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y separately published work icon The Roving Party single work   novel   historical fiction  
Issue Details: First known date: 2011... 2011 The Roving Party
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'1829, Tasmania.

'John Batman, ruthless, singleminded; four convicts, the youngest still only a stripling; Gould, a downtrodden farmhand; two free black trackers; and powerful, educated Black Bill, brought up from childhood as a white man. This is the roving party and their purpose is massacre. With promises of freedom, land grants and money, each is willing to risk his life for the prize.

'Passing over many miles of tortured country, the roving party searches for Aborigines, taking few prisoners and killing freely, Batman never abandoning the visceral intensity of his hunt. And all the while, Black Bill pursues his personal quarry, the much-feared warrior, Manalargena.

'A surprisingly beautiful evocation of horror and brutality, The Roving Party is a meditation on the intricacies of human nature at its most raw.' (From the publisher's website.)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Crows Nest, North Sydney - Lane Cove area, Sydney Northern Suburbs, Sydney, New South Wales,: Allen and Unwin , 2011 .
      person or book cover
      Courtesy of Allen & Unwin.
      Extent: 282p.
      • Publication date: May 2011.
      ISBN: 9781742376530
    • New York (City), New York (State),
      United States of America (USA),
      Soho Press ,
      2014 .
      image of person or book cover 6925249870862618247.jpg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 1v.p.
      • Published February 2014.
      ISBN: 9781616953119
Alternative title: La Battue
Language: French
    • Paris,
      Western Europe, Europe,
      Albin Michel ,
      2015 .
      image of person or book cover 1561913150248476405.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 304p.p.
      • Published April 2015.
      ISBN: 9782226317087

Other Formats

  • Sound recording.
  • Large print.
  • Braille.

Works about this Work

Unease and Disease : Redrawing the Boundaries of Colonial Madness James Dunk , 2021 single work essay
— Appears in: Griffith Review , April no. 72 2021; (p. 122-131)
'OVER THE COURSE of eight years I researched and wrote a book, Bedlam at Botany Bay, about colonial madness in Australia. I read the records generated by the projects undertaken here – endeavours at every scale, from simple survival through to the efforts of empires to mobilise labour, capital and morality. Letters scratched out by the two outsized, Crown-appointed spiders working from the stone house on the rise above the eastern shore of Warrane (Sydney Harbour) and transmitted to the buildings thrown up around the edge of the water; the second settlement at Parramatta; the outstations in contested areas; the penal stations on far-flung islands; and the lair of the hulking old beast half a world away on Downing Street. I read case notes scribbled by half-trained doctors, case law by half-trained lawyers, editorials and newsprint written in the same inflated, pompous register in which it seems that many of the better-heeled colonists prosecuted their lives. The spiders spun without cease a taut, geometric thing strung over the uneven, ungainly contours of the colony, over the actual life of the world I was working to reconstruct. Somewhere within this close web, and the stray silken threads spun silent across the water by every person with access to ink and paper and language, somewhere within and inside all this lovely, suffocating gossamer lay the monstrous and mundane matter of colonisation: a thing so ordinary anyone could do it and so special some felt called to it and so awful that it continues to poison the land and everything on it.' (Introduction)
Writing Bennelong : The Cultural Impact of Early Australian Biofictions Catherine Padmore , Kelly Gardiner , 2020 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Journal of Commonwealth Literature , September vol. 55 no. 3 2020; (p. 433–448)

'In 1941 Ernestine Hill published My Love Must Wait, a biographical novel based on the life of navigator Matthew Flinders. In the same year, Eleanor Dark published The Timeless Land, imagining the arrival of European settlers in the Sydney region from the perspectives of multiple historical figures. In this article we examine how each author represents the important figure of Bennelong, a man of the Wangal people who was kidnapped by Governor Phillip and who later travelled to England with him. While both works can be criticized as essentialist, paternalist or racist, there are significant differences in the ways each author portrays him. We argue that Dark’s decision to narrate some of her novel from the point of view of Bennelong and other Indigenous people enabled different understandings of Australian history for both historians and fiction writers. Dark’s “imaginative leap”, as critic Tom Griffiths has termed it, catalysed a new way of thinking about the 1788 invasion and early decades of the colonization of Australia. The unfinished cultural work undertaken by these novels continues today, as demonstrated by subsequent Australian novels which revisit encounters between Indigenous inhabitants and European colonists, including Thomas Keneally’s The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1972), Richard Flanagan’s Wanting (2008), and Rohan Wilson’s The Roving Party (2011). Like Dark, these authors situate parts of their novels within the consciousness of Indigenous figures from the historical record. We analyse the diverse challenges and possibilities presented by these literary heirs of Eleanor Dark.' (Publication abstract)

The Meaning of Settler Realism : (De)Mystifying Frontiers in the Postcolonial Historical Novel Hamish Dalley , 2018 single work criticism
— Appears in: Novel : A Forum on Fiction , vol. 51 no. 3 2018; (p. 461-481)

'Dominant theorizations of settler colonialism identify it as a social form characterized by a problem with historical narration: because the existence of settler communities depends on the dispossession of indigenous peoples, settlers find themselves trapped by the need both to confront and to disavow these origins. How might this problem affect the aesthetics of the realist novel? This article argues that the historical novels produced in places like Australia and New Zealand constitute a distinctive variant of literary realism inflected by the ideological tensions of settler colonialism. Approaching the novel from the perspective of settler colonialism offers new ways to consider classic theories of realism and, in particular, reframes Georg Lukács's concept of reification—and the critical distinction between realism and naturalism he derived from it—as an unexpectedly useful tool for analyzing postcolonial literatures. Doing so, however, requires us to jettison Lukács's progressive historicism in favor of a model of literary history shaped by uneven temporalities and a fundamental disjunction between the historical perspectives of settler and nonsettler communities—thus complicating our narratives of the development of the novel genre. This argument is illustrated through an extended analysis of two of the most significant young novelists to engage recently with issues of settler colonial history: Eleanor Catton of New Zealand and Rohan Wilson of Australia.'  (Publication abstract)

'Gothic Splendours'? : Recent Tasmanian Historical Fiction Peter Pierce , 2015 single work criticism
— Appears in: Island , no. 142 2015; (p. 20-26)
Peter Pierce investigates recent 'Gothic' historical fiction set in Tasmania.
Colonialism, Racial Violence and Loss : The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith and The Roving Party Maureen Clark , 2015 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Literary Studies , 30 May vol. 30 no. 1 2015;

'Thomas Keneally’s The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1972) and Rohan Wilson’s The Roving Party (2011) resonate with the violence of the colonising process. The books relate, respectively, to murders that took place in New South Wales in 1901 just prior to Federation, and in Tasmania during the 1820s. Both novels employ elements of the Gothic mode to represent social disorder, and equate systematic racism with the mechanics of moral corruption in a hostile colonial environment. In their efforts to make sense of the past each, in its own way, has something to say about how opportunism and upward social mobility are linked to the possession of whiteness. Each taps into an historical frame of reference in which whiteness is understood, not simply as skin colour, but as something essential to the founding vision of Australia as a nation.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Fearless on the Frontier Geordie Williamson , 2011 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 30 April - 1 May 2011; (p. 20)

— Review of The Roving Party Rohan Wilson , 2011 single work novel
Review of the Week John Bailey , 2011 single work review
— Appears in: The Sunday Age , 15 May 2011; (p. 20)

— Review of The Roving Party Rohan Wilson , 2011 single work novel
Engrossing from First Word Peter Pierce , 2011 single work review
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 21 May 2011; (p. 27)

— Review of The Roving Party Rohan Wilson , 2011 single work novel
Well Read Katharine England , 2011 single work review
— Appears in: The Advertiser , 14 May 2011; (p. 28)

— Review of The Roving Party Rohan Wilson , 2011 single work novel ; Past the Shallows Favel Parrett , 2011 single work novel
Review : Fiction Mary Philip , 2011 single work review
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 28 - 29 May 2011; (p. 24)

— Review of The Roving Party Rohan Wilson , 2011 single work novel
Fully Formed Rosemary Neill , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 23 - 24 April 2011; (p. 506)
To mark the thirtieth anniversary of The Australian / Vogel award, Rosemary Neill surveys the highs and lows of a prize that has launched the careers of many leading writers.
Beautiful Beginnngs Geordie Williamson , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 23 - 24 April 2011; (p. 18-19)
Geordie Williamson considers the enduring importance of the literary prize that has become the benchmark for finding new voices in Australian writing.
Aboriginal Massacre Story Honoured Marc McEvoy , 2011 single work column
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 28 April 2011; (p. 6)
Vogel Winner Follows in Contentious Footsteps Jason Steger , 2011 single work column
— Appears in: The Age , 28 April 2011; (p. 7)
Insult to Victims Leigh Callinan , 2011 single work correspondence
— Appears in: The Saturday Age , 30 April 2011; (p. 20)
Last amended 2 Feb 2021 15:44:56