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In January 1788 the First Fleet arrived in New South Wales and a thousand British men and women, some of them convicts and some of them free, encountered the people who would be their new neighbours—the beach nomads of Australia.
‘These people mixed with ours,’ wrote a British observer soon after landfall, ‘and all hands danced together.’
What followed would shape relations between the peoples for the next two centuries.
‘I cannot imagine that a more vivid or beguiling account of the origins of British Australia will ever be written…an extraordinary achievement.’
‘Because we know the outcome, the story has a deep poignancy. But Clendinnen does not just plod through the familiar sad story of oppression. Hers is a lyrical account that draws us into its passionate heart.’
‘Wonderfully brave and stylishly written…sometimes provocative, but startling in the way it entertainingly refreshes our history.’
‘A masterful book, elegantly conceived and written with narrative brilliance. Clendinnen is witty, incisively poetic and flawed with humanity.’