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Title: Robinson's Hares, Still Running
Contributor(s): McDougall, Russell J (author)
Publication Date: 2011
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Abstract: 'Friendly Mission: The Tasmanian Journals and Papers of George Augustus Robinson' Edited by NJB Plomley Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery and Quintus Publishing, 1180pp, $99.00, 2008. ISBN 978-0-9775572-2-6. 'Reading Robinson: Companion Essays to Friendly Mission' Edited by Anna Johnston and Mitchell Rolls Quintus Publishing, 238pp, $34.95, 2008. ISBN 978-0-9775572-5-7. Until 1966, the image of Indigenous Tasmanians given to British and European understandings of Australian colonial history was largely that provided by British armchair anthropologist Henry Ling Roth's 'The Aborigines of Tasmania', published in 1890 - or more accurately, the revised edition of 1899. This was a key moment in the translation of the Tasmanians for European and, by extension, Australian settler consumption. With his ambition towards a totalising comprehension, synthesising all that could be objectively known about Tasmanians from a multitude of previous accounts, and with his subsequent efforts to confirm his own scholarship by disproving Fanny Cochrane Smith's claims to be the Last Indigenous Tasmanian, Ling Roth set the seal on the discourse of Tasmanian extinction for generations. His text remained the standard reference on Tasmanian Aboriginals for almost seventy years - until Brian Plomley's monumental edition of the Tasmanian journals and papers of the island's Chief Protector of Aborigines in the early 1800s, George Augustus Robinson, swept it into oblivion and reopened the whole question of Tasmanian history. 'Friendly Mission' provided a belated first-hand account of Robinson's attempts at conciliation, and of the subsequent relocation of a remnant population of Tasmanian Aborigines to Flinders Island. The importance of the book is hard to over-estimate. But the cost of reproducing it must have been extremely disadvantageous, for the first edition published by the Tasmanian Historical Research Association ran to 1074 pages; and for some thirty years now it has been out of print. It is not often a reviewer has the opportunity to celebrate such a milestone event in Australian publishing.
Publication Type: Review
Source of Publication: Journal of Australian Colonial History, v.13, p. 207-213
Publisher: University of New England
Place of Publication: Armidale, Australia
ISSN: 1441-0370
Field of Research (FOR): 210303 Australian History (excl Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
210301 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History
200502 Australian Literature (excl Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Literature)
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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