Organ, Michael K.: Governor Macquarie’s Aboriginal War of 1816

Organ, Michael K.

Secret service: Governor Macquarie’s Aboriginal War of 1816: Proceedings of the National Conference of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Mittagong, 25-26 October 2014‘, University of Wollongong Research Online

Detailed analysis of Governor Lachlan Macquarie’s punitive actions against the Aboriginal population of New South Wales in 1816 reveals the extent of war engaged in by local military forces and the colonial authorities, along with a corresponding cover-up of those activities and outcomes to both the local community and authorities in England. This analysis has implications for our present day reading of Australian history and the ongoing debate over recognition of the so-called Forgotten War (Australian Aboriginal War), especially in light of the ANZAC and World War I centennial commemorations of 2015-18. The use of unpublished archival resources is highlighted in revealing a detailed and localised picture of events in New South Wales during 1816. The rediscovery and reinterpretation of the facts behind this historic episode reveals the everevolving history of Australia and the moving stories which are an important part of that history. (abstract)

The author makes the Anzac connection in the following sentences.

The same honour that is, for example, applied to the ANZACs and to those who served in wars on behalf of Australia would apply to the Aboriginal people who fought against the European invasion of 1788 and opposed the imposition of Terra Nullius through dispossession. It can be argued that they fought in a noble struggle for their Country, in a war which was meaningfully forgotten by the victors …  It is time for Australia to honour the deeds and heroism of this country’s first war veterans – the Aboriginal men, women, and children who fought in the Australian War from 1788. They fought with honour; they fought for the Dreaming, and for family; they fought for Country; they fought valiantly and died courageously. Just like the ANZACS, they were Australians fighting for Australia.

There is plenty of material on settler-Indigenous relations under Honest History’s thumbnail ‘Our First Peoples’. See also Paul Daley’s piece in Meanjin in 2014, also published in a shortened version in Guardian Australia, which looks at incidents covered by Organ.

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