Paved with Good Intentions: Terra Nullius, Aboriginal Land Rights and Settler-Colonial Law

Hannah Robert

Paved with Good Intentions: Terra Nullius, Aboriginal Land Rights and Settler-Colonial Law
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Paved with Good Intentions: Terra Nullius, Aboriginal Land Rights and Settler-Colonial Law

Hannah Robert

Over a century before Mabo and generations before ‘Terra Nullius', Aboriginal land rights were briefly acknowledged, sparked by the anti-slavery and humanitarian movements.

In the push to colonise South Australia and Port Phillip, well intentioned people voiced humanitarian concerns about Aboriginal dispossession - both in London and closer to the frontier. Yet those good intentions paved the way not for recognition and respect, but for a settler-colonial legal system which denied Indigenous sovereignty, land title and even legal subjecthood for many decades.

In this book, Hannah Robert prises apart a key moment in Australia’s legal history and reveals the machinations of colony and empire amid the turbulent confluence of ideas about “civilization”, “property” and “the noble savage”.

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