Abstract: Since colonization, Aboriginal families have been externally deemed to be in need of transformation under the gaze of a “civilising” state presence. Such is the pervasiveness of the demonisation of Aboriginal masculinity coupled with conceptions of flawed Aboriginal motherhood that the alternative discourses of the lived experience of Aboriginal families are ignored. This paper suggests that the current depictions of Aboriginal families must be contextualised within an understanding of the complex historical relationships that continue to be marked by both a culture of fear and also a failure to appreciate the alternative narratives on Aboriginal families that are extant with Aboriginal communities themselves. It uses the family photo box as a means of providing an alternative lens through which Aboriginal families can be viewed and juxtaposes this to the external negative discursive hegemony that has and remains a foundation for state intervention.

Keywords: Aboriginal family photographs, Bundjalung, Worimi

Copyright © Kathleen Butler 2013. This text may be archived and redistributed both in electronic form and in hard copy, provided that the author and journal are properly cited and no fee is charged.