Journal article

Walking the Thylacine: Records of Indigenous Companion Animals in Australian Narrative and Photographic History

Justine Philip, Don Garden

Society and Animals | BRILL ACADEMIC PUBLISHERS | Published : 2016


This report examines the history and significance of indigenous companion animals within traditional Aboriginal society and in early Euro-Australian settlements. Working from historical photographic and anthropological records, the project constructs a visual and written record of these often-transient human-animal relationships, including cockatoos who spoke in Aboriginal language; companion brolgas; and the traditions of raising the young of cassowary, emu, and dingo. It explores different pathways towards shared human and nonhuman animal spaces and how they found common ground outside of a contemporary model of domestication.

University of Melbourne Researchers


Funding Acknowledgements

Thanks to Gale-Cengage Learning for permission to reproduce the Illustrated London News images, to the J. L. Shellshear Museum, the National Museum of Australia, and the State Library of South Australia for permission to use the Basedow images. The photographs by D. F. Thomson are reproduced courtesy of the Thomson family and Museum Victoria. Thanks to David Kaus, Philip Jones, Philip Batty, Natasha Fijn, and Denise Donlon for their help with the archival material, and to John Broomfield and Jon Augier for photographic expertise. Thanks also to the University of New England for supporting the study; to Nick Reid, Ian Reeves, and Karl Vernes; to Adam Miklosi; and to two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.