bain attwood on aboriginal title in colonial new south wales


Bain Attwood, ‘Law, History and Power: The British Treatment of Aboriginal Rights in New South Wales’, Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History (2013).

In recent decades historians have devoted considerable attention to the historical treatment of indigenous title in Anglophone settler colonies. These scholarly accounts have tended to emphasise the role metropolitan legal and intellectual discourses played in the dispossession of indigenous peoples. In this article I present a critical analysis of an influential example of such work in respect to the British denial of Aboriginal rights in land in the colony of New South Wales before providing an alternative account of the manner in which Aboriginal title was treated, which focuses on the nature of the relations on the ground between sojourners, settlers and Aboriginal people, the ways in which these encounters were represented by the British and the local practices regarding the transfer of land.

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