Monica Clare Research Fellowship

2020 Monica Clare Research Fellow Dr Fiona Foley

There are few historical records or photographic archives pertaining to the 52 Badtjala people taken from Maryborough to Fraser Island by Archibald Meston. This group of people taken and relocated under The Aboriginals Protection and the Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act, 1897 formed the basis of the first experiment.

Dr Foley proposes two outcomes from the Monica Clare Research Fellowship - a publication of essays and documentary photographs on site during the process of making my new photographic series titled, The Magna Carta Tree. The publication will have the title, Bogimbah Creek Mission: The First Aboriginal Experiment.

In the words of Raymond Evans he sums up the lack of research in this area when he writes, “in attempting to investigate the Bogimbah Creek Reserve on Fraser Island and the Aboriginal ‘inmates’ relocated, one is immediately struck by the almost total silence of Australian historians on this significant segregative experiment.” There is a need to bring this hidden history to the fore whether it is a publication or photographs. The Badtjala people are missing from this Queensland narrative.

Badtjala is also spelt Butchulla.

About the Fellowship

The Monica Clare Research Fellowship is available to people who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, with the purpose to research, explore and create new knowledge about Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures using the John Oxley Library and State Library’s significant collections and resources. 

The fellowship recipient receives a stipend of $15,000, a personal work space within the Neil Roberts Research Lounge for 12 months and premium access to the extensive collections and expertise library staff.

State Library’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Collections Commitments details our approach and commitment to providing greater access and use of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collections.  Research undertaken as part of the Monica Clare Research fellowship should align with the principles and values outlined in this document.

The Monica Clare Research Fellowship is made possible by the support of donors through the Queensland Library Foundation.  The fellowship is awarded by a panel of judges that include representatives from State Library and Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander subject experts.

Political activist and author, Monica Clare was born at Dareel near Goondiwindi and Mungindi (Queensland/NSW border) in 1924. Ms Clare was the first Indigenous woman to have a novel published. Her novel “Karobran” (meaning ‘together’) was published in 1978, five years after her death.

For more information about the Monica Clare Research Fellowship please email fellowships@slq.qld.gov.au or call 07 3840 7879 or 07 3840 7887.