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The Road to Botany BayAn Exploration of Landscape and History$
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Paul Carter

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780816669974

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816669974.001.0001

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A Wandering State

A Wandering State

Chapter:
(p.320) 11 A Wandering State
Source:
The Road to Botany Bay
Author(s):

Paul Carter

Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
DOI:10.5749/minnesota/9780816669974.003.0011

This chapter considers the historical significance of Australia’s earlier inhabitants, the Aborigines. The First Fleet journalists had a tendency to treat the Aborigines like convicts, which suggests that their history can be also treated like that of the convicts’. It is tempting to imagine that by attending to the occasion and context of aboriginal appearances in, say, the First Fleet chronicles, we can recover their history of travelling. Instead of making fleeting appearances and baffling pronouncements, the Aborigines might emerge as the proponents of a different, spatial history. However, there are no grounds for presuming that aboriginal history can be treated as a subset of white history, as a history within history. If Aborigines remain outside white history, this reflects, not on the Aborigines, but on the essential nature of history as imperial historians have defined and practised it.

Keywords:   Aborigines, Botany Bay, Australia, spatial history, imperial history, white history

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