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Australia's north-west : a study of exploration, land policy and land acquisition, 1644-1884

Clement, Cathie (1991) Australia's north-west : a study of exploration, land policy and land acquisition, 1644-1884. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

PDF - Front Pages
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PDF - Whole Thesis
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The thesis analyses the continuum of European activity that preceded establishment of an effective pastoral industry in Australia's north-west. Two strands - physical activity and evolution of legislation - are interwoven, examining growth in geographical knowledge, proposals for colonisation and the outcome of interplay between government officials and landholders over land policy.

Growth in geographical knowledge gave rise to colonisation proposals from 1828. The thesis relates these proposals to events affecting northern Australia to show that promotion and occupation of north-west lands constituted an integral part of the outgrowth of colonial settlement in Australia.

Europeans occupied the north-west in two waves, abortively during the 1860s and continuously from 1879. The existing literature identifies these waves but provides inadequate analysis of events to 1884. The thesis fills this gap by showing that land hunger, misinformation, land speculation, manipulation of legislation and exploitation of political power for private commercial gain determined the shape of north-west settlement. Moreover, by relating land policy to tenure and occupation, it shows that private individuals influenced land policy and impeded official plans for rapid settlement. Thus, the thesis provides a fresh perspective not only on the prelude to effective pastoral settlement in the north-west but on the management of Western Australia's outlying lands in the period before responsible government.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Social Sciences
Supervisor(s): Bolton, Geoffrey
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