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July 01 , 2008

Botany Bay

Where histories meet


Botany Bay is renowned as the site of Captain Cook's first landing on the east coast of New Holland in 1770, infamous as the place chosen by the British as a dumping ground for convicts, and celebrated as the birthplace of Australia.
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Gryff’s orders lay unopened on the table.The silent tension caused Gem to bite her lip. She tucked a loose strand of auburn hair behind her ear and shifted uneasily in the chair. Wide-eyed, Gryff sat stiffly beside her, regarding the envelope. He was like a statue—hands on his knees—staring interminably at the table.Finally, Gem cleared her…

In this remarkable history, Maria Nugent takes her readers on a journey to find what lies behind, beneath and beyond these familiar associations. Drawing on stories, objects, images, memories and the landscape itself, she collects the threads of other pasts to weave a rich, compelling and often surprising account. Local meanings jostle with national mythologies, Aboriginal remembrance disturbs white forgetting, the natural environment struggles for survival amid the smokestacks. In the process, Botany Bay becomes a site for meditating on questions of history, myth, memory and politics in Australia.

Botany Bay: where histories meet explores the role both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal history-making plays in creating and sustaining local and national communities.

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