Shortlist year: 2008

Shortlist category: Non-fiction

Published by: Cambridge University Press

A History of Queensland is the first single volume analysis of Queensland’s past, stretching from the time of earliest human habitation up to the present. It encompasses pre-contact Aboriginal history, the years of convictism, free settlement and subsequent urban and rural growth.

It reveals Queensland as a sprawling, harsh, diverse and conflictual place, where the struggles of race, ethnicity, class, generation and gender have been particularly pronounced, and political and environmental encounters have remained intense. It is a colourful, surprising and at times disturbing saga, a perplexing and diverting mixture of ferocity, endurance and optimism.

About the author

Raymond Evans

Raymond Evans is an Adjunct Professor with the Centre for Public Culture and Ideas, School of Humanities at Griffith University, and Honorary Reader with the Australian Studies Centre and the School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics at the University of Queensland.

Evans has been involved in writing Australian content for Cambridge University Press’ History books on Australian Development to 1901, Popular Culture, World War One and Rights and Freedoms.

Judges’ comments

This is an ambitious but economical history of Queensland, from the ancient past to 2005. It is excellent piece of work—history delivered with a broad and confident brush, and beautifully written. The early colonial history is extraordinarily well-documented and will usefully introduce this era to a wider audience.

The author is persuasive that some of the early colonial brutality in Queensland contributed to the national psyche. The rather prosaic title underplays the liveliness of this outstanding history.