School of Humanities



Jacinta Solonec


Start date

Jan 2010

Submission date

Aug 2015

Jacinta Solonec

Jacinta Solonec profile photo


Adapting to a New World: an interracial marriage in the West Kimberley 1944 – 1994 (tentative title)


The proposed research is a joint biography. It represents the life story approach to the Aboriginal and social history of the West Kimberley in Western Australia. It will investigate the lives of West Kimberley couple Frank and Katie Rodriguez by engaging a micro-history methodology. He, a Spanish migrant and she, an Aboriginal Nygkina woman. The research will contribute to the region’s social history during the 20th century by applying existing life stories’ scholarship. Several phases of government policy dictated the livelihood of Aboriginal and migrant people during the 20th century and provided a context for the couple’s lives. I intend to tell their story against the social, cultural and political climate and concepts during their time. The joint biographical study will show that, as the couple embraced their respective cultural heritages, they were able to avoid English dominance. It begins in 1944 with Frank’s arrival in Katie’s country and ends in 1994.

Why my research is important

The importance of this study is to investigate trends in the West Kimberley’s social history under the policies of assimilation and integration. Assimilation policies are particularly important because they were not fully repealed until the early 1970s and they have had ongoing consequences for Aboriginal people and the wider community’s attitude towards them. Of further significance, is that the work is written from Aboriginal perspectives. Most scholarly accounts to date are from non-Aboriginal viewpoints.


  • UWA – Graduate Research School
  • UWA – School of Humantities

Frank Rodriguez with Fulgentius & Phillipena Fraser