James Erskine Calder, Tasmania’s Surveyor General from 1859 to 1870, lived through the violence and conflict of early colonial Van Diemen’s Land, often in direct contact with First Nations peoples. His accounts detail a time of harrowing warfare. Uncommonly, he was one of the few public voices calling for his countrymen to understand Tasmanian Indigenous peoples not as ‘savages’ but as human beings.
In 1972, the year of the establishment of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy on the lawns of Parliament House, Fullers Bookshop reprinted a facsimile of Calder’s nineteenth century book: Some Account of the Wars, Extirpation, Habits, &c., of the Native Tribes of Tasmania.
This rare and important text has now been revived once more for contemporary access. It includes an enlightening foreword by Series Editor Professor Henry Reynolds – one of Australia’s most respected historians and best-selling author of Tongerlongeter, Truth-Telling and Forgotten War.
This is the sixth volume in the Studies in the History of Aboriginal Tasmania.