Monumental Disruptions: Aboriginal people and colonial commemorations in so-called Australia
Aboriginal Studies Press, $39.99 pb, 347 pp
Monumental Disruptions could not be more timely. Bronwyn Carlson and Terri Farrelly present settlers – whom historian Patrick Wolfe denoted ‘colonisers who never left’ – with a handbook on the failings of mythologised colonial history and the negative ramifications of this mythical history to this day. They argue that this history-telling is structurally intrinsic to many ideologies held by settlers since their fraught but recent history on this continent began. Over the course of ten comprehensive chapters Carlson and Farrelly describe the history behind colonial monuments and their relevance to a modern Australia.
‘In a sophisticated liberal democracy like the colonial settler state of Australia, the least we might hope for is an authentic interrogation of our uncomfortable shared history,’ write Carlson and Farrelly. Right from the first page, this book doesn’t pull any punches. Establishing that honesty is a far cry from what Indigenous Australians expect when it comes to discussion surrounding our shared history since invasion. What Indigenous Australians expect is the cataloguing of statues that represent colonisers supposed feats, celebratory events that personify the values of the genocide that so-called Australia was founded upon, and current-day mainstream media and governmental voices that uphold anachronistic beliefs embedded in white fragility. Carlson lays out the racist trappings that are foundational to the design of many white institutional systems flourishing at the expense of Indigenous Australians.