Berzins, Hannah: Lest we forget the Frontier Wars

Berzins, Hannah

Lest we forget the Frontier Wars‘, Vimeo (video, 2014)

The 2o minute video describes massacres at Murdering Island and Poison Waterholes Creek, near Narrandera, NSW, and considers how such events, and the Frontier Wars generally, should be commemorated.

Interviewees are Graham Traynor and Lee Reavley, Wiradjuri people from Narrandera, Pastor Uncle Ray Minniecon from Redfern, Tony Albert, Indigenous artist, Peter Stanley, historian, and Gary Oakley, Indigenous Officer from the Australian War Memorial, Canberra. Issues dealt with include settler Australian reluctance to recognise the Frontier Wars, when Indigenous people are well aware of what happened, the discrepancy between the expenditure on Anzac commemoration and the lack of recognition of the Frontier Wars, and continuing racism in Narrandera.

While there is a memorial to Frontier Wars dead being constructed at Narrandera, the new memorial under way at Hyde Park in Sydney is to Indigenous soldiers who wore the Queen’s or King’s uniform. Pastor Minniecon says Frontier Wars recognition still has a long way to go (with recognition in history books even more important than memorials), as does Gary Oakley, from his different perspective. Peter Stanley describes dispossession of Indigenous Australians as the foundation both of the Australian nation and of the situation of Indigenous Australians today.

Hannah Berzins is a recent journalism graduate from the University of Technology, Sydney. Her work revolves around the Indigenous post-colonial experience, particularly focusing on the Australian frontier wars.

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