Review: Stephen Gapps, The Sydney Wars: Conflict in the early colony 1788–1817

by Ben Silverstein

View publication

Recent years have seen the publication of a good deal of compellingly sensitive histories of the early years of British invasion and settlement in and around Warrane or Sydney Cove. Historians have been attracted to the possibilities inherent in stories of mutual misunderstanding and grasping negotiation, moving us towards a new national origin story, one that has emphasised entanglement and accommodation on a middle ground that was tragically to be overtaken by conflict as the British expanded, invading the hinterland and engaging in a series of increasingly brutal frontier wars.