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Civilisation of Port Phillip: Settler ideology, violence, and rhetorical possession

Civilisation of Port Phillip: Settler ideology, violence, and rhetorical possession

By Thomas James Rogers

Port Phillip's free settlers often said that they were civilising a wilderness. The truth was that the occupied country already had people, laws, politics, and economies. What did 'civilisation' mean to the free settlers? And what was the relationship between civilising and violence?

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  • Full description

    Port Phillip's free settlers often said that they were civilising a wilderness. The truth was that the occupied country already had people, laws, politics, and economies. What did 'civilisation' mean to the free settlers? And what was the relationship between civilising and violence?

    The Civilisation of Port Phillip tracks the violent history of the first years of British settlement in the Port Phillip District, now the state of Victoria. It illuminates the underlying free-settler rhetoric that advocated and abetted violence on the frontier. For the first time, we hear the settlers tell us in their own words what the civilisation of Port Phillip really involved.

    Frontier violence in Port Phillip involved Aboriginal peoples, convicts, free settlers and colonial officials. This history shows how the lives of these different people interconnected in early Port Phillip, in unlikely friendships, dire misunderstandings, and fatal clashes. It paints a vivid picture of the period drawn from archival records, a thorough re-reading of older histories, and new ideas in the scholarship of violence.

    As well as sheep and firearms, free settlers brought Enlightenment ideas about civilisation to Port Phillip. When these European ideas were coupled with Australian frontier experience, they manifested in an exterminatory attitude towards people deemed undesirable in the coming colony. The Civilisation of Port Phillip shows how free-settler rhetoric, law, and systems of classification reinforced and sought to justify the violence of the frontier.

  • About the author

    Thomas James Rogers is a historian in the Military History Section at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. He is currently working on projects dealing with Australia's involvement in the Boer War and the First World War. Prior to working at the Memorial, he lectured and tutored at the University of Melbourne and Australian Catholic University. He taught Australian and world history, Australian Indigenous history, and the history of violence. Tom's PhD won the 2014 Dennis-Wettenhall Prize for the year's best thesis in Australian history at the University of Melbourne. His research interests include colonial Australian and British Empire history, genocide studies, military and political history, and historical studies of violence.

     

  • Product details

    ISBN: 9780522870602

    Published: 2019

    Format: Softcover

  • Table of contents

    Acknowledgement
    Introduction

    1. Huts, or the British idea of civilization
    2. The prevention of conflict
    3. Convicts and the mythologies of free settlers
    4. The search for Gellibrand and Heese
    5. Captain Foster Fyans
    6. Free settler ideologies

    Conclusion
    Index

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