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The Oxford History of Australia

The history of Australia from the 1770s to the 1860s is seen as tightly linked to events and ideologies in an age of revolution and in particular to the social problems of industrializing Britain. Australia was colonized by believers in political equality and economic liberty. Running in counterpoint, these beliefs encompass what has been most distinctive about Australian history: a nation of speculators which at the same time has a liking for order and stability, a respect for science and the expert, and which accepts a strong role for the State as the partner of capitalism. Beginning with Cook and Banks, this volume shows how the drive towards scientific knowledge matched this strategy and the search for markets as motives for Australian settlement. After settlement in 1778 officials, convicts and speculators competed for economic opportunities until the success of whaling and wood-growing. The education of children and the role of women in policing gentility are given special emphasis as aspects of the quest for security.
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