This book brings together essays from leading Australian and international historians in an analysis of the monumental Friendly Mission: the Tasmanian Journals and Papers of George Augustus Robinson 1829−1834, edited by NJB Plomley and re-booklished in 2008. Until this book, Friendly Mission has rarely been considered in a context beyond the immediacy of Van Diemen’s Land. Yet George Augustus Robinson’s diverse writings constitute a body of work that typically has one set of meanings for local readers, and another for those outside its sphere of production. Robinson’s texts are exemplary of the ways in which colonial texts circulated around what Alan Lester, Professor of Historical Geography at the University of Sussex, has called ‘imperial networks.’
Reading Robinson remains cognisant of local resonances, including personal reflections by contemporary Aboriginal commentators on the colonial text. Bringing together community voices and international scholars situates Friendly Mission within broader contexts, both in terms of contemporary accounts of colonial / settler contact, conflict with indigenes and current debates analysing this material.
Anna Johnston is Queen Elizabeth II Fellow in the School of English, Journalism and European Languages, and Deputy Director of the Centre for Colonialism and Its Aftermath at the University of Tasmania. She is the author of Missionary Writing and Empire, 1800-1860 (Cambridge University Press, 2003) and co-editor, with Helen Gilbert, of In Transit: Travel, Text, Empire (Peter Lang, 2002); she has also published widely on nineteenth-century missionary writing and on travel writing. Her current research examines travel writing about Australia in the nineteenth century. She is also currently working on the Australian magazine Walkabout (published between 1934 and 1974), with Mitchell Rolls.
Mitchell Rolls is Senior Lecturer and Co-Director (Academic) in Riawunna, Centre for Aboriginal Studies, University of Tasmania, and a Deputy Director, Centre for Colonialism and Its Aftermath. His research interests include cultural identity, race and representation, and cultural appropriation. He has published widely on these issues, most recently in the journals Aboriginal History, Australian Studies, Australian Cultural History; and he has a chapter – ‘The Green Thumb of Appropriation’ – in The Littoral Zone: Australian Contexts and their Writers (Rodopi Press, 2007). He is currently working on the Australian magazine Walkabout (published between 1934 and 1974), with Anna Johnston.