Australia’s borders were a gift of nature. We did not have to fight for them. In our case, history and geography coincided, and we soon hit upon the idea that the single continent must one day be a single nation. What this means is that all our wars of conquest, all our forms of conflict, have been internal. Conquest of space to begin with, in a series of daring explorations of the land. This was a form of possession through naming and mapping, by taking the continent’s spaces into our heads, and at last into our imaginations and consciousness. We also set out to seize the land from its traditional owners through armed conquest, in a war more extensive than we wanted to recognise.
— David Malouf, in the Boyer Lectures, “Lecture 1: The Island”