‘The ign’rant present’s all’: acts of listening and silencing in early colonial New South Wales by James Bonney
This study excavates divergent approaches to the British colonial project by analysing two artefacts created by British colonial officials living and working in Sydney during the long eighteenth century. Whilst a 1790 language notebook made by William Dawes can be understood as an act of listening, an 1823 poem by Barron Field constitutes an act of silencing. Ultimately, both approaches cannot be reconciled with the inherently perverse dynamics of settler colonialism. Dawes finds the dominant colonial narrative undone by lived reality. Field finds lived reality undone by the dominant colonial narrative.