Australian news, and some related international items

Australian War Memorial should include the war between settlers and Aborigines

Why does the Australian War Memorial ignore the frontier war?  Paul Daley, Thursday 12 September 2013The battle between Aboriginal people and settlers is at the heart of nationhood but absent from war dead commemorations “……With the approaching centenary next August of the outbreak of the first world war, Australia is spending $32m to upgrade the memorial’s first world war galleries – part of meeting its mandate to help Australians “remember, interpret and understand” the country’s war experiences.

It is a broad and generous brief.

This mandate, however, has been narrowly interpreted by successive generations of memorial officials whose Anzac-centric focus continues to stubbornly exclude the fierce battles for sovereignty between Aboriginal Australians and pastoral settlers across the frontier, which are at the dark heart of Australia’s nationhood.

As the 100th anniversary of the start of the first world war nears – and for Australia the far more significant and emotive centenary, on 25 April 2015, of the disastrous Gallipoli landings – there is no indication that the war memorial plans to tell the story of this country’s frontier war.

According to very conservative estimates, at least 20,000 Indigenous Australians died at the hands of Australian-based military regiments, police forces and settlers’ militia from 1788 until the last known “massacre” at Coniston, Northern Territory, in 1928.

Some Aboriginal warriors were killed in heated battles with soldiers and police. Others belonged to communities targeted in reprisal killings – premeditated massacres, the evidence of which was destroyed.

Meanwhile, by some estimates at least 2,000 early soldiers, police and settlers died at the hands of Aboriginal raiders who resisted the pastoral settlement on traditional lands, stole livestock and carried out retaliatory raids, sometimes on the innocent……..

September 13, 2013 - Posted by | aboriginal issues, ACT

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