Settler Colonialism

It is now well accepted that the invasion and colonisation of the Indigenous territories we call ‘Australia’ are emblematic of a particular type of colonialism. A settler colony, unlike, say, an extractive colony (where Indigenous peoples may be exploited in pursuit of resources but where permanent settlement does not necessarily follow), seeks to establish a new society on an acquired territory (regardless of the means by which that territory was acquired), intentionally displacing and eliminating the Indigenous inhabitants. In settler colonial societies, the settler came to stay.

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The Colonial Kangaroo Hunt by Ken Gelder and Rachael Weaver

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August 2020, no. 423

As generations of Australian tourists have found, the kangaroo is a far more recognisable symbol of nationality than our generic colonial flag. Both emblematic and problematic, this group of animals has long occupied a significant and ambiguous space in the Australian psyche. Small wonder, then, that Ken Gelder and Rachael Weaver have found such rich material through which to explore our colonial history in The Colonial Kangaroo Hunt.

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Australian Sikhs delivering free meals to fellow citizens in need has been a heart-warming news story against a backdrop of doom and gloom this year as bushfires then the coronavirus laid waste to life as we know it. Public housing tenants in lockdown, international students stranded without support, and bush-dwellers who lost everything in the fires are among those who benefited from their kindness and competence.

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You are looking at a book. On its cover is a painting of a person of colour. But you can only see a portion of the piece. The face is obscured. One dark eye takes up the middle third of the page, while one nostril fills the bottom right-hand corner. The painting is covered in a layer of fine cracks – presumably due to its age. These lines show that myriad individual pieces make up the image before you, but this is still only one part of the picture. Frustratingly, you cannot see the face as a whole.

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Though he had already produced two volumes of poetry, Roger McDonald first came to popular attention with his spectacular début novel, 1915, published in 1979. A recreation of the Gallipoli Campaign from the points of view of two ...

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‘Fuck Australia, I hope it fucking burns to the ground.’ Sarah Maddison opens this book by quoting Tarneen Onus-Williams, the young Indigenous activist who sparked a brief controversy when her inflammatory comments about ...

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On Identity by Stan Grant & Australia Day by Stan Grant

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August 2019, no. 413

It was a great moment in Australian history when William Cooper walked to the Australian parliament to object to the treatment of Jews in Germany during World War II. At the time, the British and Australian parliaments were ambivalent about the atrocities occurring across Europe ...

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In 1902, Australian feminist and social reformer Vida Goldstein met Theodore Roosevelt in the White House during her North American lecture tour. Marilyn Lake retells the story of their encounter in her important new book. Seizing Goldstein’s hand in a vice-like grip, the president exclaimed: ‘delighted to meet you’. Australasian social and economic reforms attracted Roosevelt and other Americans ...

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The Good Country begins in February 1840 with a cross-cultural encounter in Djadja Wurrung country, now central Victoria. Two Protectors of Aborigines, recently appointed to the burgeoning pastoral district around Port Phillip, met with an Aboriginal group camped near Mount Mitchell. At this time, the Aboriginal protectorate had been operating for little ...

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It is hard to review a novel when you don’t want to discuss two-thirds of it – not because it is not worth discussing, but because doing so risks undermining the genius of the novel’s structure. The blurb of Claire G. Coleman’s début makes clear that the novel is ‘not [about] the Australia of our history’, but for the first third of the novel, this is not readily apparent ...

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