eCite Digital Repository

'I am frightened out of my life': Black War, white fear


Clements, N and Gregg, A, 'I am frightened out of my life': Black War, white fear, Settler Colonial Studies, 7, (2) pp. 221-240. ISSN 2201-473X (2017) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 Taylor & Francis

DOI: doi:10.1080/2201473X.2015.1096878


British colonists treated Tasmanian Aborigines abominably during the early decades of the nineteenth century. Indeed, colonization resulted in the near annihilation of this ancient and unique people. Their fate, which understandably provokes feelings of sympathy and anger, has strongly influenced the literature on the ‘Black War'. The Aborigines are usually portrayed as the helpless victims of ruthless, even genocidal colonists. This dichotomy, however, is a gross over-simplification. By dehumanizing colonists as heartless murderers we enter an explanatory cul-de-sac. It is only by dispassionately interrogating colonists’ experiences of Aboriginal violence that we can begin to understand what precipitated this tragedy. Hence the purpose of this article, which focuses above all on the fear generated by Aboriginal violence, and the ways colonists responded to it. The essay will argue that fear – economic fear, fear for the safety of others, and fear for one's own safety – dominated the wartime experiences of frontier colonists. It will also demonstrate the influence of fear on colonists’ attitudes and behaviour, as well as on the built landscape. In doing so, it covers new ground, revealing the potent anxieties of the colonizers, and the psychological impact of Aboriginal resistance.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Indigenous Studies
Research Group:Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, language and history
Research Field:Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Understanding past societies
Objective Field:Understanding Australia's past
UTAS Author:Clements, N (Dr Nicholas Clements)
UTAS Author:Gregg, A (Mr Andrew Gregg)
ID Code:109911
Year Published:2017 (online first 2015)
Deposited By:School of Humanities
Deposited On:2016-07-07
Last Modified:2018-07-17

Repository Staff Only: item control page