Domestic Destinies: Colonial spatialities, Australian film and feminist cultural memory work

Justine Lloyd*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Elsa and Charles Chauvel's 1955 film Jedda was the first Australian feature film to cast Aboriginal actors in lead roles. The film was also unusual in the context of Australian film of the time for its rural domestic setting. Because the film explored the experiences of its lead character - Jedda - as an Aboriginal child adopted by a white woman, it is also one of the few films of the period to deal with colonial legacies in its attention to policies and practices of assimilation. The twin processes of racialisation and gendering of space in Jedda have been responded to by Tracey Moffatt in her surrealist short film Night Cries. This article uses the notion of intimate geographies to examine the production of relationships of power within domestic space that both films explore. The temporal and spatial practices deployed by the female figures within each film make visible a set of possible transformations of, as well as continuities within, enduring colonial power relations. Moffatt's retelling and respatialising of the Jedda narrative, however, is ultimately understood as a specifically feminist practice of cultural memory work, suggesting that struggles over memory are also struggles over place.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1045-1061
Number of pages17
JournalGender, Place and Culture
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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