Tasmania is a small place with a rich historiography. Two themes in particular have intrigued historians and novelists since the nineteenth century and have appealed to film-makers and artists in more recent times. The fate of the Aborigines and the convict system which dominated society from 1803 to 1853 have both attracted notice as a result of their dark, dramatic potential. They were the central themes of John West’s great two-volume History of Tasmania, published in Launceston in 1852. Every year the relevant body of literature grows. The intense ‘history wars’ of a decade ago were principally about interpretations of Tasmanian history in the early nineteenth century, and many books and articles have been published in recent years.