Australian Settler Colonialism Over the Long Nineteenth Century

Authored by: Penelope Edmonds , Jane Carey

The Routledge Handbook of the History of Settler Colonialism

Print publication date:  August  2016
Online publication date:  August  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415742160
eBook ISBN: 9781315544816
Adobe ISBN: 9781134828470


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Australia has been inhabited for at least 50,000 years by diverse groups of Aboriginal peoples. The Dreaming explains that Aboriginal people were created here by powerful ancestral spirits who continue to inhabit the landscape. They are the world’s oldest continuous culture. 1 Australia’s settler colonial history, commencing in 1788, therefore marks only a tiny fraction of its past. Yet when settlers came to stay in Australia, they did so with devastating impact. Although colonization progressed unevenly across the continent and was met with fierce Aboriginal resistance, over the course of the nineteenth century, the British would lay claim to the vast majority of the land. The widely, if erroneously, cited extinction of Tasmania’s Aboriginal people and the apparent vigour of the wealthy ‘white/British’ colonies which emerged quickly became the twin popular representations of the settler project in Australia.

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