E. J. Eyre and sexual politics on the South Australian frontier
The sexual politics of the colonial frontier is one of the least explored and most significant absences in Australia's frontier history. People in nineteenth-century Australia generally acknowledged that much of the violence that occurred on the frontier was a consequence of the abuse of Aboriginal women by European men. Edward John Eyre was known for his defence of Aboriginal rights and trust in governmental protections. From the outset Eyre forges his identity, and the masculine presumptions of that identity, in opposition to the land as a feminine force, and Aborigines as anonymous emanations of that landscape. At the time of Eyre's journey, Gawler was governor of South Australia. In 1839 Governor Gawler issued a directive in the Government Gazette that, at least in regard to 'minor features of the country' every effort should be made to discover and retain Aboriginal place names.