Philip Harvey

Malcolm Turnbull’s review of 1835 (‘Beneath the Boulevards’, July) is full of the oldest clichés and howlers about early Melbourne. It is false, for example, to state that there were no convicts at Port Phillip. The concept that the ‘bargaining’ of Batman at Merri Creek in June 1835 constitutes a serious legal treaty is a nonsense; it is open to complete doubt whether the Kulin people in attendance at that encounter had any idea of what Batman and his friends were doing. Turnbull says nothing about the trinket practices of the colonisers at that time, which they thought of as a civilised step up from simply taking over: it was part of a new ideology of friendly encounter with foreign peoples. The idea that the Kulin reached some “genuine understanding” with their oppressors is offensive.

Philip Harvey

Macleod, VIC