Untangling Aboriginal Resistance and the Settler Punitive Expedition: The Hawkesbury River Frontier in New South Wales, 1794–1810

TitleUntangling Aboriginal Resistance and the Settler Punitive Expedition: The Hawkesbury River Frontier in New South Wales, 1794–1810
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsRyan, Lyndall
JournalJournal of Genocide Research
Volume15
Issue2
Pagination219-232
Date Published06/2013
Abstract

The Australian frontier wars have only recently emerged as an accepted part of the history of Australia. But there is still a reluctance to accept that settler massacre was widespread across the frontier and that it made deep inroads into the Aboriginal population. This article reviews the debate about settler massacre in relation to Aboriginal resistance and finds that the punitive expedition is most likely a euphemism for massacre. It then establishes a new framework, which combines both aspects of frontier violence to explore a variety of published sources about Australia's first frontier at the Hawkesbury River in New South Wales 1794–1810. The article finds that as an agricultural frontier where the settlers' produce was vital to the colony's survival, the British deployed large numbers of troops to disperse the Bediagal Aborigines from the region, when they resisted the invasion of the agricultural settlers. It cites numerous examples of the punitive expedition and how it operated to force a rapid Aboriginal population decline and concludes that the dynamic of resistance and massacre was a defining feature of the Australian frontier.

URLhttp://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14623528.2013.789206
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