Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Long delayed realisation of Australia’s brutal history of massacres of Aboriginal people

As the toll of Australia’s frontier brutality keeps climbing, truth telling is long overdue,  The myth of benign, peaceful settlement persists today – even as historians reveal a far more sinister picture

 The Killing Times: the massacres of Aboriginal people Australia must confront
 A massacre map of the frontier wars – interactive

Guardian by Paul Daley, 4 Mar 19 

“…………  The Australian Museum estimates that pre-European invasion in 1788, about 750,000 Indigenous people (representing some 700 language groups) inhabited the continent that would become Australia. This figure may well be an underestimate.

Little over a century later, by federation in 1901, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island population had diminished to some 117,000. Black-white warfare and organised massacres, no matter how you define them, with police, British soldiers, native police, militia and raiding parties as the perpetrators, accounted for many tens of thousands of deaths. Individual acts of violence – including shootings, poisonings, torture and illegal incarceration – killed many more. Battle wounds, starvation (owing to the depletion of traditional hunting grounds) and disease – all of which can also be directly linked to invasion and frontier conflict – killed countless others.

Yet the historiographic confect of benign, peaceful settlement and the unexplained “passing” or “extinction” of the “natives” pervaded well into the 1960s, replete with the deception that very few Aboriginal people died violently during pastoral and urban expansion and dispossession. Things began to change with the emergence of a new, more inquisitive, less empire-centric cohort of historians and writers who, not content with the Anglophile colonial trope of terra nullius and benevolence to the Indigenes, began to commit truth to the page………..

In the 1970s and 1980s a number of historians – among them Henry Reynolds, Marilyn Lake and Richard Broome – began focusing on frontier violence, using the colonial records, newspaper archives and family histories (including generational oral accounts of killings).

Reynolds is acknowledged as the first Australian historian to make a calculated continental estimate of the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who died violently in Australian frontier conflict. In his 1981 book, The Other Side of the Frontier, and after at least a decade’s research Reynolds estimated the figure at about 20,000……….

Reynolds speaks of the significance of Evans and Ørsted-Jensen’s research on the numbers of killings in colonial Queensland.

Based on an extrapolation of native police documentation, they estimated (conservatively) that as many as 60,000 Aboriginal people died in frontier violence in Queensland alone.

The national implications of the figure are profound; the wars that raged across this continent from 1788 did, it seem, claim more Indigenous lives than 62,000 Australian service personnel who died in the first world war………… https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/mar/04/as-the-toll-of-australias-frontier-brutality-keeps-climbing-truth-telling-is-long-overdue

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March 4, 2019 - Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL

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