Historian Stephen Gapps has been awarded the inaugural Les Carlyon Award by the Australian War Memorial. The award was for The Sydney Wars: Conflict in the Early Colony 1788-1817 (NewSouth 2018).
The book ‘tells the history of military engagements between Europeans and Aboriginal Australians – described as “this constant sort of war” by one early colonist – around the greater Sydney region’.
Lyndall Ryan’s review of the book for Honest History got more views than any other review we have run. Professor Ryan said:
The Sydney Wars is a critically important book. In forcing the reader to consider Sydney’s first decades afresh, Gapps has overturned the long held myths of the British colonial project. Conquest was always the key purpose of the British occupation of Sydney and the military garrison and the settlers knew that it would not be achieved without forcing the Indigenous owners to surrender their homelands. Gapps must be congratulated for stripping away the romanticism of Sydney’s early decades and repositioning them through his more realistic assessment of the violence of colonial conquest.
26 November 2020