'White published his fifth novel, Voss, in 1957, a time when the White Australia Policy was being relaxed ahead of its eventual abolition in 1966. It was a significant historical moment for the novel to make an appearance because it historicized the encounter between whites and aboriginals. The clash between European explorers and the aboriginal people of Australia must properly be viewed as a form of early exploratory diplomacy between colonialists who aimed to “discover” an imagined homeland, on the one hand, and the pre-existing nations of the indigenous people, on the other. As Johann Ulrich Voss, the protagonist in the novel Voss, sets out to “explore” the continent in 1845, his contact with aboriginal communities constitutes a form of informal diplomacy, or unofficial amateur diplomacy—i.e. the diplomacy conducted by ordinary people. By contrast, formal diplomacy is conducted by countries, as understood in Diplomatic History and International Relations History. There is rich historical literature on informal diplomacy and early contacts between white settlers and aboriginals, both in North America and Australia, many of which resulted in the signing of treaties and informal pacts (Ford 2010, Berman and Johnson 1977, Forslund 2002, and Beisner 1975). '