Australia’s Black History

The change the date debate has been across multiple threads, as was constitutional recognition, as is Uluru statement, Indigenous youth suicide. So I thought we should maybe contain it to one thread.

This appeared in the Guardian this morning, an in-depth investigation into the killing of aboriginal people, it’s a must read for anyone who wants to know more about how a significant part this country was built.

The blacks are very quiet here now, poor wretches. No wild beast of the forest was ever hunted down with such unsparing perseverance as they are. Men, women and children are shot whenever they can be met with … I have protested against it at every station I have been in Gippsland, in the strongest language, but these things are kept very secret as the penalty would certainly be hanging


When you consider that this period was immediately followed by the stolen generation that was occurng right up until 1970 it’s disingenuous to suggest that our country as we know it doesn’t have a history of racism and genocide.


We have to get this taught at school. I’ve only learnt about it, as I have got older and done my own research. It’s horrifying that I knew all the kings and queens of England but didn’t get taught this stuff.


Agree, it’s not like they don’t teach Native American history in the US

Agree with posters above, we should/must have these issues taught in schools, I still wonder why I suffered through american history in school over 40 years ago.
I participated in 2 programs (one in Vic, one in NSW) on understanding of aboriginal culture a few years ago. It was enlightening to have things about our country taught by our original residents. (The programs were run by Commonwealth dept of Employment, education and training for staff in the late 80’s early 90’s).

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Very good article. Thanks for posting.

Waiting for Bolt to write a piece decrying all of this as a myth.


What age is it appropriate to learn about genocide? I’d say primary school is ruled out straight off the bat.

From memory I didn’t study any social studies past year 9. So that only leaves a few years to do it. Admittedly I learnt about the holocuast in those years.

School is seen as a bit of a panacea, sure include it, but it’s the acceptance in the wider community and media and the arts that will drive meaningful conversation. A good movie would help.

I think the cirrocumulum is changing somewhat to reflect a more accurate version of colonisation than previously taught. My two (primary and early high) are aware that the ‘changeover’ wasn’t as harmonious as we were led to believe.

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It’s worth teaching First Australian history as a strength as well as The colonisation period.

Things like song lines, second oldest human habitats, aquaculture, trading, astronomy, Fire stick burning etc.

Let’s celebrate that our history includes the longest surviving history.

I heard a black American once say that privilege is having your history taught as a core subject and black history as an elective.


Agree. We need to celebrate it and become proud of it.

As @The_Firing_Line said in another thread, New Zealand do such a better job of celebrating their Maori culture than we do our Indigenous


Australia wasnt Australia until 1901 and federation.

Technically the first “Australian” would need to have been born or at the very least been alive(and adopted citizenship by default) after that time.

Between 1788 and 1901 the land was divided up into a séries of colonies.

Prior to that it was hundreds of nations.

Acknowledge the history of the land mass and its inhabitants. But in my opinion it is both disingenuous and disrespectful to those who lived prior to federation and ignore the fact that it hasnt always been ‘Australia’.


Such a relief we don’t need to acknowledge genocide because federation.

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Or the Celts at the hands of the Anglos?

History is very ■■■■■■. But that’s not what I am suggesting.

Recognition of the vanquished first nations by the invading British and then the formation of the nation of Australia from penal colonies is told in history.

More probably needs to be taught about first nations. Id like to see perhaps the changing of local government councils names to first nations as a tip of the hat to them. (where feasible).

But I think it should be made pretty clear. The English initially invaded, vanquished the first nations, committed cultural genocide through the stolen generations and killed indigenous when they showed resistance.

There is enough to suggest a genocide in that as part of the frontier wars policy was to kill blacks on sight as opposed to capture them.

I am not that particularly well read and didnt do much history at school and learnt this growing up.

No idea what the typical experience is for an average aussie.

“Australians all let us rejoice,
for we are young and free…”

We can’t celebrate being Australian until we start to celebrate and tell the truth about all Australians, especially the first, who were the first ocean going people, and thus the most advanced in the world, to get here 40K+ years ago.



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I went to a Jewish school and they hit us with the Holocaust at a fairly young age… I reckon around Grade 4… but then again, most of us had already been introduced to it through our grandparent’s stories and experiences…

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You might want to go back and read the link from the first post, and some of the other articles written as part of the same investigation.

Deliberate massacres were happening well into the 1920s. This isn’t something that modern Australia gets to handwave off as something the English did back in the dim mists of history. If we get to proudly claim Gallipoli in 1915 as an Australian historical event, then we can’t wash our hands of the Coniston massacre, for instance, which happened in 1928.

I don’t think anyone who got a ‘standard’ Australian education can particularly be blamed for not knowing the real details about what was done to the indigenous people by colonists. A lot of this has only been acknowledged even in mainstream academic history for about 15-20 years (anyone else remember Johnny Howard and his temper tanty about the ‘black armband view of history’?) And school-level history education tends to lag behind academic history by quite some distance. There’s been a deliberate cultural unwillingness to think too hard about this for a long time, and it’s only started to be cracked open in the last 10 years or so, as far as I’ve been able to tell.


At what age do kids get taught about other violent conflicts? If they’re old enough to learn about Anzacs then they’re old enough for this IMO. My kid is yr 2 and has been curious about Indigenous Australia for at least a year, so we do try to explain colonialism and related events in ways that he can understand. His school has offered very little thus far.
Oh, and he loves Warumpi Band!

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