White Fella – Black Fella
Early European Explorers and Their Engagement with Australian Aborigines
Imprint: Australian Scholarly Publishing
254 Pages, 6 x 9 in, original maps
- December 2023
For example, in 1705, Dutch sailors abducted two Aborigines, but one struggles desperately and escapes. Around 1800 an Aborigine joins the navigator Matthew Flinders’ sailors and presents arms with a short staff, mimicking the sailors with their muskets. Charles Sturt, in 1828, sees it is ‘the motion of the wheels’ of a cart that excites the Aborigines the most. Thomas Mitchell, in 1836, divulges that his female guide can communicate with strange tribes, unlike his male guide, as some ‘diffidence or ceremony’ prevents Aboriginal males from speaking to strangers. To Peter Warburton it is ‘a great triumph of art’ to capture an Aboriginal woman in the western deserts, so she can take him to water. He reveals his disappointment when the woman escapes by ‘gnawing through a thick hair-rope’.