Final Twilight Talk of the Series: The Journal of an Aboriginal Protector
The 2nd series of Twilight Talks wraps up with a fascinating glimpse into the historical journals of an Aboriginal Protector called William Thomas.
It was a cold evening in Ballarat, but the cosy Humffray Room was packed with eager listeners for the final Twilight Talk of its second series. Dr Marguerita Stephens’, Ph.D., gave some fascinating insight into the personal journal of an Aboriginal Protector.
For nearly three decades, William Thomas chronicled his life and working with Aboriginal Victorians. Dr Stephens’s talk included wonderfully evocative, detailed sketches that William Thomas had made of encampments and corroborees.
One of the most distressing pieces of information disclosed in this Twilight Talk was the fact that by 1850, the Indigenous population of Victoria had been reduced by 80%. Sadly, this was only 15 years after colonisation.
Dr Stephens has produced a multi-volume transcription of the Journal of William Thomas. Published by the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages, it was also given the Royal Historical Society of Victoria’s Community History Award. Dr Stephens is now working on a biography of William Thomas, which will be a fascinating read.
Uncle Brian, a local Aboriginal Elder, spoke about the relationship the local tribes had with the gold miners, clothing them with cloaks of possum skins and providing bedding and housing. The Aboriginal community played a major contribution to the welfare of miners and their families.
The evening was a most satisfactory way to end the 2nd series of Twilight Talks, which have upheld the traditions of the BMI as a learning institution.
The third series of Twilight Talks commences on August 21st with PhD student Mary Ross-Volk, in the Department of Creative Arts and English at La Trobe University, speaking on the history of terror in New York City with special reference to the September 11th terrorist attacks.