Professor Mulvaney’s thematic history of encounters between outsiders and Aboriginal Australians is developed through a discussion of events located in specific places. He has selected places which are in the Register of the National Estate (many of which he initially nominated) or are being considered for inclusion. The places, then, are by definition part of Australia’s cultural heritage, and an important focus of the book is to illuminate some of the types of events which have shaped Australian society.
The first of the thirty-two chapters deals with the protocol of Aboriginal encounters. It is an excellent summation of a diffuse and complex body of information. Each of the remaining chapters deals with a particular place and associated events, and includes a map and photos.
The range is prodigious: early explorers such as Willem Jansz at Cape Kerweer in 1606; Macassan trepangers and traders in the Gulf of Carpentaria; the grave and memo column of the cricketer Jo Mullagh; Hermansburg mission; the Moree Baths; and Uluru are among the thirty-one encounter places.