"On the Edge of Empire" examines how a loosely connected group of reformers worked to transform an environment that lent itself to two social phenomena: white male homosocial culture and conjugal relationships between First Nations women and settler men. The reformers worked to replace British Columbia's homosocial culture with the practices of respectable, middle-class European masculinity. Others encouraged mixed-race couples to conform to European standards of marriage and discouraged white-Aboriginal unions through moral suasion or the more radical tactic of racially-segregated space. Another reform impetus laboured through immigration and land policy to both build and shape the settler population.
A more successful reform effort involved four assisted female immigration efforts, yet the experience of white women in British Columbia only made more pronounced the gap between colonial discourse and colonial experience. In its failure to live up to British expectations, remaining a racially plural resource colony with a unique culture, British Columbia revealed much about the politics of gender, race and the making of colonial society on this edge of empire.
Winner of the Clio Award, British Columbia Region, presented by the Canadian Historical Association, and co-winner of the Pacific Coast Branch Book Award, presented by the American Historical Association.
In this hilarious history, David Hunt reveals the truth of Australia's past, from megafauna to Macquarie - the cock-ups and curiosities, the forgotten eccentrics and Eureka moments that have made us who we are.
Girt introduces forgotten heroes like Mary McLoghlin, transported for the crime of "felony of sock," and Trim the cat, who beat a French monkey to become the first animal to circumnavigate Australia.
It recounts the misfortunes of the escaped Irish convicts who set out to walk from Sydney to China, guided only by a hand-drawn paper compass, and explains the role of the coconut in Australia's only military coup.
Our nation's beginnings are steeped in the strange, the ridiculous and the frankly bizarre. Girt proudly reclaims these stories for all of us.
Not to read it would be un-Australian
"A sneaky, sometimes shocking peek under the dirty rug of Australian history." - John Birmingham
"Hilarious and insightful -- Hunt has found the deep wells of humour in Australia's history." - Chris Taylor, The Chaser