Violence and Empire

Violence and Empire

The Last Man: A British Genocide in Tasmania

by Tom Lawson

I.B. Tauris (Footprint), $49.95 hb, 263 pp, 9781780766263

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.

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.

Published in May 2014 no. 361
Henry Reynolds

Henry Reynolds

Henry Reynolds lives in Richmond, Tasmania. He worked for many years at James Cook University in Townsville, and has written many well-known books about Aboriginal-European relations. His recent books are A History of Tasmania (2011) and Forgotten War (2013), which won the Victorian Premier's Prize for non-fiction.

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 We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.