The Front Door by Douglas Lockwood

  • $20.00


The Front Door

Darwin, 1869-1969

by Douglas Lockwood

Rigby, 1969, black and white photographic plates, illustrated end-papers (maps), hardcover, dust-jacket

Very Good Condition, a little edge and shelf wear with a little rubbing and bumping to edges and corners, chipping to cloth on top fore-edge, previous owners details marked out in blue on front end-paper; Dust-jacket shows some edge and shelf wear with some rubbing, curling, chips and small tears to edges and corners, creasing to wraps (see photographs)

"Violent action was the keynote of Darwin's early days.  "I shoot on sight.  Have killed thirty-seven to date." was one settler's casual explanation of how he dealt with Aborigines.  Most people went there to make hurried fortune from the savage land.  A very few succeeded, and the remnants either drifted away or stayed on to establish one of Australia's most colourful communities.  It became a roughly romantic world of goldminers, explorers, cattlemen, buffalo hunters, pearlers, seafarers, workers on such great projects as the Overland Telegraph, and public servants of whom it was complained that "They consider their main mission in life is to eat, drink, and be merry".
The leading lawyer welcomed distinguished visitors while dressed in his pyjamas, cyclones whirled away the infant township, and opium was an important source of government revenue.
Racial intolerance was a fact of life; the local newspaper recommended armed resistance to the influx of Chinese labour, while the flogging and chaining of Aborigines was a commonplace.  The turbulent townsfolk resented the attitude of governments which treated Darwin as a liability; only fifty years ago they compelled the removal of an Administrator whom they disliked, and marched to the wharf to make sure that another sailed away.  Gradually, times changed, so much so that a descendant of the once-vilified Chinese has become the Mayor of Darwin and President of the Legislative Council.  Every chapter of the Darwin story has its full content of drama and human interest, spiced with ironic humour and shadowed by such tragedies as shipwrecks, massacres, and the Japanese air raids.  Douglas Lockwood covers every aspect, from the roistering days of the past to the vigorous progress of the present, and the result is a lively addition to this author's list of successful publications."

 


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