Australian Studies at James Cook University. She researches issues pertaining to socio-cultural perspectives in education. She has recently published two books with Peter Lang (New York) entitled “Resilience, Gender and Success at School” (1999), and “The politics and machinations of educational research: International case studies” (2001), and one with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies entitled “Karrayili: Adult education in a remote Australian community” (2000). In June 2002 she completed three major research projects for the Indigenous Education Consultative Body to the Queensland Government. She has taught courses in qualitative research methods in Sweden and Australia.

Tony McMahon  (Australia)
Head of Social Work and Community Welfare

James Cook University

  • Aboriginal
  • Catholic Church
  • Colonial Australia
  • power relations

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)