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Indigenous and Minority Placenames Australian and International Perspectives

Notes on Contributors

Dr Rob Amery, University of Adelaide

Rob Amery completed a PhD in 1998 at the University of Adelaide (published in August 2000) on Kaurna language reclamation. For the last 25 years he has worked closely with members of the Kaurna community to reclaim their language from historical materials and to develop the language for use in a range of contemporary contexts. In 2002, along with Kaurna Elders, he established Kaurna Warra Pintyanthi (KWP) through which he coordinates a research program into the Kaurna language, including placenames research, and facilitates the development of Kaurna language resources. Through KWP, Rob serves as consultant linguist to Kaurna programs in schools and various community projects and naming activity. In the 1980s he worked in a range of Aboriginal communities in Central Australia, the Top End and Kimberley regions. In 1993–94 he developed the innovative Australian Indigenous Languages Framework (AILF) for the teaching of Aboriginal languages in senior secondary studies.

Vincent (Jack) Kanya Buckskin, Kaurna Warra Pintyanthi, University of Adelaide

Vincent, or Jack, as he prefers to be called, is a Kaurna and Narrunga man. Jack began working on Kaurna language projects at the University of Adelaide including the Southern Kaurna Placenames, Kaurna in the Public Arena, Kaurna Learners’ Guide and Kaurna Phonology projects. Jack began teaching Kaurna language at Warriparinga together with Rob Amery through the School of Languages in 2007. He has been the main teacher of Kaurna since then running three evening classes for adults as well as in schools during the day. Jack is a leading member of the Kaurna dance group called Kuma Kaaru and previously danced with Taikurtinna where he integrates Kaurna language into his performances. When not working and performing Jack likes to research and learn more about his culture and the history of his people. In July 2009 Jack was an invited participant at the ‘Young, Gifted and BLAK’ Aboriginal writers’ workshop in Sydney with Alexis Wright. In 2011 he was recognised as SA Young Australian of the Year in recognition of his efforts. In 2013, Buckskin, an hour-long documentary profiling Jack’s re-engagement with his language, was broadcast on ABC TV.

Dr David (Fred) Cahir, Federation University Australia

Fred Cahir is a senior lecturer in Indigenous Studies and the Australian History Higher Degree by Research program coordinator at Federation University Australia. His research interests include Victorian Aboriginal history and Aboriginal Ecological Knowledge in south-eastern Australia. His latest book publications are: Black Gold: Aboriginal People on the Goldfields of Victoria 1850–1870 (Aboriginal History Inc. and ANU Press) and The Aboriginal Story of Burke and Wills: Forgotten Narratives, co-edited with Ian D. Clark.

Professor Ian D. Clark, Federation University Australia

Ian D. Clark is a Professor of Tourism in the Faculty of Business, at Federation University Australia. He completed his PhD in Aboriginal Historical Geography at Monash University in 1992. His areas of interest include Victorian Aboriginal history, Indigenous tourism, the history of tourism, and Victorian toponyms. He has been publishing in Victorian Aboriginal history since 1982. Recent works include I.D. Clark and D. Cahir (eds), The Aboriginal Story of Burke and Wills: Forgotten Narratives (CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, 2013); and I.D. Clark, ‘Prettily situated’ at Mungallook: A History of the Goulburn River Aboriginal Protectorate Station at Murchison, Victoria, 1840–1853 (Ballarat Heritage Services Publishing, Ballarat, 2013).

Dr Murray Garde, The Australian National University

Murray Garde is a Research Fellow in the School of Culture, History and Language, at The Australian National University. His research interests have largely focused on the ethnography of communication in western and central-north Arnhem Land. Most of this work straddles the disciplines of anthropology and linguistics and is aimed at establishing long–term community-based projects that promote and maintain the use of endangered or minority languages, especially in Western Arnhem Land and on Pentecost Island in north-central Vanuatu. As a result he has paid attention to an eclectic range of cultural domains from kinship reference in everyday conversation, the language of myth and ritual, the language of traditional music (both song texts and metalinguistic aspects), concepts of health and the human body, the language of interaction with landscapes such as residence, land tenure, landscape burning, geomorphology, ecological zones, ethnobiology, rock art and toponymy. His present interests are community-based language maintenance programs, interpreting, translation and cultural site documentation in Kakadu National Park and the Arnhem Land Plateau. He is also involved in a vernacular literacy and language documentation project with speakers of the Sa language of southern Pentecost Island, Vanuatu.

Dr Kaisa Rautio Helander, Sámi allaskuvla, Sámi University College, Norway

Kaisa Rautio Helander is Associate Professor of Sámi and Finnish languages at Sámi allaskuvla | Sámi University College in Guovdageaidnu, Norway. She holds a PhD in Sámi language from the University of Oulu in Finland. Her doctoral thesis is a multi-disciplinary study of the history of official placename policy in Norway with regard to Indigenous toponymy. Among her current onomastic research interests are theoretical and methodological questions concerning the politics of naming, recognition of indigenous toponymy, colonial naming practices and contact-onomastics.

Dr Luise Hercus, The Australian National University

Dr. Luise Hercus (AM) was Reader in Sanskrit at The Australian National University and is now Visiting Fellow in the School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics. She has worked on Aboriginal languages and traditions for over 50 years, mainly in the Lake Eyre region.

Dr Laura Kostanski, Federation University Australia

Dr Laura Kostanski is the CEO and Director of Geonaming Solutions Pty Ltd. Her professional and research interests centre on developing robust geospatial, addressing and geographic naming policies and systems for government and private clients at national and international levels. She is a Churchill Fellow, an Adjunct Research Fellow at Federation University Australia, a Member of the Open Geospatial Consortium, a Director of the International Council of Onomastic Sciences, has been an Australian representative to the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographic Names and recently was successful in collaborating to receive an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant. Laura has been Research Manager and Gazetteer Expert for the CSIRO Spatial Identifier Reference Framework (SIRF) program which examined methods for reengineering gazetteer development, maintenance and output processes with a key focus on Indonesia. In her previous role as Project Manager at the Office of Geographic Names Victoria (OGN Vic) she was involved in policy development, governance and stakeholder engagement in the spatial science domain and was involved in the development of the new Guidelines for Geographic Names Victoria. Laura is currently working on geonaming policy projects for the State Government of New South Wales and the Government of Abu Dhabi.

Dr David Nash, The Australian National University and Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies

David Nash is an Honorary Visiting Fellow, School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics, The Australian National University (ANU) and Honorary Visitor, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS). He grew up in central New South Wales, and graduated from ANU and MIT. In the 1980s and 1990s he was involved in a number of claims to traditional land in Australia, and in the mapping of sites in the country of the Warlpiri and their neighbours in central Australia. Over the last three decades he has published on Australian languages, including co-editing Language in Native Title (2002) and Forty Years On: Ken Hale and Australian Languages (2001).

Dr Joshua Nash, University of Adelaide

Joshua Nash is a visiting research fellow in linguistics at the University of Adelaide. He has conducted linguistic fieldwork on Norfolk Island since 2007. Joshua is the author of Insular Toponymies (John Benjamins, 2013).

Huia Pacey

Putauaki me Tapuwae o Uenuku nga maunga

Ko Tarawera me Hapuku nga awa

Ko Ngai Tahu me Tuwharetoa oku iwi.

Ko Huia ahau

Huia Pacey is an alumna of Lincoln University (New Zealand). She holds one of only two Masters of Indigenous Planning and Development degrees to have been conferred by that University. She has presented at a number of national and international conferences on placenames including a co-keynote presentation at the inaugural International Conference on Indigenous Place Names in Guovdageaidnu, Norway in 2010. Huia is an experienced cultural mapper and has worked with a number of New Zealand tribes mapping their sites of significance and recording their traditional placenames. Huia is currently the Chair of Te Kahui Manu Hokai (Maori GIS Association) and currently the Pouarahi (Maori Heritage Advisor) for the New Zealand Historic Places Trust Southern Region.

Lynn Peplinski, Inuit Heritage Trust, Nunavut

Lynn Peplinski, based in Iqaluit, Nunavut, has been researching traditional Inuit placenames with a view to getting them onto maps and bringing them to official status, since 1993. She has been with the Inuit Heritage Trust, a Nunavut Land Claims organisation whose mandate encompasses issues related to archaeology, heritage and placenames since 2001.

Nick Piper

Nick Piper is a postgraduate student at James Cook University. She has been involved with linguistic research in the eastern islands of Torres Strait since 1987. She compiled a grammar of Meriam Mir (Meryam Mir) for her MA (The Australian National University, 1989). From 2005 to 2008, she and Alo Tapim of Mer designed and delivered a Meriam language program through the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Education. She produced the language report for Akiba on behalf of the Torres Strait Islanders of the Regional Seas Claim Group, and interpreted for a Meriam witness.

Dr Fiona Powell

Fiona Powell is a Canberra-based independent consultant anthropologist. Her doctoral research, conducted in the early 1970s, investigated developments in local and social organisation in south-east Cape York. Since 1995 she has worked as a consultant anthropologist and has prepared reports and provided advice on native title matters in Torres Strait, New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia.

Professor Peter E. Raper, University of the Free State, South Africa 

Peter Edmund Raper, Professor Extraordinary in Linguistics and Research Fellow, Department of Linguistics and Language Practice, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa. Educated at the University of the Witwatersrand (PhD 1971), he is a member of the joint IGU Commission on Toponymy/ICA Working Group on Toponymy. He was head of the Onomastic Research Centre of the Human Sciences Research Council in Pretoria from 1970 to 1993. He was a member of the National Place Names Committee of South Africa from 1972 until 1999, and served as Chairman of this body from 1996 to 1999. He was President of the Names Society of Southern Africa from 1989 to 2006, and has served on the Editorial Board of the journal Nomina Africana since its inception in 1987. He has been a member of the American Name Society (ANS) since 1981, and serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of the journal Names, a Journal of Onomastics. He was South African delegate to the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names (UNGEGN) from 1984 to 2002, and served as Chairman of the Group from 1991 to 2002. His publications include Bushman (San) Influence on Zulu Place Names (2013) and the New Dictionary of Southern African Place Names, of which the 4th edition, co-authored by Lucie A. Möller and L. Theodorus du Plessis, is at the press. He is currently researching Bushman (San) substructures of placenames in southern Africa.

Dr Jonathan Richards, University of Queensland

Jonathan Richards is an Adjunct Research Fellow, School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics, University of Queensland. He completed a Bachelor of Arts in Australian and Comparative Studies in 1995, and a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in 1997. After his doctoral thesis on Queensland’s Native Police was accepted in 2005, he continued research into frontier policing and violence in Queensland, Indigenous and community history, and death in Queensland. He is currently engaged, with Professor Lyndall Ryan from the University of Newcastle, in an Australian Research Council funded investigation into frontier violence across Australia.

Edward J. Ryan, La Trobe University

Edward Ryan is a postgraduate student in the History Department of La Trobe University and is currently researching the history of the Wergaia and neighbouring peoples of north-west Victoria and south-west New South Wales. Besides placenames, his other research interests include landscape and environment change in the greater Mallee region. In a broader context he pursues similar research interests in Irish and Scottish Gaelic history, language and literature.

Dr Jim Smith

Jim Smith is a zoologist and independent researcher who works as a heritage and environmental consultant. He completed his doctoral research at Macquarie University, Department of Indigenous Studies. A special interest is the mapping of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal cultural landscapes of the Blue Mountains.

Dr Jim Wafer, University of Newcastle

Jim Wafer is a retired anthropologist with a conjoint position at the University of Newcastle, and a member of the University’s Endangered Languages Documentation, Theory and Application research group. His work with Aboriginal languages spans a period of almost 40 years, and he is co-author (with Amanda Lissarrague) of A Handbook of Aboriginal Languages of NSW and the ACT (Muurrbay, 2008).


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