The thesis is a study into the creation in anthropology of an ethnography of senses of place. I will investigate how such an idea is used to investigate Indigenous perceptions of 'country' in relation to knowledge enacting and 'sense-making' to define a sacred event. A qualitative methodology of social phenomenology and hermeneutics is used as it provides a flexible and reflexive approach that both examines perceptions and ways of being in and knowing place, and the implications of behavioral practices and conscious experience.
The Yanyuwa people of the Gulf of Carpenteria are used as a case study to explore the implications of senses of place in an Indigenous worldview, the ways sense-making reflects and informs the sacred and pragmatic. Creating senses of place is a sensuous, experiential and emotional act, which can be related both personally and socially. Further, the discursive relationships of beings and place cause a flux of animation integral to caring for and sustaining country, for 'country' is formed through knowledge with people giving life to land as land itself gives life. Caring for country then is also pragmatic, as it is generated by place and biology. Sacred events hence can be defined as both the transformative event and the actions involved, which also transforms the agents and the place into sacred events. However, I argue that in Indigenous cosmology there can be no separation of the concepts of 'pragmatic', 'sacred' and 'country' as all three are connected, informing understandings of senses of place.