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OUR BOOKS > MINI–MAGS > A SHORT HISTORY OF AUSTRALIA

A Short History Of Australia

Reflection
Written by Chester Eagle
Cover design by Chester Eagle
DTP work by Karen Wilson
Circa 5,500 words
Electronic publication 2014

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The writing of this book:

I trust that readers will see that the title of this piece was written with tongue in cheek. Perhaps the whole thing was written that way. Australian history is normally written from the viewpoint of the invading whitefellas, although a handful of writers have tried to see it from the perspective of the original black inhabitants. Among the writers whose work I know, I think Eleanor Dark would be the most successful at incorporating an aboriginal viewpoint on those early days around Sydney and leading up to the crossing of the Blue Mountains in 1813.

I think what is being said in this little mini-mag is clear enough but I would like to emphasize that a watershed has been crossed in recent years. White Australian society has not always been negative in its hopes for the black people but the standards set for aboriginal success have always been the standards of the white people. What we are starting to see now (2014, but it’s been developing slowly for quite a few years) is an insistence by aboriginal people that they be seen by their standards and in ways that are meaningful, important, for them. This is the severest test yet encountered by our country’s multicultural policies because what’s being implied is that the aboriginal people will judge what they wish to show the other occupants of the country that was once theirs alone.

It’s hard to say how far this change will go, and whether or not it will encounter resistance or have unexpected consequences … but it’s happening, it’s underway, it’s obviously a good thing at this early stage, and I’m only sorry that I won’t be around long enough to see how this movement will work itself out in the next century or so.

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