- THE DOROTHY HEWETT AWARD
26 Views of the Starburst World: William Dawes at Sydney Cove 1788-91
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.
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.
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.
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.
Praise for 26 Views of the Starburst World:
26 Views of the Starburst World performs the rare feat of conveying, moment by moment, the drama of intellectual discovery, which is, ironically, so difficult for novels.THE AUSTRALIAN
A fractal study of a flawed genius.COURIER MAIL
Gibson’s writing is provocative and poetic … Gibson’s work is exemplary for capturing the complex ways in which different cultures of communication interact. The layers of translation involved go far beyond the compilation of word lists.AUSTRALIAN HISTORICAL STUDIES
Lieutenant William Dawes deserves to be the most renowned member of the First Fleet after Governor Phillip himself.SYDNEY MORNING HERALD