Aboriginality in Ethel Turner’s Seven Little Australians and Its Translation into German


The means by which a Western culture describes an Indigenous ‘other’ can reveal a great deal about the way in which the ‘other’ is understood or imagined. In the very early years after settlement, Australia was represented through a distinctly European lens; illustrators not only drew European-looking landscapes, but also commonly depicted Aboriginal people ‘more like South Sea Islanders or black Americans than Aboriginals’ (Saxby, Offered 18). The first children’s book to portray Australian life was A Mother’s Offering to Her Children by a Lady Long Resident in New South Wales, published in 1841. Yet long before this, tales of Australia’s discovery written especially for children were circulating in England, France and Germany (Saxby, Offered 48). In Germany, such books were regarded as important educational tools (Saxby, Offered 50).

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Published 1 November 2015 in Volume 30 No. 4. Subjects: Aboriginal Australians - Literary portrayal, Children's literature.

Cite as: Gerber, Leah. ‘Aboriginality in Ethel Turner’s Seven Little Australians and Its Translation into German.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 30, no. 4, 2015, doi: 10.20314/als.ef4df296f7.