Australia’s maritime frontier conflicts, 1802-1918

On 8th October 2018, Dr Craig Wilcox presented this seminar as part of the War Seminar Series.

There’s a blind spot in our vision of Australian frontier conflict, and it has been more than fifty years since John M.R. Young observed that early British lodgements in eastern Australia had two frontiers: maritime and continental. Conflict caused by expansion inland and coastal lodgements around the continent has, in many ways, been incorporated into Australian military history.

However, conflict caused by expansion across the sea remains understudied. Occurring beyond national borders, this is mostly left to Pacific historians to interpret and to New Zealand, New Guinea and the nations of the Pacific to inherit. A sprawling century of multifarious violence waits to be understood by Australians, partly as a prequel to later involvement in our region.

This talk briefly examines four very different clashes from 1802 to 1918, then sketches what the course of Australian maritime frontier conflict might look like.

Dr Craig Wilcox is a historian who lives and writes in Sydney. His books include Australia’s Boer War and Red Coat Dreaming.

See the event page for more information.

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