Clare Ribaux

HDR student

Clare Genevieve Ribaux
BA (Hons.) Australian Studies

PhD Thesis Title
The Golden Age of Northern Aboriginal Communities

Thesis Summary

I am exploring Aboriginal-Macassan contact in the north of Australia during the pre-colonial period. I will be examining and debating the concept of this period being a “Golden Age” for Aboriginal communities through the use of Aboriginal perspectives and non-traditional sources. These include Aboriginal oral histories, rock art and Aboriginal-Macassan artifacts gathered from a range of archives and museums in primarily the Northern Territory but also Western Australia and Queensland.

This research follows the idea by Regina Ganter that Australian history needs to shift its focus away from the traditional Australian histories which focus on the south of Australia and towards those that really identify where Australia’s history as a continent begins which is its Indigenous connection to Asia. This topic seeks to uncover more of the history around the topic of Australia and Asia and the extensiveness of the impact Asia and, in particular,  Macassar has had on  northern Aboriginal communities. 

My research places emphasis on a time and place before European colonisation and further to this, places an importance and focus on Aboriginal perspectives and how these sources can create a narrative of contact. 

Start Date
June 2017


Dr Tiffany Shellam

Dr Joanna Cruickshank

Research Interests

Aboriginal and Asian Interactions in northern Australia

Australian History until 1901

Australian Cultural Heritage and Preservation


Clare completed Honours in Australian studies where she looked at how fears and anxieties about the Aboriginal and Asian interactions in the north of Australia were expressed by the white settler population in both public and political discourses between 1850 and 1901. She examined how these sentiments were reflected in legislation during this period that sought to control Aboriginal and Asian communities in the north through segregation. 

In 2015 Clare undertook an internship as part of my Undergraduate Arts degree at the Royal Historical Society of Victoria where she was a researcher and caption writer for their latest publication Remembering Melbourne 1850-1960 and continued to volunteer for them through to mid-2016.


Australian Policy
 and History

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