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Blood Revenge - Murder on the Hawkesbury 1799

248 pp, 225 x 150 mm, 75 colour plates, Aug 2014

ISBN 9781925078466, $29.95, Paperback

Lyn Stewart

Available: Now

Blood Revenge examines the first time that white men were held to account in a criminal court of New South Wales for killing Australian Aborigines. It happened in 1799, just 11 years after the New South Wales colony began. This book answers the disturbing question: Why were five men found guilty of killing two Aborigines—yet they were never punished? The story lays bare the nature of black-white relations at the colony’s Hawkesbury River frontier settlement. Governor John Hunter tried to carry out his orders and stop the wanton killing of Aborigines. Inevitably, there was a divide between policy and practice. .

Historians writing about black-white relations say we will never reach true reconciliation until we are prepared to face the truth of our history. Author Lyn Stewart’s own ancestor murdered two Aborigines at the Hawkesbury River settlement over two hundred years ago. ‘My grandfather thought this was something we should not talk about. By delving into this part of my family history I have learned not only why the murders happened but also about the volatile and uncertain relationships between settlers and Aborigines as the colony’s land grants steadily displaced the local people from their traditional lands. It is a history we must understand.’

Now retired as a health professional, Lyn Stewart’s career was in dietetics in a wide variety of employment and self-employment situations. Her first university study was in agricultural science. Researching and writing this story has been a long-term ambition and the reason Lyn was moved to return to university in 1989 to study Australian history.