In the Australian context, Mary Bennett argued that demands for the abolition of polygamy were antithetical to the administration’s aims in Western Australia. She believed that the mission’s insistence on monogamy protected Aboriginal women caught in the vulnerable state of culture contact; hence, it preserved Aboriginal society from what amounted to state-sanctioned extermination. This chapter will look at this intriguing and culturally specific dimension of Bennett’s campaign to explore how one white woman conceived of Aboriginal women’s rights in inter-war Australia against a backdrop of a consolidating empire and increased interest in Indigenous races both nationally and internationally. But before exploring the particularity of Bennett’s agenda in Australia, we need to have the important background context within which to understand it.
|Title of host publication||Uncommon ground|
|Subtitle of host publication||white women in Aboriginal history|
|Editors||Anna Cole, Victoria Haskins, Fiona Paisley|
|Place of Publication||Canberra, Australia|
|Publisher||Aboriginal Studies Press|
|Number of pages||24|
|Publication status||Published - 2005|