REVIEW by Professor Alan Powell, Emeritus Professor of History, Charles Darwin University
Early in the nineteenth century the British tried to plant outposts on the Northern Territory coast. This proved to be the last burst of Imperial expansionism in Australia, designed to ensure that the whole of this great continent belonged to Britain alone and in hopes of generating trade from Asia. Now Derek Pugh’s book completes the story of Fort Dundas, first and most significant of the outposts, for it set the pattern or all three (outposts). Here the soldiers, marines and convicts of the garrison struggled to survive against the hostility of the land, the climate, the native Tiwi people, and an isolation beyond our modern imagination. In clear and popular style, Derek Pugh tells the epic story of this gallant and ultimately misguided attempt to plant the first settlement on the wild coast of the future Northern Territory. It is truly an essential part of Territory and Australian history, which should be known to all.