Freedom in Chains

The story of Australia's settlement has as its refrain the taming of what celebrated historian Manning Clark called "that rude and barbarous land." The first settlers found themselves in an alien world, and for the convicts among them, the land's harshness must have seemed part of their punishment. The nation's self-image was shaped by those colonists' experiences of hardship, hunger, hostile natives, droughts and floods — their sense, from the outset, of being profoundly at odds with the land they had to call their home.

In Van Diemen's Land, (Black Inc., 388...

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