Books

The Last Days of the Bonurong

Marie Hansen Fels, “I Succeeded Once”: The Aboriginal Protectorate on the Mornington Peninsula, 1839–40 (ANU E Press and Aboriginal History Inc., 2011), 420 pages, $29.95.  The delicate subject of Aboriginal infanticide gets a rare airing in Marie Hansen Fels’s new book, a detailed look at life in one district in one of the earliest years of white settlement in rural Victoria. Most of the book is the day-by-day journal entries and notes of William Thomas, Assistant Protector of Aborigines on the Mornington Peninsula, south-east of Melbourne, during 1839–40. Her research points to infanticide—the deliberate killing of babies—as a likely principal…

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