chapter  8
16 Pages

Death, Family and Disrespect in a Northern Queensland Town

BySally Babidge

In Charters Towers in northern Queensland, indigenous funerals are occasions when families with historical connections to the area come together. These funerals are emotionally charged social events that expose the allegiances and cohesiveness as well as the rifts and divisions among families. Funerals are ideally Aboriginal family space, a time out from day-to-day life, especially from native title processes and the associated disputes among individuals and families. Funerals, particularly those of ‘old people’, are events in which people reproduce belonging to family and to place, enact shared histories, and in so doing demonstrate ‘respect’ for others in their family, for those in other families, and for Murri history.1