Publication Details

Rando, G, Raffaello Carboni's perception of Australia and Australian identity, Journal of Australian Colonial History, 2006.


Carboni’s role both as participant in and chronicler of the Ballaarat uprising had historically been the subject of some controversial debate. Although the controversy regarding the veracity of Carboni’s account has long been settled, controversy regarding his competence as a writer is still relatively recent. Geoffrey Serle in the introduction to his edition of The Eureka Stockade claims that the book is unusual and unsusceptible to most canons of criticism although he also admits that Carboni does rise here and there to great narrative heights. Serle and others who have commented on Carboni’s work have however tended to relegate it to a mere chronicle without considering that The Eureka Stockade does in parts also present broader perspectives on Australia and Australian society, themes that Carboni was later to pursue in his subsequent Italian works displaying an Australian content (such as Gilburnia, Schiantapalmi and La Santola) that highlight aspects of Australia’s social and political makeup. This paper proposes to examine the perceptions of Australia presented in both The Eureka Stockadeand Carboni’s Italian works with a view to determining their author’s perception of an emerging Australian identity and the way this is projected for an Italian audience. Although Carboni left Australia after the Eureka uprising, he was never to forget his Australian experience which led him to compare the Eureka episode with some of the events of the Italian Risorgimento.

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