Cambridge University Press, May 2018. 326 pages, paperback.
A History of South Australia investigates South Australia’s history from before the arrival of the first European maritime explorers to the present day, and examines its distinctive origins as a ‘free’ settlement. In this compelling and nuanced history, Paul Sendziuk and Robert Foster consider the imprint of people on the land – and vice versa – and offer fresh insights into relations between Indigenous people and the European colonisers. They chart South Australia’s economic, political and social development, including the advance and retreat of an interventionist government, the establishment of the state’s distinctive socio-political formations, and its relationship to the rest of Australia and the world. The first comprehensive, single-volume history of the state to be published in over fifty years, A History of South Australia is an essential and engaging contribution to our understanding of South Australia’s past.
Cambridge University Press, May 2018. 326 pages, paperback.
Now in one definitive volume, Botany Bay and the First Fleet is a full, authentic account of the beginnings of modern Australia.
In 1787 a convoy of eleven ships, carrying about 1400 people, set out from England for Botany Bay, on the east coast of New South Wales. In deciding on Botany Bay, British authorities hoped not only to rid Britain of its excess criminals, but also to gain a key strategic outpost and take control of valuable natural resources.
According to the conventional account, it was a shambolic affair: underprepared, poorly equipped and ill-disciplined. Here, Alan Frost debunks these myths, and shows that the voyage was in fact meticulously planned – reflecting its importance to Britain’s imperial and commercial ambitions. In his examination of the ships, passengers and preparation, Frost reveals the hopes and schemes of those who engineered the voyage, and the experiences of those who made it.
The culmination of thirty-five years’ study of previously neglected archives, Botany Bay and the First Fleet offers new and surprising insights into how Australia came to be.
He fought Napoleon’s army and survived. He was sent to the gallows and escaped the noose. Now he is in chains and on his way to the other side of the world. What happens next will become one of the most remarkable survival stories in history. The 19th century has just begun. The world is at war. England, ruled by a mad king, is exiling thousands of criminals to an old land that has become its newest dumping ground.
One of those prisoners is William Buckley, barely 21, a former soldier sentenced to life for stealing two small pieces of cloth. He’s a giant for his times. But it’s not just his towering frame that sets him apart. It’s his desire for freedom that will make his story so unique – even in an era famous for outrageous acts of bravery and heroism.
On a moonlit night Buckley escapes and disappears into the Australian bush. Discovered and adopted by an aboriginal tribe who regard him as a ghost, he is initiated into their rich and complex culture. Given up for dead by his white captors, he will not be seen again for more than 30 years until he emerges one day…carrying a spear, dressed in animal skins and having forgotten the English language.
Buckley’s Chance is a profound journey into a turning point in history where cultures clash, bitter rivals go to war and the body count mounts. It’s also the story of a man who refuses to be held down. A man prepared to defy all odds and take a chance. Buckley’s chance!
Living with the Locals comprises the stories of 13 white men, boys and women who were taken in by the Indigenous people of the Torres Strait islands and of eastern Australia and who lived in their communities between the 1790s and the 1870s, from a few months to over 30 years. The white people had been shipwrecked or had escaped the confines of penal servitude and survived only through the Indigenous people’s generosity. Many of them were given Indigenous names—Bunboé, Murrangurk, Duramboi, Waki, Giom, Anco. They assimilated to varying degrees into an Indigenous way of life—several marrying and learning the language—and, for the most part, both parties mourned the white people’s return to European life.
The stories in Living with the Locals provide a glimpse into Indigenous life at the point of early contact between Indigenous people and British colonists. It was a time when negative attitudes towards Indigenous people gave rise to misinterpretation of events and sensationalised versions of the stories. However, many of the white survivors spoke up against the appalling treatment of the Indigenous people, and advocated for conciliation and land rights. They also were unwilling to reveal Indigenous beliefs and customs to unsympathetic colonists.
Mallee Country tells the powerful history of mallee lands and people across southern Australia from Deep Time to the present. Carefully shaped and managed by Aboriginal people for over 50,000 years, mallee country was dramatically transformed by settlers, first with sheep and rabbits, then by flattening and burning the mallee to make way for wheat. Government backed settlement schemes devastated lives and country, but some farmers learnt how to survive the droughts, dust storms, mice, locusts and salinity – as well as the vagaries of international markets – to become some of Australia’s most resilient agriculturalists. In mallee country, innovation and tenacity have been neighbours to hardship and failure.
Mallee Country is a story of how land and people shape each other. It is the story of how a landscape once derided by settlers as a ‘howling wilderness’ covered in ‘dismal scrub’ became home to citizens who delighted in mallee fauna and flora, and fought to conserve it for future generations. And it is the story of the dreams, sweat and sorrows of people who face an uncertain future of depopulation and climate change with creativity and hope.