To date, two volumes in the series The Fabrication of Aboriginal History have been published: Volume One, Van Diemen’s Land 1803-1847, and Volume Three, The Stolen Generations 1881-2008. The two remaining books in the series, Volume Two on the Colonial Frontier from 1788 onwards, and Volume Four on the History Wars, will be published later, at a date yet to be announced.
While it is a little unusual to publish the third volume in a series before the second volume, it is not all that remarkable. Desperate to find something negative to say about me, the critics of my work have pretended this sequence is something very peculiar. In his article in the February edition of The Monthly, Robert Manne wrote:
Windschuttle must have regarded its publication as urgent. This is quite possibly the first occasion in the history of publishing where Volume Three of a single-authored history has preceded Volume Two.
This comment only goes to show Manne’s unfamiliarity with the publication of Australian works of history. In the 1980s, for instance, Oxford University Press commissioned university-based historians to write five volumes for its series the Oxford History of Australia. The series was originally intended to mark the 1988 Bicentenary of the founding of Australia. Here is the order in which its volumes were actually published:
· First to appear was Volume Four by Stuart Macintyre which appeared in 1986.
· After that came Volume Three by Beverley Kingston in 1988.
· Then came Volume Five by Geoffrey Bolton in 1990.
· It was not until 1992 that Volume Two by Jan Kociumbas was published.
· Twenty years later, Volume One has still not appeared. The earlier volumes all advertised that Volume One on Aboriginal history was to be written by Tim Murray. Although Murray has since written other works on Aborigines, his Volume One of the Oxford History has never seen the light of day.