The Paper War

Morality, Print Culture, and Power in Colonial New South Wales

By Anna Johnston

In 1814, the London Missionary Society accepted Rev. Lancelot Threlkeld as one of its missionaries. Threlkeld eventually travelled to Australia to set up the Lake Macquarie mission in colonial New South Wales. Once the mission was established, controversies, arguments, tempers, and acrimonious debates abounded, resulting in a very public 'paper war' - a phrase Threlkeld used to describe the proliferation of writing around him, usually in relation to some local controversy, often of his own creation. This engaging book delves into the diverse and voluminous body of texts produced by and about Rev. Lancelot Threlkeld from 1825-1841. The Paper War analyzes Threlkeld and his mission as a symptomatic case study of colonial discourses concerning the morality of colonization. It reads these textual traces of Australia's past as central to the formation of the modern colonial state, and it looks at key institutions in colonial New South Wales in the 1820s and 1830s, such as the newspapers and the courts. It re-examines the politics, Aboriginal relations, language, law, and the media in colonial New South Wales. The Paper War also identifies an influential network of men who were as crucial to the production and circulation of humanitarian debates as they were to the destruction of Rev. Threlkeld's mission. As a web of colonial intrigue, corruption, slander, whistle blowing, and backstabbing, this book is an eye-opener to colonial Australia.


310 pages

Publication Date: 7/15/2011
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9781921401541