First Australians

Just wrote an email to an old friend in the UK and this is what I wrote about the SBS docco “First Australians” that has just finished. If you’ve not watched it already please go and watch it on the SBS website or pick up the DVD when it hits the SBS shop in December.

There’s been a really good series on TV here called “First Australians“, it gives the indigenous point of view of their history since the British landed and it’s been pretty heavy stuff. Whilst I knew a bit about the colonisation, killings, poisonings, repression, racism and the Stolen Generation the sheer scale of what was done is still shocking. Donna has been telling me that in school they were never taught at all about the sort of things that happened, just really skipped over the whole issue.

This is really the first time it’s been so publicly presented and I think it’s shocked a lot of people about what has been done by non-indigenous Australia. To their credit SBS (which is sort of like Channel 4 back there) has put it up on the ‘net and allows people to comment on it and it’s interesting, inspiring and depressing to see the various reactions it has had from disbelief and sadness through to denial, revisionism and anger.

I’ve ended up with tears in my eyes after most shows, it’s really quite affected me as I have to acknowledge that I come from the country that was responsible for this. There are stories of resilience, strength, solidarity, courage and dignity in it and also some rare examples of colonists who have seen indigenous people as people and who have stood besides them in mutual respect.

Hmm, that’s all a bit heavy, sorry! That’s because we’ve just watched the final episode about Mabo vs Queensland, the case that finally extinguished the doctrine of Terra Nullis – the myth that Australia was unpopulated before the English arrived because the indigenous people didn’t count and laid the way for indigenous land rights claims. That was only in 1992 when we were both in Aberystwyth! It’s crazy, they were only allowed to vote in federal elections in 1962 and were only really counted as citizens in 1967 after a referendum to change the constitution.. 🙁

Here is what my wife, Donna, wrote about this series.

2 thoughts on “First Australians

  1. Hi Chris,

    good article. Yes, I’ve never thought of it from a British point of view.

    It is the class system of which hierarchy is such a part and the same people who degrade people on the basis of race do so on any other basis they can to raise themselves higher.

    Understanding Compensatory Narcissism and Narcissism in general as personality traits, perhaps some political parties best represent the cultural manifestation of those traits.

    I think some of the same people who accept racism read small-minded hate spreads and glossies. I think they love the elevation of themselves over others, even thrive on their helplessness. Look at the Romans and the Colloseum.

    But other cultures, laws and powers are not based on narcissism or sadism, but perhaps more on the traits like the vigilant, which is about justice and equality, or the exhuberant (artistic) trait which is all about expression. There is so much people could have learned and still can from a culture which is not build on narcissism or sadism.

  2. Donna Williams I dont think that the first british people who settled in australia were racist, Narcissism and deffinetlt readsmall-minded hate spreads and glossies. They might have been naughty but the reason why there were people in Australia was in the 1800’s the prisoners went there to go to jail there and not in England but still you cant belive all this Crappy Bullshit by what other people as it cant all be beliveable and where is the evidance that goes with it of course as the evidance can tell a bit about the story of the birth of Australia and it way in to the British Commonwealth today as that will be the truth or not much of it.

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