Populating the Nation: towards a genealogy of colonial Australian character types

S. T. Gill. 'Diggers on way to Camp to deposit Gold' 1852
S. T. Gill. 'Diggers on way to
Camp to deposit Gold' 1852

Professor Ken Gelder and Dr Rachael Weaver

This ARC funded Discovery Project (2014-2016) investigated the vast array of social typologies - character types - mobilised by colonial writers in Australia from the mid-1800s to the beginning of the First World War. Rural Australia saw a plethora of character types introduced into the landscape (the rouseabout, the selector, the bush parson, etc), but the cities also saw a proliferation of typologies that turned metropolitan Australia into a fluid and complex social space. This project examined colonial typologies across print and visual culture as a matter of national investment, conceived in terms of their capacity to contribute to a rapidly-growing and increasingly modern colonial economy.


About Professor Ken Gelder

Ken Gelder is Professor of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Melbourne. He is also a co-director (with Denise Varney) of the Australian Centre in the Faculty of Arts. His latest books include New Directions in Popular Fiction (Palgrave, 2016) and Adapting Bestsellers: Fantasy, Franchise and the Afterlife of Storyworlds which was published by Cambridge University Press in January 2020.

Ken is co-editor (with Rachael Weaver) of four anthologies of colonial popular fiction, covering the Gothic, crime fiction, romance and adventure (all published by MUP) as well as The Colonial Journals, and the emergence of Australian literary culture (University of Western Australia Publishing, 2014). His most recent book with Rachael Weaver is Colonial Australian Fiction: Character Types, Social Formations and the Colonial Economy (Sydney University Press, 2017). Their co-authored book The Colonial Kangaroo Hunt will be published by Melbourne University Publishing in March 2020.

Ken Gelder academic profile

About Dr Rachael Weaver

Rachael Weaver is ARC Senior Research Fellow in English and Theatre Studies at the Australian Centre in the Faculty of Arts. Rachael is co-editor (with Ken Gelder) of four anthologies of colonial popular fiction, covering the Gothic, crime fiction, romance and adventure (all published by MUP) as well as The Colonial Journals, and the emergence of Australian literary culture (University of Western Australia Publishing, 2014). Her most recent book with Ken Gelder is Colonial Australian Fiction: Character Types, Social Formations and the Colonial Economy (Sydney University Press, 2017). Their co-authored book The Colonial Kangaroo Hunt will be published by Melbourne University Publishing in March 2020.

Rachael Weaver academic profile