Amnesia in Australia’

In response to:

Amnesia in Australia from the November 16, 2006 issue

To the Editors:

I’m grateful to several correspondents who have raised questions about my review of books on Australia [NYR, November 16, 2006]. It was western Australia, not southern Australia, that received convicts from Britain: southern Australians opposed convict settlements. The Ned Kelly gang was active in the 1870s, not during the earlier period of the Gold Rushes. The “infamous white Australia policy” was changed by the Liberal prime minister Harold Holt in 1967, but as I indicated in my piece, its racial criteria were not fully abolished until the reforms enacted by the Labor government after 1972. Finally, of course residents of Australia expected that January would have been a hot month; my point was that new arrivals from Europe would have been astonished by such a climate in midwinter.

Caroline Moorehead