Terra sine tempore
Colonial constructions of ‘Aboriginal time’
in The colonisation of time
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The original inhabitants of Australia challenged the very limits of nineteenth-century European conceptualisations of humanity on a number of counts. This chapter describes the ways in which colonial constructions of 'Aboriginal time' helped to bolster the fiction of Australia as terra nullius by portraying its inhabitants as a natural, rather than a cultural with temporary attachment to the land. The perception that Europeans had introduced time, calendars and seasons to Australia was forged during the infancy of British settlement. Maureen Perkins notes that the term 'walkabout' entered Australian colonial discourse around 1828, and soon became a common expression for describing the perceived irregularity inherent in Aboriginal life. The introduction of a developed European industry, full-scale pastoralism and sedentary agriculture loudly drummed out a new 'beat', which at times complemented, and at times conflicted with, the older, pre-colonial rhythms of Aboriginal societies.

The colonisation of time

Ritual, routine and resistance in the British Empire


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