The Intimate, Urbanising Frontier: Native Camps and Settler Colonialism’s Violent Array of Spaces around Early Melbourne

  • Penelope Edmonds


During the 1840s many Aboriginal people moved in and out of the new settlement of Melbourne, and lived and camped along the Yarra River and Merri Creek, which run through the northeastern stretches of the city. Yet, in 1841 newly arrived Englishwoman Sarah Bunbury could walk the same river and see an entirely different settler space. ‘I am charmed with Australia dear Mama and Papa’, she wrote in a letter home. Sarah described the houses of Europeans along the banks of the Yarra River in this early settlement as ‘very pretty English cottages’, and ‘at the back of the house was a pretty plantation of gum trees and mimosas … thinned out enough to make it look like an English park’.1 Although Sarah’s husband, Hanmer Bunbury, freely registered his own hostile adjudications of Aboriginal people in letters home, in her many letters Sarah never mentioned sighting or encountering a single Aboriginal person, until at last Hanmer took her to view an Aboriginal corroboree in 1843.


White Woman Aboriginal People Urbanise Space Aboriginal Woman Town Council 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Penelope Edmonds

There are no affiliations available

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