Caledonia Australis

Imagine the injustice, imagine the justice explained how Paul Keating’s 1992 Redfern speech was a landmark moment for race relations in Australia.

The speech’s potency owed much to Paul Keating’s speech-writer Don Watson. His 1984 book Caledonia Australis: Scottish highlanders on the frontier of Australia, is a book to read for those who want to understand the injustice of the Australian frontier.

It has stayed with me. I love the way the story is rooted in Don Watson’s own family history of pioneering ancestors; and then grows to tell how the Scottish Highlanders were dispossessed, and in turn, dispossessed the Kurnai of Gippsland in south-eastern Victoria. All the time reminding us of the shared humanity of these people.


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