The Convincing Ground, Portland Bay, Victoria, Australia: An Exploration of the Controversy Surrounding its Onomastic History
Copyright (c) 2014 Maney Publishing
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
This paper presents the results of a case study into the historiography of the Convincing Ground toponym at Portland Bay, Victoria, Australia. This study shows that research by into the usage of the phrase “convincing ground” in nineteenth-century Australia is superficial, and his preference for one explanation of the origin of the Convincing Ground toponym that relates to intra-whaler conflict resolution is superficial and inadequate. This analysis supports the alternative narrative that the toponym has its origin in a dispute between whalers and Aborigines over possession of a beached whale. Furthermore, Connor failed to consider the possibility that the phrase “convincing ground” is polysemous, which means that we should not expect to find a singular homogenous explanation or application in the literature. He also failed to discuss the real possibility that the Convincing Ground may also be a onomastic palimpsest and that both the Aboriginal-whaler dispute narrative and the intra-whaler dispute narrative may be legitimate explanations relevant at particular moments in the place’s history.
- Anderson, R. 2006. “The Convincing Ground: A Case Study in Frontier and Modern Conflict.” Bulletin of the Australasian Institute for Maritime Archaeology 30: 137–147.
- Anonymous 2004. The Convict Ship “Success”: The Last “Floating Hell.” Morristown, NJ, USA: Digital Antiquaria.
- The Argus. October 31 /1855, July 15 1862, December 1 1871, October 16 1880, August 15 1887, January 5 1909.
- Attwood, B. 2005. Telling the Truth about Aboriginal History. Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin.
- Badger, C.R. 1974. “Moorhouse, James (1825–1915).” Australian Dictionary of Biography 5. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 281–283.
- Black, N. Journal September 30 1839 to May 1840, La Trobe Library, State Library of Victoria, Melbourne, 79 pp., typescript copy of original, MS 1159.
- Bride, T. F. (ed.) 1983. Letters from Victorian Pioneers. South Yarra: Currey O’Neil [1st edn 1898, Victorian Government Printer, Melbourne].
- Camperdown Chronicle, January 1 1903.
- Clark, I. D. 1989a. “Squatters’ Journals.” The La Trobe Journal 43: 16–18.
- Clark, I. D. 1989b. “The Killing Fields of the Western Plains: Significant Aboriginal Massacre Sites in Western Victoria,” Unpublished report to the Victorian Tourism Commission, July.
- Clark, I. D. 1989c. “How the West was Won”: Six Significant Massacre Sites in Western Victoria.” Unpublished report to the Victorian Tourism Commission, December.
- Clark, I. D. 1990a. Aboriginal Languages and Clans: An Historical Atlas of Western and Central Victoria 1800–1900. Clayton: Monash Publications in Geography, No. 37.
- Clark, I. D. 1990b. “In Quest of the Tribes: G.A. Robinson’s Unabridged Report of his 1841 Expedition Among Western Victorian Aboriginal Tribes: Kenyon’s ‘Condensation’ Reconsidered.” Memoirs of the Museum of Victoria Anthropology and History 1(1): 97–130.
- Clark, I. D. 1994. “Convincing Ground Massacre.” Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia. Ed. Horton. D. Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press, Vol. 1, 223.
- Clark, I. D. 1995. Scars in the Landscape, a Register of Massacre Sites in Western Victoria, 1803–1859. Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press.
- Clark, I. D. 1998. The Journals of George Augustus Robinson, Chief Protector, Port Aboriginal Protectorate, Vols 1–4 1839–1845. Melbourne: Heritage Matters.
- Clark, I. D. 2000. The Journals of George Augustus Robinson, Chief Protector, Port Aboriginal Protectorate, Vols 1–6 1839–1852. Clarendon: Heritage Matters.
- Clark, I. D. 2001. The Papers of George Augustus Robinson, Chief Protector, Port Phillip Aboriginal Protectorate, Vol. 4 Annual and Occasional Reports 1841–1849. Clarendon: Heritage Matters.
- Clark, I. D. 2011. “The Convincing Ground Aboriginal Massacre at Portland Bay, Victoria: Fact or Fiction?” Aboriginal History 35: 79–109.
- Clark, I. D. and Ryan, E. J. 2005. “The Convincing Ground Massacre Site, Portland Bay: an Ethno-historical Assessment Prepared for Aboriginal Affairs Victoria.” Unpublished Report, School of Business, University of Ballarat.
- Connor, M. 2005a. The Invention of Terra Nullius. Sydney: Macleay Press.
- Connor, M. 2005b. “The Australian Massacre that Wasn’t.” The Australian, March 9 2005.
- Connor, M. 2006. “Submission in Reply Prepared by Dr Michael Connor for Mr Michael Maher.” Unpublished paper.
- Connor, M. 2007. :Convincing Ground: An Invented Massacre.” Quadrant Online, December 1 2007. Available at: <http://www.quadrant.org.au/blogs/history-wars/2007/12/convincing-ground-a-history> [Accessed May 14 2010].
- Connor, M. 2010. “History on Fire.” Quadrant LIV (4): 32–36.
- The Courier [Brisbane], December 17 1862.
- The Courier [Hobart], April 12 1844.
- Critchett, J. F. 1990. A Distant Field of Murder Western District Frontiers 1834–1848. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.
- Dunderdale, G. 1973. The Book of the Bush. Ringwood: Penguin [1st edn 1870. London: Ward, Lock and Co. Ltd].
- England, G. E. No Date. Local Place Names’, Coffs Harbour City Library, Coffs Harbour. Available at : <http://www.coffsharbour.nsw.gov.au/citylibrary/html/620-local-place-names.asp> [Accessed May 14 2010].
- Evans, R. 2007. A History of Queensland. Port Melbourne: Cambridge University Press.
- Garryowen (E. Finn) 1888, The Chronicles of Early Melbourne 1835 to 1852. Historical, Anecdotal and Personal … 3 vols. Melbourne: Fergusson & Mitchell.
- Hobarton Mercury, July 12 1854.
- Hodges, F. 2007. “Language Planning and Placenaming in Australia.” Current Issues in Language Planning 8(3): 383–403.
- Lloyd, G. T. 1862, Thirty Three Years in Tasmania and Victoria. London: Houlston and Wright.
- The Mercury, October 8 1861.
- Meyrick, H. H. Letters 1840–47, La Trobe Library, State Library of Victoria, Melbourne, H 15789–15816.
- Moorhouse, J. 1888. “Victoria.” The Journal of the Manchester Geographical Society iv: 38–57, map [published in June 1889].
- Partridge E. and Beale, P. 2002. A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English. 8th edn. London: Routledge.
- Portland Guardian Saturday 13 July 1844 “Aborigines.”
- Rickards, E. C. 1920. Bishop Moorhouse of Melbourne and Manchester. London: John Murray.
- Serle, P. 1949. “James Moorhouse (1826–1915).” Dictionary of Australian Biography. Sydney: Angus and Robertson.
- Sturrock, M. 2005. Bishop of Magnetic Power: James Moorhouse in Melbourne, 1876–1886. Melbourne: Australian Scholarly Publishing.
- Sydney Morning Herald, May 17 1849, July 16 1851, October 2 1862, December 21 1865.
- Walsh, K. and Hooton, J. 1998. Australian Autobiographical Narratives. An Annotated Bibliography Vol. 2: 1850–1900. Canberra: Australian Scholarly Editions Centre, School of English, University of New South Wales, Australian Defence Force Academy, and the National Library of Australia.
- Ward, L. E. 1928. Early Wellington. Wellington: Whitcombe and Tombs Ltd.
- Wheelwright, H. W. 1861. Bush Wanderings of a Naturalist; or, Notes on the Field Sports and Fauna of Australia Felix by an Old Bushman. New York: Routledge, Warne, & Routledge.
- Wiltshire, J. G. 1976. A People’s History of Portland and District — Section Two — William Dutton and the Sealing and Whaling Industries. Portland: E. Davis & Sons.