In 1819, Barron Field made two historically decisive statements in the colony of NSW. The first of these was the enunciation of a legal judgement that would only much later receive the name of terra nullius; the second was the publication of the first book of poetry in Australia, accordingly entitled First Fruits of Australian Poetry. This talk will discuss the circumstances and reasonings that led to these statements being made, as well as the surprising links between them.
Justin Clemens is an Associate Professor at the University of Melbourne. Thomas H. Ford is a Senior Lecturer at La Trobe University. They have just completed a book about Barron Field, terra nullius, and Australian poetry, due out (hopefully) later this year with Melbourne University Press.