Recent publication: Deborah Lee-Talbot (2020) ‘Why Do Not the Britaniata Come to Us?’ Locating Papuan Settlement Discourses Within 19th-Century Annexation Sketch Maps, The Journal of Pacific History, DOI: 10.1080/00223344.2020.1829966
During the 19th century, The Argus was a popular broadsheet newspaper for Victorians situated in the southern colony of the Australian mainland. As the Colonial Office and the Queensland colony debated the practicalities of annexing the southeastern region of Papua in 1883, the editors of The Argus seized on the Victorian colonists’ interests in the region and funded an expedition to demonstrate New Guinea's value to its audience. As the expeditionary team travelled from Port Moresby to the Astrolabe Ranges they produced a series of articles and sketch maps. The following article examines these sketch maps as multi-layered artefacts of material culture, created as the British colonies’ interest in New Guinea intersected with Indigenous curiosity about settlers’ intentions. My analysis of these maps illuminates how ambitious colonial emissaries performed settlement discourses to support the annexation of the southeastern portion of New Guinea. Simultaneously, the Indigenous intermediaries performed settlement discourses to establish trade and judicial relationships with Britannita. I contend that these sketch maps are material manifestations of encounters where political imaginings, social negotiations, and cultural knowledge were communicated.
Deborah Lee-Talbot, firstname.lastname@example.org