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Synopsis

When Lieutenant William Dawes came to Botany Bay with the First Fleet Marines in January 1788 he delved into the world of a small group of Indigenous people from around Sydney Harbour. Dawes called his collaborators ‘the Eora’. They told him it was their word for ‘people’, and it might have been the first thing they watched him write down. Combining imagination with recorded history, Ross Gibson continues his speculative brilliance in 26 Views of the Starburst World. As he describes and interprets the pages of astronomer William Dawes’ notebooks, Gibson responds to the ambiguities in Dawes’ character and what is missing from his story in a set of twenty-six fragmentary views. Chasing the fascinations that thrilled the Lieutenant during his disorienting time in Eora country, 26 Views of the Starburst World captures the wonder that shone for Dawes and rearranged him at Sydney Cove, amplified and illuminated, engulfed by language, stars and landscape.

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