Th/e ‘black arm-band’ view of Australian history

The deplorable record of the invasion of Australia by the British is undeniable. However, certain influential Australians would prefer to have no mention of this record in the public domain or in our schools.

They insist that the ‘black armband’ view of Australia’s history should be dispensed with. Educators and the media are to refer with reverence to the wonder of multiculturalism having risen from successful settlement.

There you have it. The past should not live in the present, contrary to genetics, psychology; and subconscious tribal memories. I doubt if the Australian Aborigine will agree with this devout attempt to whitewash the past.

The extract below is from Chapter 3 ‘To have a dream’ in my book ‘Hidden Footprints of Unity.’ The thrust of the book is to seek the Australian Family of Man arising from the recently achieved cultural diversity. Yet what was done to the Australian indigene cannot be ignored.

“A few years after the initial ‘discovery’ of Australia by Lieutenant Cook, it was apparently known that the indigenes not only occupied the land and used it with economic purpose, but also (according to the highly respected Dr.Coombs) “… lived in clan or tribal groups, that each group had a homeland with known boundaries, and that they took their name from their district, and rarely moved outside it”. It was also known that they had, and applied, firm rules about trespass, kinship ties, marriage, child rearing and other matters, the hallmarks of an organised society; that they had a “habit of obedience” to their rulers and leaders, a hallmark of a political society; and that they had an ordered ceremonial life, reflecting the sharing of a spiritual vision, a hallmark of a civilisation.

Apparently, they also had their own zodiac, which guided their activities. Their artistic records are also well known and respected.

It has now been accepted that the indigenes did not cede any of their land. As the famous poet Oodjaroo Noonuccal said, “We are but custodians of the land”. Whilst the settlers saw themselves at war, and killed to acquire land, officialdom (later supported by local jurists) preferred occupation to conquest. Occupation follows discovery, of a presumed empty land. How were the natives to establish ownership without a Titles Office?

Because the morally political Australian rejected the idea of an invasion, a Senate Committee came up, in the early 1980s, with prescription. This apparently applies when there is no clear title to sovereignty by way of treaty, occupation or conquest. An extended occupation, and an exercise of sovereignty were apparently enough to vest title in the Crown.

But, prescription requires a show of authority on the one side, and acquiescence on the other (says Prof. Reynolds, the renowned contributor to the nation’s enlightenment on this black subject). Since the natives never acquiesced to anything, voluntary abandonment was claimed. The Senate’s clever semantic exercise seemed to accept that being killed or driven away is tantamount to voluntary abandonment!

A prominent white Australian sociologist reminded me that cities such as Melbourne and Sydney represented the most effective sites of ethnic cleansing; and that every fence in Australia encloses land that was once the soul, or the shared possession of a particular group of Aborigines.”

Comment: Why should all this be hidden? To ease the conscience of white supremacists?