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Paved with Good Intentions

By May 21st, 2022No Comments


Over a century before the Mabo case recognised Native Title and rejected the doctrine of Terra Nullius, Aboriginal land rights were briefly acknowledged in two Australian colonies. Paved with Good Intentions, reveals the many strong declarations in favour of Aboriginal land rights in early Colonial times, and shows how this language was twisted and remodelled to support dispossession of Aborigines. South Australia and Port Phillip were settled in the mid-1830s, under very different circumstances to earlier colonies. A new wave of colonists comprising entrepreneurs and humanitarians jostled for ascendancy, with Aboriginals caught between good intentions and voracious demands.

As settlers seized nearly 20 million acres of Aboriginal country, the original owners of the land were pushed to the margins—offered “protection” and assimilation instead of recognition of their legal rights.

The Author

Hannah Robert is a lecturer at La Trobe University Law School whose writing has appeared in The Conversation, the Good Weekend, the Journal of Law and Medicine, and the Australian Feminist Law Journal.

Author in conversation with Dr Anna Clark

Paperback, RRP $34.95