Dr. Daryl Wesley – Flinders University 


Conflict archaeology, also known as 'battlefield archaeology' has gained increasing popularity with significant public appeal and media presence. The visibility of Indigenous people involved in World War II conflict has been problematic in the past, however it has been changing in recent years with the detailed history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples direct action as members of Australia’s armed forces during World War II being recognised. Their service is now held in high esteem and is widely acknowledged. On the other hand, other research has shown how Indigenous communities became a largely unacknowledged labour force to build necessary war infrastructure and support Allied garrisons in northern Australia. This seminar examines several case studies of what the physical legacy arising from Indigenous participation during World War II might look like in the Northern Territory. This research has led to questions about how Indigenous involvement in World War II sites, that are now major commemorative places in the Northern Territory’s heritage, can be interpreted. It is important to consider the significant role that Indigenous labour contributed to the war effort and the challenges for identifying an Indigenous presence in these WWII cultural heritage places.   

About the Presenter

Daryl Wesley is a Senior Research Fellow and archaeologist at Flinders University.  He has held an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Research Award (DECRA) Fellowship at Flinders University to investigate faunal assemblages in the rock art of Arnhem Land. His research includes the archaeology of culture contact between Indigenous people of northern Australia and island Southeast Asia. Over the last three decades he has been an active researcher in field archaeology, anthropology and cultural heritage management in northern Australia. Daryl is currently a council member on the Northern Territory Heritage Council.


About Archaeology Working Papers

The Working Papers in Archaeology seminar series provides a forum for dissemination of archaeological research and ideas amongst UQ archaeology students and staff. All students are invited to attend the series and postgraduate students, from honours upwards, are invited to present their research. The aim is to provide opportunities for students, staff and those from outside UQ, to present and discuss their work in an informal environment. It is hoped that anyone interested in current archaeological directions, both within and outside the School and University, will be able to attend and contribute to the series.