‘…a deep local history that pays attention to the forces of time and place to explore how colonial relations evolved as they did in this region, and how Aboriginal people responded to the successive colonial processes of dispossession, institutionalisation, and assimilation.’ Amanda Nettlebeck, Australian Book Review
‘Avoiding big-picture generalisations, Bain Attwood has written a succinct and excellent close-grained study of the Djadja Wurrung people and their interactions with settlers and the Aboriginal Protectorate.’ Richard Broome
‘Scrupulous scholarship at its best. Attwood sets higher standards for historical truth-telling of a sort immediately relevant today.’ Alan Atkinson
‘…once you have this broad picture of, first, the Aboriginal nations’ territory, then the overlay of the settlers’ claims, you begin to see the land differently.’ Rosemary Sorensen, Daily Review
‘Concise, focused on places and people and alert to the historiography … exemplary in every way.’ Tim Rowse, Australian Historical Studies
‘It is in his attentiveness to the finer textures of frontier relations that Attwood’s book really shines.’ Russell McGregor, Australian Journal of Politics and History
Victorian Community History Awards 2018 – Commendation
Beyond the generalisations of national and colonial history, what can we know about how Aboriginal nations interacted with the British settlers who invaded their country, the men appointed by the imperial and colonial governments to protect them, and each other?
Bain Attwood makes a major contribution to our knowledge of this period with his superbly researched, finely grained local history of the Djadja Wurrung people of Central Victoria. The story tells of destruction, decimation and dispossession, but it is not one of unceasing conflict. Concepts such as the frontier and resistance emerge as inadequate in this context. Drawing on an unusually rich historical record, Attwood explores the modus vivendi the Djadja Wurrung reached with sympathetic protectors, pastoralists and gold diggers, showing how they both adopted and adapted to these intruders in their own country, at least for a time.
Finally, drawing past and present together, Attwood relates the remarkable story of the revival of the Djadja Wurrung in recent times as they have sought to become their own historians.