Reminiscence of John Batman’s house above the Yarra Falls. A group of Aboriginal people camp at the lower right side near the river. Artist: WFE Liardet, 1875. Watercolour, pen, pencil and ink.
Courtesy State Library of Victoria.
Eliza Batman has remained largely a footnote to her husband, whose dark deeds in the war over land are now well-known. How should we remember her today?
The memorial promotes a powerful national origin story. The story of frontier warfare is also a powerful foundation story that deserves to be told.
The Australian War Memorial’s pledge to recognise the frontier wars is an end to ‘black armband’ rhetoric. It should now investigate the Aboriginal resistance, and see it as a military operation.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese stated students should learn about the atrocities suffered by Indigenous people. However, appropriately teaching history is only one area that needs to be addressed.
In her new SBS documentary, Rachel Perkins travels across vast territory to capture key aspects of a war that lasted more than 100 years.
Josh Gorringe at the Debney Peace site in 2019.
Photo: Tom Griffiths
The Debney Peace, negotiated over a 5-day ceremony on Mithaka Country, is nationally significant to 21st century Australia.
Group of Aboriginal people with shields and spears, by Joseph Lycett, circa 1820.
National Library of Australia
The widespread conflict that accompanied Australian life for 140 years was arguably our most important war. We need a museum telling this story, funded on a par with The Australian War Memorial.
This sketch depicts the Waterloo Creek massacre (also known as the Slaughterhouse Creek massacre), part of the conflict between mounted police and Indigenous Australians in 1838.
Godfrey Charles Mundy/National Library of Australia
Police played a unique role in many settler colonies executing assimilationist policies designed to dismantle First Nations families.
The 1820 Settler Monument in Makhanda, Eastern Cape, commemmorates the arrival of 5,000 British colonial settlers.
Hoberman Collection/Universal Images Group/Getty Images
It is not hard to see the roots of 20th century apartheid policies in the legacy of the British settlers.
A still from Gough’s video Hunting Ground (pastoral).
This major exhibition examines Tasmania’s overlooked history of dispossession and frontier war.
Peta Clancy, Undercurrent 1, from the series Undercurrent, 2018-19, inkjet pigment print, W120 x H85cm each image approx.
Courtesy the artist
There is a long history of cultural silence on the frontier wars that characterised Australia’s colonisation. Peta Clancy’s exhibition invites us to see this history in the Victorian landscape.
Participants in A Tasmanian Requiem, a musical performance addressing Tasmania’s Black War.
A Tasmanian Requiem brings together Western and Aboriginal voices to confront the violence of the state’s Black War. It shows what a historical reckoning, and reconciliation, might look and sound like.
George Hamilton, Meeting natives on the Campaspi plains, Victoria, June 1836.
National Library of Australia
George Hamilton published An Appeal for the Horse in 1866, a defence of animal welfare well ahead of its time. However, his compassion for Aboriginal people was conspicuously lacking.
In a painting such as Warriors of New South Wales, 1813, we can easily imagine a group of men ready to take to the football field.
Australian War Memorial
Between the 1830s and the 1850s, hundreds of Indigenous warriors and dozens of British settlers were killed across south-east Australia. Echoes of that conflict recur in Aussie rules.
A picture of strength: lifelong activist Bonita Mabo OA in front of her portrait as a young woman, which features in her granddaughter Boneta-Marie Mabo’s first solo exhibition.
Josef Ruckli, courtesy of the State Library of Queensland
Boneta-Marie Mabo’s art responds to a colonial past in which Aboriginal women were fetishised as “black velvet”. But it also celebrates strong women, including her activist grandmother Bonita Mabo.
In some parts of Australia, cattle properties have been hand over to the traditional owners, but for others the return of their land seems further away than ever.
The company built by ‘Cattle King’ Sidney Kidman is for sale. He enjoyed good relations with the Indigenous inhabitants, but proper recognition of their rights to their land seems ever more elusive.
Aboriginal gargoyles are the Australian War Memorial’s only overt representation, albeit unintentional, of a violent history of colonisation.
The Australian War Memorial promises to tell ‘our story’ about the nation’s war experience – but it silences many stories about Australia’s nationhood and glosses over Indigenous experience.
The Australian War Memorial recognises wars ranging from Afghanistan right back to pre-Federation conflicts, but not Australia’s first war.
On Anzac Day, Australia remembers its war dead, with one tragic exception. Australia is apparently disinclined to acknowledge the fact or the importance of frontier conflicts. What’s the nexus between…
Nowhere was resistance to white colonisers greater than from Tasmanian Aborigines, but within a generation only a few had survived the Black War.
Robert Dowling/National Gallery of Victoria
Tasmania’s Black War (1824-31) was the most intense frontier conflict in Australia’s history. It was a clash between the most culturally and technologically dissimilar humans to have ever come into contact…