John Grant: Australia’s First ‘Really’ Radical Poet


The colonisation of Aboriginal land is a moment of at least two clear examples of British imperial barbarity. In their study Dark Side of the Dream (1990), Bob Hodge and Vijay Mishra make the claim that: 'Australia was founded on a double guilt: the dispossession of the Aboriginal people and the excessive punishment of large numbers of British and Irish people, mainly from the poorer classes, for crimes against the property of the ruling class'. (116) I would go one step further and emphasise the brutality of the dispossession and the extent to which the punishment represented the effective enslavement' of many of the working class people transported from Britain and Ireland. With this in mind it is worth drawing a formal link between the largely oral nature of Aboriginal culture and one of the imported cultures at the time of invasion.

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Published 1 May 1994 in Volume 16 No. 3. Subjects: Colonial literature & writers, Convict transportation, Convicts, Social injustice.

Cite as: Syson, Ian. ‘John Grant: Australia’s First ‘Really’ Radical Poet.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 16, no. 3, 1994, doi: 10.20314/als.3575b59673.