The European maritime explorers who first visited the bays and beaches of Australia brought with them diverse assumptions about the inhabitants of the country, most of them based on sketchy or non-existent knowledge, contemporary theories like the idea of the noble savage, and an automatic belief in the superiority of European civilisation. Mutual misunderstanding was almost universal, whether it resulted in violence or apparently friendly transactions.
Written for a general audience, The First Wave brings together a variety of contributions from thought-provoking writers, including both original research and creative work. Our contributors explore the dynamics of these early encounters, from Indigenous cosmological perspectives and European history of ideas, from representations in art and literature to the role of animals, food and fire in mediating first contact encounters and Indigenous agency in exploration and shipwrecks.
The First Wave includes poetry by Yankunytjatjara Aboriginal poet Ali Cobby Eckermann, fiction by Miles Franklin award-winning Noongar author Kim Scott and Danielle Clode, and an account of the arrival of Christian missionaries in the Torres Strait Islands by Torres Strait political leader George Mye.