Settler Colonial Governance in Nineteenth-Century Victoria

Settler Colonial Governance in Nineteenth-Century Victoria

Edited by: Leigh Boucher, Lynette Russell orcid

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This collection represents a serious re-examination of existing work on the Aboriginal history of nineteenth-century Victoria, deploying the insights of postcolonial thought to wrench open the inner workings of territorial expropriation and its historically tenacious variability. Colonial historians have frequently asserted that the management and control of Aboriginal people in colonial Victoria was historically exceptional; by the end of the century, colonies across mainland Australia looked to Victoria as a ‘model’ for how to manage the problem of Aboriginal survival. This collection carefully traces the emergence and enactment of this ‘model’ in the years after colonial separation, the idiosyncrasies of its application and the impact it had on Aboriginal lives.

It is no exaggeration to say that the work on colonial Victoria represented here is in the vanguard of what we might see as a ‘new Australian colonial history’. This is a quite distinctive development shaped by the aftermath of the history wars within Australia and through engagement with the ‘new imperial history’ of Britain and its empire. It is characterised by an awareness of colonial Australia’s positioning within broader imperial circuits through which key personnel, ideas and practices flowed, and also by ‘local’ settler society’s impact upon, and entanglements with, Aboriginal Australia. The volume heralds a new, spatially aware, movement within Australian history writing. – Alan Lester

This is a timely, astutely assembled and well nuanced collection that combines theoretical sophistication with empirical solidity. Theoretically, it engages knowledgeably but not uncritically with a broad range of influences, including postcolonialism, the new imperial history, settler colonial studies and critical Indigenous studies. Empirically, contributors have trawled an impressive array of archival sources, both standard and relatively unknown, bringing a fresh eye to bear on what we thought we knew but would now benefit from reconsidering. Though the collection wears its politics openly, it does so lightly and without jeopardising fidelity to its sources. – Patrick Wolfe

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ISBN (print):
ISBN (online):
Publication date:
Apr 2015
ANU Press
Aboriginal History Monographs
Aboriginal History
Arts & Humanities: History; Social Sciences: Indigenous Studies

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  1. ‘Tickpen’, ‘Boro Boro’: Aboriginal economic engagements in early Melbourne (PDF, 950KB) – Lynette Russell doi
  2. ‘Thus have been preserved numerous interesting facts that would otherwise have been lost’: Colonisation, protection and William Thomas’s contribution to (PDF, 437KB) – Rachel Standfield doi
  3. The 1869 Aborigines Protection Act: Vernacular ethnography and the governance of Aboriginal subjects (PDF, 1.7MB) – Leigh Boucher doi
  4. ‘They formed a little family as it were’: The Board for the Protection of Aborigines (1875–1883) (PDF, 1.5MB) – Samuel Furphy doi
  5. Managing mission life, 1869–188 (PDF, 171KB) – Claire McLisky (with Lynette Russell and Leigh Boucher) doi
  6. Photography, authenticity and Victoria’s Aborigines Protection Act (1886) (PDF, 1.1MB) – Jane Lydon doi
  7. Women, authority and power on Ramahyuck Mission, Victoria, 1880–1910 (PDF, 144KB) – Joanna Cruickshank and Patricia Grimshaw doi
  8. How different was Victoria? Aboriginal ‘protection’ in a comparative context (PDF, 150KB) – Jessie Mitchell and Ann Curthoys doi
  9. The ‘Minutes of Evidence’ project: Creating collaborative fields of engagement with the past, present and future (PDF, 196KB) – Jennifer Balint, Julie Evans, Nesam McMillan, Giordano Nanni and Melodie Reynolds-Diarra doi

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