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A mystery to the medical world : Florence Nightingale, Rosendo Salvado and the risk of civilisation

Shellam, Tiffany 2012, A mystery to the medical world : Florence Nightingale, Rosendo Salvado and the risk of civilisation, History Australia, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 110-135.

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Title A mystery to the medical world : Florence Nightingale, Rosendo Salvado and the risk of civilisation
Author(s) Shellam, TiffanyORCID iD for Shellam, Tiffany orcid.org/0000-0001-8521-7564
Journal name History Australia
Volume number 9
Issue number 1
Start page 110
End page 135
Total pages 26
Publisher Monash University ePress
Place of publication Melbourne, Vic.
Publication date 2012-04
ISSN 1449-0854
1833-4881
Keyword(s) Aboriginal history
missionaries
nostalgia
social statistics
history - colonialism
Summary In 1860 Florence Nightingale conducted a study on the mortality rates of indigenous children attending native colonial schools across the British Empire. Her study was driven by the question: ‘Can we civilise the natives without killing them?’ One colonial school that participated in the survey was New Norcia Benedictine mission in Western Australia. When Rosendo Salvado, the mission’s superintendent, responded, he drew on his daily encounters with the Yuat people, his statistics on the mission residents and his Benedictine philosophy of civilisation and conversion of colonised peoples. The correspondence between Salvado and Nightingale took place in the climate of intense debates about Aboriginal health, colonisation and extinction in Britain and the colonies. While many settlers and colonial observers understood Aboriginal depopulation to be the result of either the vices and diseases of unprincipled Europeans or an unstoppable destiny, whether Divine Providence or natural selection, Nightingale and Salvado shared a belief in practical solutions to what they understood to be a practical problem. Their collaboration is an example of the humanitarian opposition to the racial pessimism of Social Darwinism. They both sought to use the recently influential intellectual discipline of social statistics to support their conviction that Aborigines, if patiently and carefully handled, would survive the admittedly risky process of civilisation.
Language eng
Field of Research 210301 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History
Socio Economic Objective 970121 Expanding Knowledge in History and Archaeology
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30048910

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Created: Fri, 05 Oct 2012, 14:07:52 EST by Tiffany Shellam

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