After many years of demands for the recognition of Australia’s frontier conflicts, the Australian War Memorial (AWM) has acquiesced. Rachel Perkins’s three-part documentary, The Australian Wars, currently airing on SBS/NITV, has helped tip the balance. The series explores some of the main incidents that occurred during the period of violence on Australia’s colonial frontier. Here is link to the series: https://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/tv-series/the-australian-wars?cid=infocus
In answer to a journalist’s question during a Press Conference on 29 September 2022, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister for Defence Personnel, Matt Keogh MP, spoke about the proposed expansion of information on frontier conflicts at the AWM:
“JOURNALIST: Can I just ask on a related issue – there’s been a lot of criticism of the Memorial for not recognising the Frontier Wars. That would require a change to the act. Does your government have any desire to pursue such reform?
MATT KEOGH: So I think it’s important to recognise that the Memorial already has some recognition of frontier conflict. And I’m aware that as part of the expansion program that the council is looking at how it can have some greater reflection upon that. I think that the recognition and reflection on frontier conflict is something that is a responsibility for all of our cultural institutions, not just here in Canberra but across the country. It’s important that we do raise awareness for people about – across the country – about the importance of frontier conflict and the impact that that had on our First Nations people and to properly reflect upon and understand our history, and that there is already some elements of that here in the War Memorial and that will be expanded upon as part of the overall expansion project.”
(A transcript of the whole Press Conference can be found here: https://minister.dva.gov.au/news-and-media/minister/press-conference-australian-war-memorial)
Rachel Perkins has welcomed the AWM’s change of heart: Read more in Dan Butler’s article posted on NITV News on 30 September 2022: https://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/article/rachel-perkins-welcomes-war-memorials-expansion-of-frontier-conflicts-exhibits/nza1bhq8m
Wreath, Stone of Remembrance, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT, Australia, 25 April 2018. Frontier Wars Marchers were only allowed to lay floral tributes after the Anzac Day ceremony was finished. Only First Nations veterans were allowed to take part in Anzac Day commemorations of Australians who gave their lives in conflicts fought beyond Australian shores. Photo: Jane Morrison
|The Australian Frontier Conflicts website has recorded some of the many demands over many years for the AWM to recognise the frontier wars. You can read more about the efforts of First Nations and supporters on this Posts page and pages like: Australian Frontier Wars Marches, Films, Podcasts, and Videos.
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