Anna Johnston: The Paper War

Archival riches

Grace Karskens


The Paper War: Morality, Print Culture, and Power in Colonial New South Wales
by Anna Johnston
UWA Publishing, $39.95 pb, 299 pp, 9781921401541


‘A MISSIONARY ARRESTED! A LONDON MISSIONARY ARRESTED!!’ These alarming words were trumpeted in the Sydney Gazette in 1828, and they shout from the back cover of Anna Johnston’s The Paper War. Readers might be forgiven for assuming that this book is about scandals in early colonial Australia – all the more entertaining for involving clergymen. And in a way it is, for the man arrested, Reverend Lancelot Threlkeld, is the book’s central character. His endless battles with his peers and superiors via the printed, written, and spoken word are a major focus of this book.

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Published in October 2011 no. 335
Grace Karskens

Grace Karskens

Grace Karskens teaches Australian History at the University of New South Wales. Her latest book The Colony: A History of Early Sydney (2009) won the 2010 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction.

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