Author(s): Fred Cahir
The Wadawurrung are the Aboriginal people whose land includes the cities now known as Ballarat and Geelong. This book is a history about relations between the Wadawurrung and the ngamadjidj (generally translated as white stranger belonging to the sea) in the period 1800 -1870. The history of inter-racial relations between the Wadawurrung and the British colonisers is distinctive. Divided into chronological and thematic sections, the book chronicles three waves of invasion: the early invasion period incorporating trespassers from England and France, predominately from the sea, the sheepherders or squatters who followed in their wake and usurped the Wadawurrung of all their Country for sheep runs, and the third wave of invaders - the gold seekers.It examines the adaptations of the Wadawurrung to the European invaders in some detail by including lengthy excerpts of first hand accounts. Indeed, a feature of this book is the lengthy transcripts from the archival sources, often unabridged, which increases its historical value and provides the detail and the tone of the events as no historian can.This history book is transformative as it constructs a compelling argument of how the Wadawurrung were active agents of change and sought cultural enrichment in the midst of the frontier war on their Country. In addition to the accounts of the accommodative actions by the Wadawurrung to the newly imposed economy, spiritual beliefs and socio-political frameworks, the author has woven the colonial invaders stories of their actions and attitudes towards the Wadawurrung ranging from genocidal intent to arrangements approximating Native Title. The book therefore details not just the violent conquest of Wadawurrung lands by the squatters but also paints the fine brush strokes of the conquest stories - including their 'longing to belong'.The author, Associate Professor Dr Fred Cahir acknowledges the necessity for non-Aboriginal Australians to recognise and confront their own place and role in the history of Aboriginal-colonial invader relations.