Contents indexed selectively.
'A central question in Henry Reynolds' 'Fate of a Free People' (1995) concerned whether an agreement or treaty was effected between the Aborigines of Van Diemen's Land and the colonial authorities, resulting in the voluntary relocation of Aborigines from the Tasmanian mainland to Flinders Island in the 1830s. Reynolds built a circumstantial case that the 'Conciliator' George Augustus Robinson made certain promises 'on behalf of the government', including a commitment to allow Aborigines to return and visit their country. Reynolds wondered whether Governor George Arthur 'attempt[ed] to negotiate a settlement with the Tasmanians whilst the war was in progress'. Although focused on a petition later written by the Aborigines to Queen Victoria and on the role of females who accompanied Robinson, Reynolds noted in passing that the 'contemporary historian and newspaper editor, Henry Melville, reported a conversation between Arthur and Black Tom, a ''civilized'' Aborigine whom Arthur wished to employ as a negotiator'. Although Reynolds did not specifically draw the connection, he later quoted Robinson's journal description of a key negotiation that had taken place 'in the presence of Kickerterpoller'.' (Publication abstract)
'Evelyn Conlon's book Not the Same Sky tells the story of more than 200 Irish girls who were shipped from England to Australia during the time of the potato famine. Conlon's narrative engages delicately with the lives of several of the girls, taking the perspective of Charles Strutt, the Surgeon-superintendent responsible for their welfare during the voyage. This delicacy is essential, lest the reader be overcome by the unremitting tragedy experienced by these orphan girls. But Charles instead brings order and an uplifting spirit to their lives, and the sea voyage is negotiated with a skill that provides readers with glimpses into a world that, while it may be removed from our time by one and a half centuries, casts relevant light onto some aspects of the colony's Anglo-Celtic origins.' (Introduction)
'Cunning is not regarded positively in today's society, despite being so prevalent. 'Cold, calculating and cunning' is how Lady Jane Franklin described John Montagu, thereby assuring us that she was none of the above. This book in its analysis of colonial politics is what Carol and Peter Stearns define as an 'emotionology' — a study of 'appropriate emotional standards' of the early nineteenth century. Joel's book examines how one is expected to seem to conduct politics. We have to decide ourselves if Montagu was indeed manipulating a political climate or whether Lady Jane Franklin, information broker for this period, would like us to think he was.' (Introduction)
'Pre-suffrage female biographies are relatively uncommon. Source material is thin on the ground, frequently limited to entries in the registries of births, deaths and marriages, or brief reports in newspapers, if they were unfortunate enough to be the victims or perpetrators of criminal offences. For Ginger's story, the authors located a rich source of material in her two-volume memoirs, research papers and letters, and other family documents lodged at the Mitchell Library in Sydney.' (Introduction)
'Arguably Australia's most well-known exploration journey, that of Burke and Wills, is the subject of this attractive book in which Cathcart depicts William John Wills as the under-appreciated brains of the expedition. Based on Wills' diary, the book's eye-catching layout makes it a pleasure both to read and to hold. Over 130 colourful images, including 16 double-page spreads, complement Cathcart's insightful interpretation of Wills' pencilled and detailed notes.' (Introduction)