Settler Society in the Australian Colonies: Self-Government and Imperial Culture

TitleSettler Society in the Australian Colonies: Self-Government and Imperial Culture
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsWoollacott, Angela
Number of Pages288
PublisherOxford University Press
CityNew York; Oxford

Settler Society is a fresh look at the history of the Australian colonies from the 1820s to the 1860s, a foundational period when free settlers gradually overtook convicts, the colonies dramatically expanded their territorial control, and both settlers and officials had grand plans for colonial possibilities. Frontier violence shaped settlers' lives, while they depended on unpaid Aborigines and indentured Indians and Chinese for labour alongside that ofconvicts. The pivotal development of the 1840s-1850s, which forms the backbone of this story, was the Australian colonies' attainment of representative and then responsible government. Through political struggleand negotiation, in which Australians looked to Canada for their model of political progress, settlers slowly became self-governing. Colonial democracy was linked to ideas of manhood, but women's exclusion from politics was vigorously debated. Australian settlers were well aware of their place in a globally-expanding British Empire that was based on racial hierarchies and threatened by revolts.

(UNC Chapel Hill)

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