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Indigenous people in British settler colonies, 1830s–1910

This book focuses on the ways in which the British settler colonies of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa treated indigenous peoples in relation to political rights, commencing with the imperial policies of the 1830s and ending with the national political settlements in place by 1910. Drawing on a wide range of sources, its comparative approach provides an insight into the historical foundations of present-day controversies in these settler societies.

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‘Australia for the White Man’

In 1908 the prominent Australian magazine Bulletin took as its masthead the phrase ‘Australia for the White Man’. It would prove a brief and pithy indication of the place that any man or woman of colour, including Aborigines, the first people of the land, would find in the newly federated Commonwealth of Australia. From the 1870s to the first decade of the twentieth

in Equal subjects, unequal rights
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centuries. And it is not only in South Africa that the 1990s revisited some of these developments with a renewed relevance. In Australia and Canada, a number of major judicial decisions of the 1990s on the issue of land rights for Indigenous peoples have proved to be of continuing significance. In Australia, the Mabo decision of 1992 finally pronounced the death sentence on the doctrine of terra nullius

in Equal subjects, unequal rights
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In 1841, Herman Merivale, professor of political economy at Oxford University and soon to be appointed under-secretary of state for the colonies, made the following remarks about the nature of colonisation: The history of the European settlements in America, Africa, and Australia, presents everywhere the same general features – a

in Equal subjects, unequal rights
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One or two ‘honorable cannibals’ in the House?

The first colonies on the Australian continent and the islands of New Zealand in the decades from the late 1830s to 1870 were notable for their swift movement politically from initial Crown colonies to virtual local self-government. As in Canada, the British Government first made arrangements for representative government based on a property franchise for all of these colonies, the

in Equal subjects, unequal rights

origin, in the White Dominions of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the newly united South Africa, the economic transactions of which constituted 16.5 per cent of Britain’s overseas trade. 2 Edward’s son and successor George V had visited all of these Dominions, a feat not matched by his father and grandmother. King George’s coronation, scheduled for 22 June the following year, provided a suitable occasion

in Equal subjects, unequal rights
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himself to inaugurate the new Australian parliament and to convey Britain’s appreciation for imperial service to the ongoing South African War. George and Mary participated in a remarkably similar itinerary of events, from reviews of imperial troops to entertainment by indigenous peoples. Extolling the birth of a new imperial century, newspapers, and subsequently colonial subjects, across the British world

in Royal tourists, colonial subjects and the making of a British world, 1860–1911

attached to us here in the country where we have been so free and prosperous’. 40 The act was condemned by Irish communities across Australia and the empire. Curiously enough, even O’Farrell’s commitment to republicanism appears questionable, and in interviews he advocated a future for the Irish within the British Empire. Excerpts from his diary and the transcript of an interview he had with the Colonial Secretary of

in Royal tourists, colonial subjects and the making of a British world, 1860–1911
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Global Britishness and settler cultures in South Africa and New Zealand

prince to lay, the provincial capital Christchurch could not compete with the splendour and wealth of Australian cities, yet its settlement ‘resemble[d]‌ England more than any other portion of the colony’. 5 In other words, they claimed that the duke would feel most at home and most welcome in Canterbury as the most authentic ‘little Britain’ in the empire. Despite the rhetorical appeals to inclusion and

in Royal tourists, colonial subjects and the making of a British world, 1860–1911
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Empire, migration and the 1928 English Schoolgirl Tour

idea for Empire tours had begun in the early 1920s when, following a visit to England by the Young Australian League, a reciprocal visit to Australia was sponsored by the Church of England Council of Empire Settlement. There were grand plans to send 200 boys from English public schools on tours of the Empire. 9 Along with the headmasters of public schools, Colonel Amery was on the schools’ Empire tour

in Female imperialism and national identity