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The Australian Wars

Places etched in the memory
ABR Arts 26 September 2022

The Australian Wars

Places etched in the memory
ABR Arts 26 September 2022
Rachel Perkins (photograph by Dylan River)

At a pivotal moment in the new SBS miniseries The Australian Wars, director and presenter Rachel Perkins takes us to a place she says is ‘etched in the memory of my family. A place called Blackfellas Bones.’ Perkins turns to talk directly to camera: ‘You know, we turn away from things that we don’t want to see. We all do it. And I admit that I actually didn’t really want to make this documentary series because I knew that I’d have to spend years going through the horror of it. But … making this film has led me to this place … a place where many members of my family were killed. But my great-grandmother survived to tell the story.’

Comments (3)

  • So well done with an attitude built on accuracy and the absolute necessity for the true history of Australia to be presented as it goes forward as a nation of rank in the world. Wonderful, for all Australians the opportunity to unite.
    Posted by P. Jeffrey McQueen
    07 October 2022
  • In 'The Australian Wars', historian Henry Reynolds and other historians spell out in detail how the colonial governors ignored and actively contravened the British laws of the time to which they were subject and which they were tasked to implement. They discuss how this breach enabled settlers at every level to ignore the law with impunity. The triumphalist version of history edits out these inconvenient facts and glosses over the out-and-out slaughter of men, women and children that was well known and openly discussed at the time. Many generations of Australians were taught this version of history that is so selective that it has the status more of myth than history. All history telling involves interpretation and contested perspectives and we are fortunate in this generation to have a cohort of historians who are actively searching the archival records to expose the censorship of unsavoury details by their historian antecedents. We are also fortunate to have historians who acknowledge how the official histories have systematically excluded both the perspectives and the testimony of Indigenous people and who are working toward a more inclusive and credible understanding of the history of the frontier and its aftermath. Even in war there are laws that attempt to mitigate against outright barbarism and in this case as in others, research trumps rhetoric.
    Posted by Anne Rutherford
    05 October 2022
  • If it is accepted as a war. Who won?
    Wars always have those who disbelieve the result.

    Putting today’s values and assumptions on historic events leaning one way or the other is the modern guerrilla war,

    Average Australians have a disconnected elite to rule us.

    Elite First Nations people are seeking their own disconnected elite to rule them and rub shoulders with the existing elite ensuring generous benefits for elites and not much change for the average Australian whether they are indigenous, immigrant or descendants of the convicts forced to live here.

    Is oral history passed down through the ages as interpretive as the written history being written now?
    History published by biased publishers as fact to fit a narrative is fraught with danger as “Dark Emu” ( now hardly mentioned) showed.

    War is war and to the winner go the spoils.
    Posted by Trevor Rhodes
    01 October 2022

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