The Nimble Savage: Press Constructions of Pacific Islander Swimmers in Early Twentieth-century Australia

Osmond, Gary (2015) The Nimble Savage: Press Constructions of Pacific Islander Swimmers in Early Twentieth-century Australia. Media International Australia, Incorporating Culture & Policy, 157: 133-143.

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Author Osmond, Gary
Title The Nimble Savage: Press Constructions of Pacific Islander Swimmers in Early Twentieth-century Australia
Journal name Media International Australia, Incorporating Culture & Policy   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1329-878X
2200-467X
Publication date 2015-11-01
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
Open Access Status File (Author Post-print)
Issue 157
Start page 133
End page 143
Total pages 11
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Sage Publications
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Abstract In the decades around Australian Federation in 1901, a number of Pacific Islanders gained prominence in aquatic sport on the beaches and in the pools of Sydney in particular. Two swimmers, brothers Alick and Edward (Ted) Wickham from the Solomon Islands, were especially prominent. This article examines racial constructions of these athletes by the Australian press. Given the existence of well-entrenched negative racial stereotypes about Pacific Islanders, and legislative manifestations of the White Australia policy that sought to deport and exclude Islanders, racially negative portrayals of the Wickhams might have been expected in the press. Instead, newspapers constructed these men in largely positive terms, idealising the supposedly natural ability of Islanders in water and reifying an aquatic Nimble Savage stereotype. While largely contained to a few individuals, this nonetheless powerful press construction presented an alternative perspective to the prevailing negative stereotypes.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences Publications
 
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Created: Fri, 04 Dec 2015, 17:18:31 EST by Dr Gary Osmond on behalf of School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences