by Sven Lindqvist - £9.99 Granta Books (2012)
paperback ISBN 13: 9781847085214 | ISBN 10: 1847085210
In Terra Nullius, Sven Lindqvist travels 7,000 miles through Australia, lyrically describing its landscape, flora and fauna, while telling the history of the country, and revealing the shocking treatment of the Aboriginal peoples.
Lindqvist's title refers to the European settler's assumption that the vast continent belonged to nobdy and was there for the taking. When they did encounter the Aborigines, they drove them from any valuable land, slaughtered them, or engaged in cruel forms of social engineering. Lindqvist catalogues dreadful abuses such as the transportation of Aboriginal women to the chillingly named 'Isle of the Dead' for inappropriate and often fatal syphilis treatment, and the forced separation of 'halfblood' children from their families to squalid, prison-like camps.
Stretching from the formation of the Autralian continent 600 million years ago to the 2002 hunger strikes in the Woomera detention camp, Terra Nullius leaves us with a powerful sense of Australia as a piece of earth, steeped in geological and tragic human history.
"Readers of his earlier masterpieces, A History of Bombing and Exterminate all the Brutes will know that Sven Lindqvist is a brilliant and original writer as well as a fierce polemicist. With Terra Nullius he has undertaken another devastating journey of historical exploration."
(Price & availability last checked: June 2018)