Austrlian studies (Reflective Journal ) Essay Example

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Australian National Museum 6

Date

Introduction

The issue of a true Australian national identity has featured more prominently in various debates or for a. Previous studies have illustrated that the national identity of Australia dates back to the time of early European settlement (Phillips and Smith, 2000). One of the unique aspect of Australian identify in illustrated through their unique culture and the ability to withstand hardship as in engendered in the sporting spirit that has endured for a long period (Phillips, 1998). However, other factors of historical importance have affected national identity. Unfortunately, most studies have ignored some of the factors and they have tended to focus on the understandings of adults. The primary focus of this report in on citizenship, national identify and multiculturalism in relation to Australia as illustrated through Museum, Library and issues of Indigenous Australian as well as Immigration and multiculturalism in Australia through the film, Red Dog. Following the brief background, the rest of the paper is structured in four sections. In the immediate section, description of the national museums of Australia is presented. This is followed by presentation on National Library of Australia, then Indigenous Australia. In the final section, discussion on the film, the red Dog is presented in relation to Immigration and multiculturalism in Australia.

Australian National Museum

From my observation, the idea of citizenship is well presented in the Museum particularly through various histories about what makes an Australian. One of the important illustrations of Australian citizenship is through the gallery, Citizen Arch. The idea of multiculturalism is quite evident from various images and through historical narratives about the immigrants. From my analysis, there are numerous attempts by the National Museum to paint or construct some unique Australian identify. This has been achieved through different icons of the nation like flag and coat of arms as well as cultural symbols such as the digger, the kangaroo, and suburbia. One of the most notable aspects of the Museum is the Gallery of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, which explores the stories and experiences of Australia’s Indigenous peoples. The museum shop with goods ranging from unique homewards, arts to crafts pass various messages especially related to national identity. In can conclude that although the museum has made great steps of capturing literally all materials associated with Australian identity, one aspect needs consideration, the issue of story telling which needs to be extended to other items not just one a single Australian story which may not reflect the best of contemporary museum practice and historical scholarship.

National Library of Australia

The national library of Australian is one of the biggest library of the state which is mandated by the National Library Act for maintenance, development of national collection of library based materials not only relating to experiences of Australians. Materials in the library include but not limited to books, journals, serials, newspapers, maps, posters, music as well as publications and unpublished material including manuscripts, pictures and oral histories. The main unique feature of the library is the performing art such as dancing. The Library’s considerable collections of general overseas and rare book materials, as well as world-class Asian and Pacific collections augment the Australian collections. The print collections are further supported by extensive microform holdings. The Library also maintains the National Reserve Braille Collection. One of the distinguishing features of the library is that it has a collection that dates back in the 1970. For instance, the library has hand- written Endeavour journal kept by the Captain James Cook when he wrote about the naming of Botany Bay on May 6, 1970. In addition, there is Sir John Ferguson’s monumental ‘Bibliography of
Australia which is probably one of the most important documents, not only for the library itself but all libraries in the Commonwealth.

Indigenous Australia

The work indigenous generally means Australian Indigenous people which are mainly composed of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. The term can also be used to mean a homogenous group of people (Bishop, Colquhoun, & Johnson, 2006, Vicary & Bishop, 2005). The major distingushing characteristics can be found between and within the groups as illustrated through unique traditions, customs, and languages as well as their levels of cultural links, adoption of non- Indigenous lifestyle and practices. It is worth mentioning that the Indigenous communities in Australian both in towns and rural areas have been significantly influenced by the coming of Europeans and the consequences of colonization (Dudgeon, Garvey, & Pickett, 2000). Indigenous Australian is not very many compared to non-indigenous. By 2005, they only constituted 2.4 percent of the total Australian population (ABS, 2005). Indigenous communities tend to maintain either a traditionally lifestyle in that they stay independently from mainstream society and maintain traditional institutions or they can be oriented towards rural non-traditional lifestyles by living on previous government reserves which in most cases are separated from mainstream society (Dudgeon, Mallard, & Oxenham, 2000). The other important aspect of the Indigenous Australians is that they tend to be younger on average when compared with other groups of citizens, the non-Indigenous people (ABS, 2005).

Immigration and multiculturalism in Australia (Film and Discussion Red Dog)

Red Dog is an Australian film based on a true story and seems to be an arrangement of different stories about «Red» that were put together to make a movie of the life of the dog. The story is mainly based in the Iron Ore exporting port of Dampier West Australia and for those unfamiliar with that part of Australia the stark red dust scenery alone is worth viewing the movie. Filled with a cast of stereotypical characters, from the Italian immigrant worker who can’t stop talking about home to the plethora of bearded ocker miners in Dampier, Red Dog‘s real star is Koko, the Kelpie who was elevated to stardom from humble beginnings. The story depicts the Australian identity especially in relation to the comings of immigrants. The location of the story in the red Pilbara Desert where the Red Dog is presented intrinsically as an Australian legend about loyalty and belonging to a place as well as, in Red Dog’s case, a person. The supporting casts are mostly mining company employees who mostly provide representations of nationalities that some audiences may see as affectionately comic, and some as shallow stereotypes (Collins & Davis, 2004).

References

Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2005). Year book Australia: Selected findings from the 2002 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey. Canberra, Australia

Bishop, B., Colquhoun, S., & Johnson, G. (2006). Psychological sense of community: An Australian Aboriginal experience. Journal of Community Psychology, 34, 1-7.

Dudgeon, P., Mallard, J., & Oxenham, D. (2000). Contemporary Aboriginal community. In P. Dudgeon, D. Garvey, & H. Pickett (Eds.), Working with Indigenous Australians: A
handbook for psychologists, (pp. 127 — 136). Perth, Australia: Gunada Press.

Phillips, T. (1998). Popular views about Australian identity: Research and analysis. Journal of Sociology, 34, 281-302.

Vicary, D. A., & Bishop, B. B. (2005). Western therapeutic practice: Engaging Aboriginal people in culturally appropriate and respectful ways. Australian Psychologist, 40, 8-19.