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Seascapes of ‘Submarine Squatters’: Commercial Dugong Fisheries of North Queensland

Abstract

Submarine squatting, dugong fishing on the Queensland (Australia) coast during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, is a poorly understood livelihood. This study provides a fine-grained interpretation to expand our knowledge of the operation of commercial dugong fisheries through the practices of two commercial dugong fishers, John Lionel Ching and Daniel Dewar, operating in the Newry Island Group. Archaeological surveys of the Newry Island Group and nearby Stewarts Peninsula have highlighted the ephemeral nature of the commercial dugong industry in the seascape today. Despite this ephemeral landscape, contextualising the archival and archaeological research within a seascape framework has enriched our understanding of the daily lives of the commercial dugong fishers. It is important to acknowledge that a seascape approach is rarely applied to non-Indigenous archaeological contexts in Australia. The seascape approach used here has been successful in encompassing Western systems of maritime knowledge.

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Change history

  • 14 January 2020

    The article Seascapes of ‘Submarine Squatters’: Commercial Dugong Fisheries of North Queensland, written by Timothy Russell and Madeline Fowler, was originally published electronically on the publisher’s Internet portal (currently SpringerLink) on December 23, 2019, with open access.

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The original version of this article was revised: The article originally published electronically on the publisher’s internet portal (currently SpringerLink) on December 23, 2019, with open access. With the authors’ decision to step back from Open Choice, the copyright of the article changed in January 2020 to © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2020 and the article is forthwith distributed under the terms of copyright.

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Russell, T., Fowler, M. Seascapes of ‘Submarine Squatters’: Commercial Dugong Fisheries of North Queensland. J Mari Arch (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11457-019-09251-y

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Keywords

  • Archaeology
  • Commercial dugong fisheries
  • Maritime industries
  • Queensland
  • Seascapes