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Hidden in Plain View: The Aboriginal People of Coastal Sydney

NewSouth Books

Hidden in Plain View: The Aboriginal People of Coastal Sydney


Contrary to what you may think, local Aboriginal people did not lose their culture and die out within decades of Governor Phillip’s arrival in Sydney in 1788.

Aboriginal people are prominent in accounts of early colonial Sydney, yet we seem to skip a century as they disappear from the historical record, re-emerging early in the twentieth century. What happened to Sydney’s indigenous people between the devastating impact of white settlement and increased government intervention a century later?

Hidden in Plain View shows that Aboriginal people did not disappear. They may have been ignored in colonial narratives but maintained a strong bond with the coast and its resources and tried to live on their own terms.

This original and important book tells this powerful story through individuals, and brings a poorly understood period of Sydney’s shared history back into view. Its readers will never look at Sydney in the same way.

Paul Irish has breathed new life into people written out of history. – Stan Grant 

This landmark book will open your eyes to the  enduring Aboriginal history of Sydney, a story which was there all along, a story that changes everything. – Grace Karskens 

About the author

Dr Paul Irish is a historian and archaeologist with heritage consultancy MDCA. For over ten years he has been piecing together the Aboriginal history of coastal Sydney with researchers from the La Perouse Aboriginal community, resulting in his 2017 book Hidden In Plain View: The Aboriginal People of Coastal Sydney (NewSouth Publishing) and the 2015 NSW History Fellowship exhibition This Is Where They Travelled: Historical Aboriginal Lives in Sydney

Paul Irish
Published May 2017
240 pages 
234mm x 153mm
ISBN 9781742235110

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