Reynolds, Henry: Brendan Nelson and the War Memorial – what about the frontier wars?

Henry Reynolds

Brendan Nelson and the War Memorial – what about the frontier wars?Pearls and Irritations, 10 April 2018

Historian of invader-Indigenous relations in Australia considers the proposed extension to the Australian War Memorial and the Memorial’s inadequate recognition of the Frontier Wars.

The trouble with the leadership team at the War Memorial is that their understanding of Australian history is a generation out of date and becomes more untenable with every passing year and all the while they manage a great and heavily funded national institution. How can they explain themselves to indigenous Australians? They no doubt want them to be part of the nation and would likely shun any assertion of a separate and distinctive nationalism. But their present policy has a hidden agenda. Their message is this: your warrior ancestors who fought for their land and way of life against impossible odds do not belong in the Memorial which Brendan Nelson repeatedly calls the soul of the nation. Your war dead do not belong in the national pantheon. Go away and find someone else to take them in.

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