"From Holy War to Border Skirmish: The Colonial Chivalry of Sydney's First Professors"
Launcelot gallops through bush land, while the dead Elaine floats inland from the harbor up the Parramatta River...the Reverend John Woolley’s image of latter-day Arthurians populating the dusty carriageways of colonial Sydney arrests us with both its pathos and its almost comic incongruity. Conjured in the high summer of 1860 for the edification of the Darling Point Mutual Improvement Association, this romanticized picture of Sydney’s “unpoetical streets,” along with other medievalist images offered by Woolley, warrants attention on several counts. To begin with, it offers a remarkable example of the adaptation of Victorian popular medievalism to early Australia—an adaptation which, as I wish to argue, was not only mediated by the colonizing process, but in fact became crucial to the way in which this process was represented in Sydney’s intellectual circles in the nineteenth century.
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