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Stephen Bennetts

Stephen Bennetts

Stephen Bennetts is a Perth-based writer and anthropologist who has worked on Aboriginal heritage, land claim, and native title matters in remote areas of Australia (including North East Arnhem Land) since 1994. He is a Fellow of the Australian Anthropological Society and was a founding member of Friends of Australian Rock Art, a cultural heritage advocacy group dedicated to protecting the globally significant rock art of Murujuga/the Burrup Peninsula in Western Australia’s Pilbara region from destruction by industry. He is also a member of University College London’s Australian ‘Ndrangheta Research Group, which carries out research on the Calabrian mafia presence in Australia.

Stephen Bennetts reviews 'Title Fight: How the Yindjibarndi battled and defeated a mining giant' by Paul Cleary

November 2021, no. 437 21 October 2021
On the wall of Yindjibarndi leader Michael Woodley’s modest office in the Pilbara Aboriginal community of Roebourne hangs a large framed portrait of Muhammad Ali and a pair of boxing gloves. It seems a highly appropriate metaphor for the tale of this small Aboriginal group’s thirteen-year resistance to one of Australia’s most powerful companies, now recounted by former Australian journalist ... (read more)

Stephen Bennetts reviews 'Farmers or Hunter-gatherers? The Dark Emu debate' by Peter Sutton and Keryn Walshe

August 2021, no. 434 22 July 2021
Listen to this review as read by its author.   For anyone who has spent substantial time recording Aboriginal cultural traditions in remote areas of Australia with its most senior living knowledge holders, bestselling writer Bruce Pascoe’s view that Aboriginal people were agriculturalists has never rung true. Farmers or Hunter-gatherers? The Dark Emu Debate – co-authored by veteran Au ... (read more)

Stephen Bennetts reviews 'More Than Mere Words' edited by Paul Monaghan and Michael Walsh and 'Ethnographer and Contrarian' edited by Julie D. Finlayson and Frances Morphy

December 2020, no. 427 25 November 2020
Anthropology, in my experience, is commonly confused in the popular imagination with archaeology. ‘We study live people, whereas archaeologists study dead people,’ I have sometimes explained half-jokingly to the perplexed. Although public understanding of anthropology’s engagement with living human societies and cultures is at times sketchy, Australian anthropologists have in fact made signi ... (read more)

Stephen Bennetts reviews 'Gulpilil' by Derek Rielly

January–February 2020, no. 418 16 December 2019
Australians have admired distinguished actor David Gulpilil in films like Walkabout (1971), Storm Boy (1976), The Tracker (2002), and Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002). Not so many will be familiar with the details of his recent life, as related by journalist Derek Rielly. We find Gulpilil dying of lung cancer in Murray Bridge, an unprepossessing town on the lower Murray River in South Australia. He is su ... (read more)