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The Importance of the Koala in Aboriginal Society in Nineteenth-century Victoria (Australia): A Reconsideration of the Archival Record

By Rolf Schlagloth, Fred Cahir, Ian Clark

Category Journal Articles
Abstract

The principal aim of this study was to provide a close examination of nineteenth-century archival records that relate to Victorian Aboriginal people’s associations with koalas, in order to gain a greater understanding of the utilitarian and symbolic significance of koalas for Aboriginal communities, as recorded by colonists during the early period of colonization. The etymology of “koala” is discussed, before an examination is made of the animal’s spiritual importance, associated cultural traditions, and simultaneous utilitarian role. At the time of European colonization in 1788, koalas were probably found in coastal and lowland forests and woodlands across southern, central and north-eastern Victoria.

Publication Title Anthrozoös
Volume 31
Issue 4
Pages 433-441
ISBN/ISSN 0892-7936
DOI 10.1080/08927936.2018.1482115
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Tags
  1. Australia
  2. Human-animal interactions
  3. koala