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The Secret River: Context

Aboriginal History

Aboriginal History

These resources will arm you with a better ability to understand and analyse this text. They cover Aboriginal culture and experiences/history since British colonisation.

Barani is an Aboriginal word of the Sydney language. It means ‘yesterday’. ‘Sydney’ as a place name dates from the arrival of the first convicts in 1788. For Aboriginal people who have lived here for at least 40,000 years, that is only yesterday. The word barani (yesterday) reminds us that there has been a continued presence of Aboriginal people in Sydney (Barani, 2013).

NSW History

New South Wales History

The following links will provide you with the necessary background information to better understand the historical context of The Secret River.

At the end of the 18th century, a tiny British penal colony was established on the east coast of a vast southern continent. In their minds this was uncharted land, but the colony they helped to establish displaced the many Aboriginal groups who called it home (Crockett, 2017).