Aboriginal Environments Research Centre

You are here

Dr Cameo Dalley

B. Anthropology (Hons) UQ, PhD

Year Graduated: 

Currently Working: 
College of Arts and Social Sciences at ANU

Cameo Dalley and Cyril Moon at the Mornington Island airstrip


Cameo graduated in 2012 after working with Qld Native Title Office, she is now undertaking a Research Fellowship at Centre for Native Title Anthropology, College of Arts and Social Sciences at ANU.

Thesis Title: 
Social relations and layered identities in a remote Aboriginal town, Mornington Island, south Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia


Cameo’s thesis is about the ways in which remote living Aboriginal people on Mornington Island in the southern Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia, construct their identities. In an ethnography focused on daily life, Cameo argues that the pervasive nature and intensity of social relations significantly informs Aboriginal people’s subjectivities. While some aspects of identity were derived from the historical past, others have been formed and reformed through more contemporary social interactions, including with whitefellas.

In interpreting the implications of dwelling in an Aboriginal community remote from urban and regional Australian society, Cameo argues that the contained nature of the town of Gununa and the intensity of social relations contributed to the formation of a particular ‘Mornington Islander’ identity. This collective identity was layered with other distinct local identities derived from both traditional culture and relationships with outsiders. These layers of identity were evident across the key realms of Mornington Islander social life are addressed in this thesis. The research is set in the context of the first decade’s vigorous examinations of the maintenance of Aboriginality in remote settings.