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The saving grace of social culture' : early popular music and performance culture on Thursday Island, Torres Strait, Queensland
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Karl NeuenfeldtKarl Neuenfeldt, Stephen MullinsStephen Mullins
This article explores the dissemination of globalised popular culture forms into the 'white culture' of colonial Thursday Island (henceforth TI), the administrative centre of Torres Strait in northern Queensland. The analysis draws on a variety of media sources from approximately 1881 to 1906. It is grounded in an historical understanding of Torres Strait as a place of cultural convergence and also a society affected profoundly by the transnational flows and connections of popular culture forms, such as music, used in part to popularise British Imperialism (MacKenzie, 1992). Both 'high' and 'Iow' culture are examined to illustrate how British and North American cultural values and institutions helped create hybrid forms which contained aspects of the two main lineages of Australian popular culture, as explored by Whiteoak (2001; 1999; 1993), Waterhouse (1995), Johnson (1987), and Bisset (1979). Our goal in this article, and other on-going research, is to appreciate TI as the hub of this process for Torres Strait.