Australian National University
In recent years aural history has received increasing attention from colonial scholars around the globe. Though much of this interest has manifested itself in the US and Europe, Australian colonial historians have begun to recognise that colonists in Australia placed great importance on both the acoustic, as well as the visual sense as a means of interpreting and evaluating their world. This article seeks to contribute to the growing body of acoustic colonial literature by exploring how early colonists in Australia c. 1778-1792 used sounds, noises and silences during their colonial endeavour. It argues that the aural sense was directly linked to notions of identity, class and race, and that sound and noise formed an integral part of ceremonies of possession, and operated as a powerful means of ordering society and maintaining law.