As recent as 2006 I was shaken when told that a group of Aboriginal people rejected the idea of Indigenous enterprise on the basis that Aboriginal entrepreneurship was 'un-Aboriginal'. The misperception of this small yet influential group was disturbing as I had been working towards undermining these entrenched, race-based stereotypical attitudes for the majority of my working life, first within the Public Service, then the Australian banking industry and nowadays within academia. These erroneous observations are at the very least ill-founded. Indeed, Aboriginal involvement in a structured, orderly and entrepreneurial society dates back over 8,000 years. Australian Aboriginal enterprise is quite possibly the oldest surviving recorded 'business' undertaking known to modern man. This paper focuses on the Gunditjmara people of western Victoria. It seeks to lay to rest outdated stereotypes such as the lazy, non-industrious, noninventive, non-economically inclined Stone-Age Aborigine, and build a new foundation to further stimulate research in the field of Indigenous entrepreneurship by other Aboriginal scholars.
Journal of Australian Indigenous Issues Vol. 13, Issue 4, p. 85-93