These photographs are an extraordinary trace of the centuries-old exchanges between Macassar and northern Australia – as their caption reads, they were taken in the port of Macassar in 1873, and show people of northern Australia – more precisely, from the Cobourg Peninsula. The history of the Macassan trade in trepang (sea cucumbers) with northern Australian Indigenous peoples is a rich and colourful one which has become of great interest to scholars and the public: part of its appeal lies in its exotic, cosmopolitan story of intercultural exchange, with its themes of reciprocity and Indigenous autonomy. Leaving Makassar in the province of South Sulawesi (Celebes) with the northwest monsoon in December, these trader fishermen with their crews of Makassan, Bugis, Butonese, Timorese, Malukan and Papuan sailors travelled to Australia.
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|Publication status||Published - 7 Oct 2020|