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After first providing a brief summary of the history of the civilising mission in South Australia, including, briefly, the historical impetus for its implementation, I will discuss the shared beliefs of Grey and the German missionaries regarding the nature of human progress and human difference.
As James Belich writes of the civilising mission in New Zealand, '[t]o people who could conceive of no higher state than Britishness, making it available to 'natives' seemed an act of enlightened generosity'.
Colonised at a time when the civilising mission served to justify colonisation, South Australia was established amid the rhetoric of the benefits it would bring to the original owners of the land.
Although this school was established as part of the administration's civilising programme, the missionaries were free to provide schooling in accordance with their own ideas regarding the most effective means of 'civilising' Indigenous people.
As apt and intelligent': Shared beliefs underpinning the civilising mission
As men who believed in the importance and feasibility of the civilising mission, Grey and the missionaries shared important beliefs and assumptions about Aborigines and their ability to be 'civilised'.
Michael Mann has recently identified among the proponents of the civilising mission 'a secular group of civilising missionaries', (24) and Grey fell into this category.