Publication Date: Dec 2023
RRP: $27.99
ISBN: 9781922979360
Format: Paperback
Size: 135mm x 210mm
Pages: 352
Category: Indigenous Studies

A Wild History

Life and Death on the Victoria River Frontier

Darrell Lewis

Also available as an ebook from your favourite retailer.

‘Now at last this majestic tract of north Australia has its defining history… Wild tales, dark times, deep history.’ Nicolas Rothwell

‘It is a story with which every Australian should become familiar.’ Henry Reynolds

‘If Ned Kelly had been gentler and more learned but just as much a bushman he might have written A Wild History.’ Tom Griffiths, Inside Story

‘An outstanding publication… His meticulous research combined with extensive first-hand knowledge of locations and people result in a study already widely recognised as a major historical work.’ David Carment, Public History Review

A new format of an acclaimed history – joint winner of the Northern Territory Chief Minister’s History Book Award 2013

In 1883, pastoralists began to drive great herds of cattle into the Northern Territory’s Victoria River District. They entered a vast tropical land of big rivers, wide plains and rugged ranges. It was a cattleman’s paradise, but also a paradise for the Aboriginal peoples who had lived there for thousands of years. A twenty-year battle ensued between these two groups, but ultimately both sides lost, as the introduction of cattle began the destruction of the land for both.
The settlers who came to the district included cattle and horse thieves, outlaws, capitalists, dreamers, drunks and madmen. They established massive stations of up to 12,000 square miles on the traditional lands of the Aboriginal peoples. Lewis traces their legacies, from the explorers of the 1830s and 1850s to the founders of the big stations in the 1880s and 1890s, and finally the cattle duffers in the ‘golden era’ of the early 1900s.
Drawing on rare yet rich documentary sources, Aboriginal oral traditions and investigations in the region undertaken over thirty-five years, Lewis pieces together the complex interactions between the environment, the powerful Indigenous tribes and the settlers, which produced what was truly a wild history.

Darrell Lewis

Darrell Lewis is an archaeologist, historian and bushman who has worked in the Outback for more than forty years. He has driven, helicoptered, boated or walked into many remote regions to document historic sites, record natural features and photograph Aboriginal...
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