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'Black Velvet’: Aboriginal women and their relations with white men in the Northern Territory, 1910-40

McGrath, Ann


'Black Velvet' was the term used to describe Aboriginal women with whom white men had sexual intercourse. The expression originated as nineteenth-century English military slang, and it is also the name of an Irish drink consisting of a mixture of stout and champagne or cider. Henry Lawson used it in the Australian context in 'Ballad of rouseabout', published 1899. Territorian Bill Harney, writer and ex-Aboriginal welfare officer elucidated: 'The surface of the skin was smooth, a feature that...[Show more]

CollectionsANU Research Publications
Date published: 1984
Type: Book chapter
Source: So Much Hard Work: Women and Prostitution in Australian History
Access Rights: Open Access


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