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The Forum > Article Comments > Itís time to commemorate the Frontier Wars > Comments

Itís time to commemorate the Frontier Wars : Comments

By Paul Newbury, published 30/1/2014

Flannery said that in any other war, Australia's Aborigines 'would have been awarded the Victoria Cross' but the Australian War Memorial in Canberra does not even acknowledge them.

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Just to give some numbers to the broad statements in this article, in South Australia, a total of nineteen Aboriginal people were executed, all for the murder of white people, at the rate of about one per year. The last execution of an Aboriginal person occurred in eighteen sixty two. The last execution of a white man in SA occurred in nineteen sixty four.

A disproportionate number of Aboriginal men, twenty seven in all, had their death sentences commuted, and seemed to spend, on average, eighteen months to two years in prison. The great majority of these cases involved the killing of an Aboriginal person, about half of them women, by another Aboriginal person.

That throwaway line,

"Eventually, the British gathered the disoriented leftovers of colonial conquest on reserves and they entered the twentieth century out of sight and out of mind."

has no basis in South Australia. The one-man 'Aborigines Department', the Protector, did not 'herd Aboriginal people onto Missions' - his main function was to provide stores for up to eighty ration-points across the state, well into the twentieth century. In fact, quite a few missions closed up - Poonindie, Killalpaninna, Manunka, Finniss Springs.

In order to encourage people to 'stay in their own districts', the Protector issued 15-ft boats on almost all waterways - including the Cooper's Creek - and fishing gear. It has always been legal in SA for Aboriginal people to have guns - in fact, from about the 1880s, the Protector used to provide these free to non-working Aboriginal people, usually elderly, and had their guns repaired for free as well.

It has always been legal - even now - for Aboriginal people to go onto pastoral leases (and Crown land) to use the land as they had always done traditionally.

I know it's fun to seize on every rumour, especially rumours that can't be tested, but sometimes a bit of truth doesn't go astray.

Joe
www.firstsources.info
Posted by Loudmouth, Thursday, 30 January 2014 8:09:47 AM
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If Aboriginal people want to commemorate these events then it's their business and they don't need the support of the government, what I see though are White people organising commemorations on their behalf and worse, like Joe Toscano grandstanding to promote their own platform.
Hey, I've an idea, why don't we also erect a monument and have a yearly commemoration to our old foes the German 7th Flieger division or the Japanese 5th Sasebo Naval Landing Force?
We could also make a little memorial to the Japanese soldiers who were executed or imprisoned by the Australian war crimes tribunals after the war...or we could just let bygones be bygones.
I'm not even going to use the term "White guilt" here because the people behind these commemorations are cynical, shameless White hucksters and incapable of guilt on any level.
Paul Newbury, this is about what YOU want, you're just looking for a crowd of Aborigines to stand behind to promote YOUR agenda.
Posted by Jay Of Melbourne, Thursday, 30 January 2014 9:15:23 AM
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I think the article is naÔve in a number of respects.

Firstly, the history of conflict between Aboriginal people and white settlers is disputed (acknowledged at the end of the article). Nobody seriously doubts that frontier wars of a sort happened but their scale and the number of casualties is disputed. If we cannot agree on the history, we do not know what in particular we are commemorating and many key figures on the Aboriginal side have been forgotten.

A second issue is that non-combatants were attacked by both sides. While we need to view happenings in the context of the values of the time, many Australians may not wish to honour anyone who was involved in atrocities against either blacks or whites/invaders.

I agree that one can argue a case for a memorial somewhere to broadly commemorate those defending their traditional lands. I do not think the War Memorial is the appropriate place. The purpose of the War memorial is to commemorate those fighting to defend the nation of Australia. Indigenous freedom fighters are worthy in their own way but had they been victorious in repelling British and other colonialism, the Australian nation would not exist, instead only a large number of competing Indigenous clans.

What next? Part of the War Memorial set aside to commemorate the Vietcong?
Posted by Bren, Thursday, 30 January 2014 9:21:06 AM
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I am a bit bewildered by the current push to commemorate aboriginals who stole, murdered, and committed other offences against the early settlers.

After all, we do not commemorate the German and Japanese soldiers we fought against in World Wars I and II.

After all, if the settlement of Australia is classified as an invasion, it follows that the aboriginals were the enemy, and that having lost the war, they are now a conquered people.

The author seems to behave as if he is an aboriginal and the pioneer settlers were the enemy.

The author ignores the fact that under international law Australian territory became British following Cook's proclamation on Possession Island in 1770, and that prior to that, the land belonged to the King of Spain.

This religion of self-hate seems to still have many fellow travellers, who continue to peddle stories such as those about settlers in 1789 distributing blankets laced with smallpox to Sydney aborigines, (despite the fact that this has now been shown to be medically impossible).

It just shows you that just like the theory that someone else wrote Shakespeare, this career of self-hate and denigration continues to provide a comfortable career niche for many who would otherwise be on the dole.
Posted by plerdsus, Thursday, 30 January 2014 9:22:38 AM
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The R.S.L allow former enemy combatants to march on ANZAC day if they want to but again, they're an NGO.
Furthermore if this is really a racial question then surely the war against the Japanese should be given prominence in the Anti Racist list of grievances? That was a bone fide race war, with massacres, torture and summary executions committed on both sides and, by Anti Racist standards some of the most egregious, race baiting propaganda of the era.
Posted by Jay Of Melbourne, Thursday, 30 January 2014 9:31:27 AM
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I'd be quite happy to see a memorial of the brave men and women who died bringing civilization to this backward land.
Posted by Cobber the hound, Thursday, 30 January 2014 9:33:36 AM
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