Sovereignty, song and 'The Sapphires' (Wayne Blair 2012)

Starrs, D. B. (2014) Sovereignty, song and 'The Sapphires' (Wayne Blair 2012). Journal of Australian Indigenous Issues, 17(2), pp. 43-55.


With its foregrounding of the political issue of the denial of Aboriginal Australian sovereignty by British invaders in its big budget, mainstream narrative, 'The Sapphires' (Wayne Blair 2012) is shown to be another example of a "fourth formation" (Starrs 2012) in Moore and Muecke's 1985 model. Blair's feel-good movie features an all-Aboriginal Australian troupe of singers, The Sapphires, who undertake a journey of self-discovery whereby they learn the importance of choosing the protest songs of black Soul over the white coloniser's "whining" Country and Western songs and this is historically contextualised with a discussion of Aboriginal Australians and popular radio. Furthermore, this paper argues the iconic 'Welcome to Country' is twice subverted to reinforce this theme, firstly in the Cummeragunja pub and secondly in war-torn Vietnam. Finally, the prediction is made that a "fifth formation", in which seeking recognition of Aboriginal Australian sovereignty is no longer the goal because it has become the ongoing reality, will soon be the project of Australian film-makers as they celebrate this long overdue societal shift.

Impact and interest:

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

256 since deposited on 13 Aug 2014
98 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 75050
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
ISSN: 1440 – 5202.
Copyright Owner: Bruno Starrs
Deposited On: 13 Aug 2014 21:57
Last Modified: 15 Aug 2014 08:37

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page