A review essay on Nicholas Hasluck, The Bradshaw Case. Melbourne, ARCADIA/Australian Scholarly Publishing Pty Ltd, 213 pages, ISBN: 978-1-925333-48-0. This essay is also available to download as a pdf or via academia.edu here.
The publication of Hasluck’s The Bradshaw Case is extremely frustrating. It contributes nothing to an understanding of the multidimensional past and present of Kimberley heritage, which continues to fascinate so many people in Australia and beyond. To the contrary, it reiterates viewpoints and convictions that had been put forward and refuted decades ago. As a historical novel, it is largely a failure. The author seemingly had no intention to accurately reflect and comment on the complex history he uses as inspiration for his book. Rather he seems to aspire to be a player himself, by creating an elaborate statement of admiration for Grahame Walsh, his work and convictions. Yet the selective combination of fictitious and factual elements make this book a politically problematic and outdated statement on this subject. This book will only be appreciated by those who prefer a simplistic and sanitised version of Australia’s past, and who refuse to accept the difficult historical challenge of the process of reconciliation with Indigenous Australians.