James Boyce: 1835

New light on the European invasion of Australia

John Rickard

 

1835: The Founding of Melbourne and the Conquest of Australia
by James Boyce
Black Inc., $44.95 hb, 257 pp, 9781863954754

 

The title of this book might, to an innocent observer, suggest a triumphalist history, an impression that could be reinforced by the preface, which argues that the setting up of a squatters’ camp on the banks of the Yarra in 1835 ‘had a significance far beyond the baptism of a great city’, and concludes with the remarkable declaration that ‘in this place, at this time, “Australia” was born’. More on this attention-grabber later, but James Boyce is in fact questioning the whole process whereby the Port Phillip District was founded and the dramatic expansion of settlement beyond the government-determined limits of location unleashed. In a way, 1835: The Founding of Melbourne and the Conquest of Australia can be seen as a sequel to Boyce’s much-admired environmentalist rewriting of Tasmanian colonial history, Van Diemen’s Land (2008), which brought its story to a close with a chapter on ‘Victoria’s Van Diemonian Foundation’.

Read the rest of this article by purchasing a subscription to ABR Online, or subscribe to the print edition to receive access to ABR Online free of charge.

If you are a single issue subscriber you will need to upgrade your subscription to view back issues.

If you are already subscribed, click here to log in.

John Rickard

John Rickard

John Rickard is the author of Australia: A Cultural History (2017). In his youth he worked as an actor and singer.

Leave a comment

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.

NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to comments@australianbookreview.com.au. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.