How our records speak

by
November 1997, no. 196

Never Trust a Government Man: Northern Territory Aboriginal policy 1911–1939 by Tony Austin

NTU Press $19.95, 336 pp

Book Cover 2 Small

The Way We Civilise: Aboriginal affairs – the untold story

by Rosalind Kidd

UQP, $19.95, 389 pp

How our records speak

by
November 1997, no. 196

Tony Austin and Rosalind Kidd are non­indigenous Australian scholars whose special contribution to the history of black-white relations in this country is to have researched the policy detail, culture, and interpersonal intricacies of the white bureaucracy that dealt with Aboriginal affairs in a large part of northern Australia. As each of them documents over and over again, the white males who exercised government power over indigenous Australians went to great lengths to avoid consulting those they governed or to include them in the decision-making process. The present books therefore do not claim to represent an Aboriginal point of view; their object of study is white policy and malpractice. Never Trust a Government Man and The Way We Civilise are each the outcome of archival research using government departmental documents, beginning at roughly the same period – from the time early this century – that a newly created Australian Federal Government first began to face its responsibilities towards indigenous people.

David English reviews 'Never Trust a Government Man: Northern Territory Aboriginal Policy' by Tony Austin and 'The Way We Civilise: Aboriginal Affairs' by Rosalind Kidd

Never Trust a Government Man: Northern Territory Aboriginal policy 1911–1939

by Tony Austin

NTU Press $19.95, 336 pp

Book Cover 2 Small

The Way We Civilise: Aboriginal affairs – the untold story

by Rosalind Kidd

UQP, $19.95, 389 pp

Buy this book

From the New Issue

Leave a comment

If you are an ABR subscriber, you will need to sign in to post a comment.

If you have forgotten your sign in details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to ABR Comments. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.