eCite Digital Repository

George Augustus Robinson in Van Diemen's Land: Race, Status and Religion

Citation

Reynolds, H, George Augustus Robinson in Van Diemen's Land: Race, Status and Religion, Reading Robinson: Companion Essays to Friendly Mission, Monash University Publishing, A Johnston and M Rolls (ed), Melbourne, pp. 161-169. ISBN 978-1-9218673-0-9 (2012) [Research Book Chapter]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2012 Monash University Publishing

Official URL: http://publishing.monash.edu/books/rr-978192186730...

Abstract

Writing in his journal while on Flinders Island, a few days before Christmas in 1835, George Augustus Robinson reflected on the situation of the Tasmanians. They had been, he concluded, treated as bondsmen:

For the conduct persued towards them was such has would be persued towards bondsmen and this is the light in which they have been considered whereas they are or ought to be freemen of the highest order patricians not plebians for they and not us are the legitimite proprietors of the soil we hold by might not by right oh, it is cruel not to provide abundantly for this remnant of the aboriginal race − parsimony in such a case is not only niggardliness but injustice gross injustice we have desolated them despoiled them of their country the land of their forefathers and having placed them on an isolated spot. The least we ought to do is abundantly supply their wants.1 In this passionately expressed, indifferently spelt passage we can learn much about Robinson and his ideas about race relations, about status and hierarchy and above all about the Tasmanians.

In this passionately expressed, indifferently spelt passage we can learn much about Robinson and his ideas about race relations, about status and hierarchy and above all about the Tasmanians.

Opinions of Robinson fluctuate widely and have done so since the 1830s. He has been both revered and reviled, viewed as a saviour and as a destroyer and agent of genocide. But many twentieth-century writers have rushed to judgement with little attempt to place him in his cultural milieu, to see him as a man of his time.

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Research Division:History and Archaeology
Research Group:Historical Studies
Research Field:Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History
Objective Division:Cultural Understanding
Objective Group:Understanding Past Societies
Objective Field:Understanding Australia's Past
Author:Reynolds, H (Professor Henry Reynolds)
ID Code:83823
Year Published:2012
Deposited By:Riawunna
Deposited On:2013-03-22
Last Modified:2014-08-26
Downloads:4 View Download Statistics

Repository Staff Only: item control page