University of Tasmania
Whole-febey-thesis.pdf (1.57 MB)

'Who'll come a Waltzing Matilda with me?' Stock theft and colonial relations in Van Diemen's Land.

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posted on 2023-05-27, 07:31 authored by Febey, K
Between 1787 and 1852, 16,280 men and 920 women were transported from Britain to Australia for the crime of stock theft.The majority of the men, 10,280 were from England, aged in their early twenties and were single.100 women and 6,240 men were sentenced to transportation for life for these crimes. It is somewhat ironic that they should become the founding fathers and mothers of a nation, which should celebrate stock theft as one of its key iconic symbols. The words of 'Waltzmg Matilda' describe in verse the complex and often ambivalent role that stock and stock theft played in forging colonial social relations. All of these are themes which are central to this thesis. It focuses on these issues, in a more broader sense and argues that sheep, cattle and horses were a form of property around which many social, economical and political relations were based. Furthermore, it explores the fact that stock was an especially important delineator of social relations on the colonial frontier. It is a story that transcends the usual boundaries of class and race, but it does not preclude them either.


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