Line Of Blood - Craig Horne

Line Of Blood - Craig Horne

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'In reading the book, parts of Howitt's character made my skin crawl, but the uncovering of his life was revelatory ... I believe the publication of Line of Blood will be at a very pertinent time' -Bruce Pascoe

Line of Blood- The Truth of Alfred Howitt tells the full story of Australia's so-called 'ablest anthropologist'; the botanist, geologist, senior public servant and explorer Alfred Howitt-and ancestor of the author, Craig Horne.

Howitt first made his name in Australia as a bushman and explorer-Mt Howitt and Howitt Plain in the Victorian Alps are named in his honour. Most famously, he led the salvage mission that retrieved the remains of Burke and Wills at Coopers Creek and returned the expedition's sole survivor, John King, to Melbourne.

Throughout his exploratory expeditionary career, Howitt encountered First Nations peoples, evoking in him mixed feelings of contempt and curiosity. To him, they were 'savages', or 'blacks'-classified as 'treacherous and troublesome components of the landscape'.

That Howitt was an extraordinarily capable polymath is not challenged. What this book challenges are the contributions of Howitt's anthropological conclusions, coupled with his social and political influences, in legitimising the murderous advance of white settlement upon the Australia landscape. For Howitt, the 'line of blood' that followed white settlement was nothing more than the iron law of replacement, whereby an 'inferior race' is inevitably usurped by a 'superior civilisation'.

Howitt perpetrated a policy of determined paternalistic neglect that facilitated the mechanical dismissal of First Nations Peoples-a policy that bleeds into Australian law, society and culture even today.