News

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: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/postcolonial-blog/2018/jun/08/australias-frontier-war-killings-still-conveniently-escape-official-memory 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: https://www.myallcreek.org 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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8WYwcK91fI Australia on Trial (2011)–Massacre at Myall Creek. You can watch this video at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBrFPMrlZms 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 […]
May 30, 2018

Waterloo Bay massacre commemorated 170 years later with memorial

A massacre of Aboriginal people at Waterloo Bay, Elliston, South Australia has been commemorated with a memorial 170 years on. Read more in Nicola Gage’s story dated 19 May 2017 on ABC News online at: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-19/waterloo-bay-massacre-commemorated-170-years-later-with-memorial/8539416
May 1, 2018

Lynching memorial and museum in Alabama draw crowds, tears

A new memorial, the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama, USA, honours 4,400 African Americans slain in lynchings and other racial killings between 1877 and 1950. A related museum–The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration–will open in Montgomery soon. Read Beth J Harpaz’s story about the new memorial and proposed museum in the Denver Post on 29 April 2018 at: https://www.denverpost.com/2018/04/29/lynching-memorial-museum-alabama/ Lynching memorial and museum in Alabama draw crowds, tears  
April 25, 2018

Anzac Day: Freedom means Australia should face up to the truth of its past–Richard Flanagan reflects on the meaning of Anzac Day

If Anzac Day is about Australian servicemen and women fighting in overseas wars to protect our freedom, then Australia needs to face up to the truth of its history and accept what happened in the past before we can move forward towards shared Sovereignty.  The aftermath of this bloodbath is still with us. Judging by the racist remarks (unrepeatable here), that the author of this website heard an attendee utter today during the National Anzac Day Ceremony, we are a very long way from Australians even knowing about, or understanding, what happened on Australia’s killing fields from 1788 up to he 1940s. Speaking at the National Press Club, Canberra, on 18 April 2018, Man Booker Prize Winner Richard Flanagan reflected on Anzac Day, Australia’s First Peoples, what happened in colonial Australia and why Australians need to face up to the truth of our history. Below (in italics) are edited excerpts from Richard Flanagan’s speech that refer to the frontier wars: … We could ask why–if we were actually genuine about remembering patriots who have died for this country–why would we not first spend $100m on a museum honouring the at least 65,000 estimated Indigenous dead who so tragically lost their lives defending their country here in Australia in the frontier wars of the 19th century? Why is there nowhere in Australia telling the stories of the massacres, the dispossession, and the courageous resistance of these patriots? The figure of 65,000, I should add, is one arrived at by two academics at the University of Queensland and applies only to Indigenous deaths in that State. If their methodology is correct, the numbers for the Indigenous fallen nationally must be extraordinarily large. As one prominent commentator noted, “Individually and collectively, it was sacrifice on a stupendous scale. We should be a nation of memory, the commentator went on, not just of memorials, for these are our foundation stories. They should be as important to us as the ride of Paul Revere, or the last stand of King Harold at Hastings, or the incarceration of Nelson Mandela might be to others.” The prominent […]
April 19, 2018

Aboriginal WWI soldier William Punch, a survivor

William Joseph Punch, a soldier who served in World War I, was a survivor of a massacre of Aboriginal people at Lake Cowal, central-western New South Wales in 1880. Read more about his story, repeated in the Crookwell Gazette on 19 April 2018 at: https://www.crookwellgazette.com.au/story/5352212/aboriginal-man-william-punch-survives-massacre-and-enlists-in-great-war/?cs=5767