July 18, 2018

Australian Frontier Conflicts: 1839 letter reveals violence in colonial Melbourne

Australian Frontier Conflicts: The University of Melbourne’s Dr Katherine Ellinghaus, brings to light an 1839 letter that reveals the frontier violence that happened around colonial Melbourne. Read more at: One story related to the treatment of First Peoples during the colonisation of Victoria is that of Tullamareena. He was was a senior Wurundjeri man who resisted British colonisation around Melbourne. On 25 April 1838 he was arrested for stealing sheep from John Gardiner’s property at Hawthorn (now a Melbourne suburb). Tullamareena was imprisoned in the first Melbourne gaol but escaped, burning it down with friends Moonee Moonee and Jin Jin. Later Tullamareena was recaptured and sent by ship for trial in Sydney. When it was confirmed that Tullamareena could not understand English, the trial was halted. He was set free but was 700 kilometres from home. Hopefully Tullamareena made it back to Melbourne, although no colonial records of what happened to him apparently exist. The Melbourne suburb, Tullamarine, the Melbourne airport and the Tullamarine Freeway, are named after him. Read more at:      
July 17, 2018

Conference to rethink Australian colonialism

The University of Melbourne has called for papers by Friday 3 August 2018 for “Colonialism and its Narratives: rethinking the colonial archive in Australia conference” to be held on 10–11 December 2018. Among the many topics listed for potential coverage are: Militant colonialism and frontier violence, Indigenous dispossession and resistance, Colonial racism, its histories and legacies, Settler and Indigenous governance, and Colonialism today. Abstracts for papers are due on Friday 3 August 2018. Confirmed Keynote Speakers include: Professor Tim Bonyhady, Director Centre for Law, Arts and the Humanities, ANU; Associate Professor, Penny Edmonds, UTAS; Bruce Pascoe, author of Convincing Ground: Learning to Fall in Love with Your Country and Dark Emu–Black Seeds: Agriculture or Accident?; and Professor Lynette Russell, Director of the Monash Indigenous Studies Centre, Monash University, Melbourne.  Read more about submitting papers, the list of proposed topics and how to register at:
July 11, 2018

Revamp inspired by Yagan

The City of Albany in Western Australia is proposing to update its Alison Hartman Gardens that includes a statue of Mokare, who did much to inform colonists about the culture and beliefs of the local Noongar people. The revamp has been inspired by Yagan Square in the centre of Western Australia’s capital, Perth.  Read more in Toby Hussey’s story in the Albany Advertiser, 10 July 2018 at:   Left: Robert Hitchcock’s Yagan Statue, Heirisson Island, Swan River, near Perth, Western Australia. Yagan (c. 1795–1833) was a Noongar warrior who played a key role in Aboriginal resistance to colonisation in the Perth area in the 1830s. Yagan died on 11 July 1833, when a trusted non-Aboriginal friend, William Keats, shot and killed him for a government bounty. Keats allegedly needed the money for his fare back to England. Yagan’s body was mutilated, his head removed so the bounty could be claimed. Yagan’s head was sent to England, where it was exhibited as ‘an anthropological curiosity’. It took 177 years for English authorities to return Yagan’s to relatives for a religious burial in July 2010. Yagan Square, named in honour of the famous warrior, was opened in Perth’s city centre on 3 March 2018.  
July 4, 2018

Jandamarra: The outlaw who fought to save his country and people from colonisation

ABC Kimberley’s Emily Jane Smith retells the story of Bunuba warrior, Jandamarra, in her story posted on 4 July 2018 at: Below is an image of the entrance to Tunnel Creek, Western Australia, that was one of Jandamarra’s headquarters in his three-year battle to protect his people and country from colonisation. (Wikimedia Commons image)
June 9, 2018

Australia’s frontier killings still escape official memory

Tomorrow, Sunday 10 June 2018, is the 180th anniversary of the Myall Creek Massacre that happened near Bingara, New South Wales on 10 June 1838. The Australian War Memorial (AWM) still refuses to officially recognise Australia’s colonial frontier conflicts as part of Australia’s participation in various wars, although the AWM says ‘the frontier wars’ should be recognised by other institutions such as museums. Paul Daley of The Guardian recalls the horrific event at Myall Creek in his story, ‘Australia’s frontier war killings conveniently escape official memory’, published on 8 June 2018 at: You can read more about the history of the Myall Creek Massacre and see a program of events related to the 180th anniversary commemoration at: Books Various books have been written about the Myall Creek Massacre. The University of New South Wales has published a new book, Remembering the Myall Creek Massacre, edited by Jane Lydon and Lyndall Ryan, to coincide with the 180th anniversary.   Other publications about the Myall Creek Massacre, like Mark Tedechi’s Murder at Myall Creek: The trial that defined a nation, published by Simon & Schuster in 2016, are included in the Bibliography and Journal Articles pages on this website. Videos Some of the videos produced about the Myall Creek Massacre are: Aboriginal massacre at Bingara (Kamilaroi/Gamilaraay country), freedomandpeacesos, 21 March 2010. You can watch this video at: Australia on Trial (2011)–Massacre at Myall Creek. You can watch this video at: YouTube summary of Australia on Trial: ‘Presented by historian Michael Cathcart, Australia on Trial is a thought-provoking three-part series recreating the historic trials that throw light on the Australia of colonial times. These high-profile and controversial court cases raised major issues of national identity at a time when Australia was evolving from the dominion of the British Empire into a more autonomous federated nation in the late 19th century. Each of the cases caused a sensation at the time and attracted enormous public interest. Each triggered social and political debate about subjects at the very heart of Australian society: democracy and justice, the identity and behaviour of Australia’s men, and attitudes towards women and Indigenous […]