In True History of the Kelly Gang, Australian novelist Peter Carey presents a postmodern historical novel looking back at the case of the famous bushranger Ned Kelly and presenting an alternative account of his protagonist’s career and ignominious end, challenging the official version of events as well as the authority of the law. Carey thus gives a voice to a silenced subaltern subject and rewrites Australian colonial history in a way that raises questions not only with regard to the issue of what really happened but also with reference to the accessibility of historical truth.
In his novel The White Earth, Andrew McGahan engages with an important chapter in the history of his country, namely the period of the famous Mabo case of 1992, which overturned the doctrine of terra nullius, and the subsequent Native Title Act of 1993. This novel of initiation with gothic features draws attention to both the woeful history of the dispossession, maltreatment and partial elimination of Australian Aborigines and to the issue of how white Australians cope with this past as well as the guilt, anxieties, and loss of orientation this may create. The novel thus turns into a critical engagement with the legal history of race relations in Australia and probes possible paths for future change.