Canberra Times: Australian War Memorial must formally address frontier violence

Canberra Times, ‘Australian War Memorial must formally address frontier violence‘, Canberra Times, 25 July 2022 (pdf from our subscription)

This editorial (page 14 of the hard copy under heading ‘Frontier wars should be back on agenda’) is a significant development in post-election discussion of the (now) $548m War Memorial extension project, which Honest History and Heritage Guardians and many others have over three years described as unnecessary and even obscene at a time when veterans and their families are suffering and other national cultural institutions are short of funds.

[Memorial Director Matt Anderson’s] take is that, given what the memorial was intended to represent, conflicts between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people do not fit in with its overall narrative.

Perhaps it’s time, then, to change the narrative, to alter the memorial’s charter in a way that reflects our much-changed perceptions and attitudes towards Australia’s difficult history.

Given Anderson also focused, in his interview, on the vast amount of extra space the planned expansions will bring to the memorial, surely there is room there to accommodate this history.

The editorial follows Sally Pryor’s piece in the Canberra Times a couple of days ago, including quotes from Mr Anderson on the Memorial’s failure to properly commemorate Australia’s Frontier Wars. The Heritage Guardians/Honest History post-election campaign on this subject is here, making similar points to those in the editorial.

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