Reconciling Replicas: The Second Coming of the Duyfken

Simone Bignall
Mark Galliford


Until recently, history as written by the ‘victors’ has been nothing more than repeated efforts to capture a certain slant of truth in order to (re)territorialise the position of ‘white’ dominance in this country. The re-enactment of historical events can be instrumental in the re-presentation of this privileged history. The re-enacted landing of the replica ship Duyfken in August 2000 was marked by an important shift in attitude for at least one of the leading protagonists in the event. In this respect, this particular re-enactment has offered some interesting ways of viewing history/ies in a postcolonial context and for appraising the concept of reconciliation. This essay considers three aspects of the re-enactment: the introduction of a historical discontinuity in Australian ‘race’ relations through the cultivation of a certain type of cultural intimacy during the journey; the (hi)story behind the re-enactment and some reflections on historiography; and, subsequently, an analysis of how the event of the landing could imply an expanded expression of reconciliation, potentially freeing it from its current constraints.


White dominance; Australia; Duyfken; re-enactment; colonisation; Indigenous

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