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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.

Reviews

‘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

‘For [the Scottish settlers] the Presbyterian religion was a view of the world, rather than a series of practices. They came to own a great part of Australia. Watson’s book makes clear that to understand them (and Australian history) you have to go back to the world of John Knox and John Calvin. All history is ultimately theological.’ - Edmund Campion, The Bulletin

‘Watson has an imaginative span, a love of place and a sympathy for his subjects akin to the best in Manning Clark’s writing. This is a melancholy book, taking as its theme the public tragedy of the extermination of a people and the private tragedy of one man.’ - Michael McKernan

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9781741667660

    April 1, 2009

    Vintage Australia

    336 pages

    RRP $19.99

    Online retailers

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    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
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    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Paperback

    9780091835552

    September 26, 1997

    Vintage Australia

    RRP $24.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781742744681

    April 1, 2011

    RHA eBooks Adult

    317 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Also by Don Watson

The Bush
There It Is Again
A Single Tree
Enemy Within: American Politics in the Time of Trump: Quarterly Essay 63
Worst Words
Reflections on Recollections of a Bleeding Heart
The Big House on the Hill
The Big House on the Hill (Storycuts)
Reflections on Recollections of a Bleeding Heart (Storycuts)
Recollections Of A Bleeding Heart 10th Anniversary Edition
Bendable Learnings
American Journeys
On Indignation
The Wayward Tourist
Watson's Dictionary Of Weasel Words
Death Sentence
Rabbit Syndrome: Australia & America: Quarterly Essay 4

Recommendations

Gallipoli
War and Peace
To Kill A Mockingbird
Depends What You Mean by Extremist
Emma
The Fair and the Foul
Australian Desperadoes
Brave New World
The Fatal Shore
The Handmaid's Tale
For Whom The Bell Tolls
Catch-22: 50th Anniversary Edition
The Shepherd's Life
Guns, Germs And Steel
The Secret Garden
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Little Women
Slaughterhouse 5
Histories of Controversy
Into the Heart of Tasmania