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- Scholar Talks
The Sydney Wars – Conflict on the Cumberland Plain 1788-1817
With Stephen Gapps
In letters, diaries, journals and official records of the early colony of New South Wales, conflict with Aboriginal people was often described as ‘war’. Strategically, securing the Cumberland Plain and its rugged fringes that offered ‘advantageous retreating grounds’ was critical to Governor Macquarie’s expansion of the colony beyond the Blue Mountains. The 1816 campaigns that resulted in the Appin Massacre are considered here in the broader context of the long-running ‘open war between the natives and the settlers’, as one colonist described it, from 1788 to 1817.
Stephen Gapps is a Sydney-based historian and museum curator with research interests in public history and early colonial Sydney. He has written extensively on historical reenactments, military history and the commemoration of the past. His book Cabrogal to Fairfield won a NSW Premier’s History Award in 2011. The Sydney Wars is forthcoming in 2018.
Image: The landing place at Parramatta, Port Jackson, c1809, watercolour after George William Evans, PXD 388 Vol 3 no 5