The Captive White Woman of Gippsland: In Pursuit of the Legend

TitleThe Captive White Woman of Gippsland: In Pursuit of the Legend
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsCarr, Julie
Number of Pages309
PublisherMelbourne University Press
CityCarlton, VIC

In the 1840s, in the fledgling settlement of Port Phillip, a rumor persisted that a white woman was being held captive by Aborigines in the Gipps Land bush. The reverberations of that rumor-and of the actions it precipitated-continue to this day. In the mid-1840s, as Port Phillip developed into a burgeoning provincial center, the White Woman rumor was deployed to serve numerous political and cultural ends. Sensationalist speculation in the colonial press about a white woman held in thrall by ‘ruthless savages’ fuelled anti Aboriginal attitudes and provided justification for the taking of Kurnai lands. More broadly, the White Woman functioned as an emblematic figure: a focus for the concerns of a transplanted culture coming to terms with an unfamiliar land and its original inhabitants.

(UNC Chapel Hill)

Short TitleThe Captive White Woman of Gipps Land
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