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About the book
  • Published: 1 April 2009
  • ISBN: 9781741667660
  • Imprint: Vintage Australia
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $19.99

Caledonia Australis

Scottish Highlanders on the Frontier of Australia




With a new introduction from Inga Clendinnen.

Scottish Highlanders on the frontier of Australia.

After their military defeat in 1745 the Scottish Highlanders suffered a worse humiliation. They were displaced from their ancestral lands and became curiosities: objects of romantic nostalgia, charity, scorn, anthropology - and emigration. This is a tale of their dispossession.

It also tells the rout of another people, the Kurnai of Gippsland in south-eastern Australia. And prominent among those who did the routing were emigrant Highlanders like the explorer Angus McMillan. Don Watson writes about the frontier on which those two cultures met. It is a story full of tragic ironies and myths which linger to this day.

First published in 1984 and recognised as a significant revisionist work, CALEDONIA AUSTRALIS is all the more intriguing and instructive now as debate continues to rage over Aboriginal native title, practical reconciliation and the way Australian history should be written, taught and understood.

  • Pub date: 1 April 2009
  • ISBN: 9781741667660
  • Imprint: Vintage Australia
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $19.99

About the Author

Don Watson

Don Watson's books, articles and essays have been widely acclaimed. His bestselling titles include Recollections of a Bleeding Heart: Paul Keating Prime Minister, which won the Age Book of the Year and Non-Fiction Prizes, the Brisbane Courier Mail Book of the Year, the National Biography Award and the Australian Literary Studies Association's Book of the Year, Death Sentence, which won the Australian Booksellers Association Book of the Year, Watson's Dictionary of Weasel Words, and American Journeys, which won The Age Book of the Year and Non-Fiction Book of the Year, the inaugural Indie Award for Non-Fiction and the Walkley Non-Fiction Award. In 2010 Don was awarded the Phillip Hodgins Memorial Medal for Australian Literature. Since 2003 his website weaselwords.com.au has been documenting the viral spread of management-speak and the decline of public language. His critically acclaimed 2014 book The Bush recently won the Indie Book of the Year and the NSW Premier's Literary Award.

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Praise for Caledonia Australis

“‘It is not just about settlement, but about the legends of settlement, not just about history but as much about historiography. He plays a complex dialectical game with the traditions of the past 100 years, moving with them here, pushing against them there, seeking and often reaching an exciting synthesis of the new historiography and the old which has intellectual resonance and moral complexity.’ - Henry Reynolds, Age Monthly Review”


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