Victorian Legacies ​ of British Slavery



Zoë Laidlaw 
School of Historical and Philosophical Studies


Ge Tang

School of English and Theatre Studies

Canaan Zengyu Lan
School of Language and Linguistics

Project Description

As part of the ARC Discovery Project, Western Australian Legacies of British Slavery

(WALBS) project, our internship project focuses on the connections between British slavery and Australian colonisation in the context of Victoria, by identifying instances where British Caribbean slave plantation names were re-used in colonial-era Australia.

The tasks involved processing and cross-linking different textual sources and historical records relating to Australia, including (1) the digitised almost century-old book, Pastoral pioneers of Port Phillip, by R. V. Billis and A. S. Kenyon, in plain text format; (2) the LBS excel file containing the Caribbean estate names; (3) the Time-Layered Cultural Map’s searchable gazetteer (a digital version of the Australian National Placenames Survey, with 300,000 Australian placenames).

The pre-processing tasks involved cleaning up the Victorian pastoral estates text file and producing a merged file containing only the matched names after comparing the processed pastoral estates file against the Caribbean estates excel file. The post-processing tasks included removals of duplicates from the merged file and extraction of coordinates of key pastoral estate locations from the Gazetteer table.

The coincidence of West Indian plantation names and Victorian pastoral estates discovered will contribute to the creation of a database of Australian place names connected to Caribbean slave plantations and the mapping of names on Time-Layered Cultural Map, Australia, as next steps in the future project(s).

Want to get involved with the Digital Studio internship program? We welcome applications from research students to undertake the internship, and from academics and external organisations interested in hosting an internship and supervising an intern.

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