This thesis is an attempt to deal with man-land relationships in. an area of south-east Queensland, which I call the Maroochy area. More particularly, I am concerned with specifying some of the potentialities and constraints operating within the environment for an Aboriginal population. This population has either died out or been dispersed. Consequently, this thesis must also represent an attempt at reconstruction and a critical examination of the problems involved in such a task. A number of possible approaches suggest themselves for a reconstruction study: basically, they would be of two types, archaeological, relying on investigations of known Aboriginal sites; and historical, using data from published and unpublished works, archives and oral histories.
My own approach is broadly ecological. My original intention was to combine n number of research tasks. Firstly, I wished to establish the nature of the environment prior to the period of European contact. My second assignment was to examine the environment as consisting of sets of possibilities open to exploitation by an Aboriginal population following a subsistence pattern based on what is loosely termed, hunger-gatherer activities. The environment could also be seen as made up of a set of constraints which limited resource exploitation. This analysis would recognize that certain subsistence strategies might well limit or even deny other potential subsistence strategies. In other words, the environment would be seen as providing certain choices and having within it certain built-in limiting factors.
The third task envisaged was to consist of a sifting out and an analysis of the ethnographic record, in an attempt to verify, one way or another, some of the choices made.
Ideally, tasks two and three would allow me to develop hypotheses about subsistence strategies for the area as a whole.
My fourth task was to test these hypotheses by a detailed analysis of certain known Aboriginal sites chosen, not only because they occurred in the ethnographic record, but because of their significance on both social and environmental grounds.
However, for reasons which will become clear in the body of this thesis, such a programme is far too ambitious for the present study. …………………………………………………