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Pilger, John: Australia’s day for secrets, flags and cowards

Pilger, John

Australia’s day for secrets, flags and cowards‘, New Matilda, 23 January 2016

The original Australians are the oldest human presence. To the European invaders, they did not exist because their continent had been declared terra nullius: empty land. To justify this fiction, mass murder was ordained. In 1838, the Sydney Monitor reported: “It was resolved to exterminate the whole race of blacks in that quarter.” This referred to the Darug people who lived along the great Hawkesbury River, not far from Sydney. With remarkable ingenuity and without guns, they fought an epic resistance that remains almost a national secret. In a land littered with cenotaphs honouring Australia’s settler dead in mostly imperial wars, not one stands for those warriors who fought and fell defending Australia.

On the last sentence in that quote, Honest History placed this comment on the New Matilda site:

Justifiably trenchant and angry article but not correct on ‘In a land littered with cenotaphs honouring Australia’s settler dead in mostly imperial wars, not one stands for those warriors who fought and fell defending Australia’. The comprehensive website Monument Australia http://monumentaustralia.org.au/lists more than 100 monuments to Indigenous Australian individuals, most of whom are not warriors. From a quick skim, however, John’s definition of ‘warriors who fought and fell defending Australia’ applies to Mannalargena, Pemulwuy, WIndradyne, Yagan and possibly Dhakiyarr Wirrpanda. All of these have monuments, plaques or cenotaphs. There is also a memorial at Myall Creek, not to warriors but to victims, which is pictured here with links to relevant information http://honesthistory.net.au/…/online-gem-no-1-myall…/ . If John means ‘official’ monuments in the style of war memorials with little guys blowing bugles he is possibly correct. There are many links to material on Indigenous Australia at http://honesthistory.net.au/wp/first-peoples/

Pilger examines Australian racism, apartheid, attitudes to asylum seekers and the response to his film Utopia (2014)