Borders, boundaries and possession in the Timor Sea
by Ruth Balint
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Troubled Waters tells the story of Australia's northern waters and their dramatic transformation in the twentieth century from a backwater to the most militarised and fiercely guarded region in Australia. Once a bridge between two coastlines and two cultures, the Timor Sea has become, in the last years of the twentieth century, the nation's frontline against the threat of invasion.
When Australia expanded its territorial boundaries by 200 nautical miles in 1979, Australia reached the doorstep of eastern Indonesia. The occupation of the sea was driven by the myth of mare nullius, the idea that the sea was empty and that no-one would suffer the loss of them. But for the traditional fishermen of West Timor, these waters are their sea garden. Ruth Balint tells this powerful story of a people evicted from their seas and their struggle for survival.
'... a social, political and cultural history with a particularly strong chapter on people smuggling and the Tampa . . . absorbing and compelling.' Andrew Riemer
'Very impressive. Lucid and timely, the ambiguities, resonances and ways of seeing it explored are genuinely fascinating.' James Bradley
- Allen & Unwin, June 2005
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