The Truth That Will Set Us All Free: An Uncertain History of Memorials to Indigenous Australians

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Peter Read


Aborigines and other Australians have not met with amity. Memorials to the Aboriginal people of Australia are not common and some of the more prominent are regularly damaged. Eddies of past tempests slap disturbingly at modern day memorials thousands of kilometres and several generations removed from the eye of furious storms. This article traces a difficult story of what seems at first sight to be blind racism, at a second sight, a rampant colonialism, and at a more reflective third, perhaps, the economy of the pastoralist and the farmer in deadly disharmony to that of the hunter gatherer. Whatever the origins, the consequences of conflict endure for centuries.

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Author Biography

Peter Read, Usyd

Peter Read is Professorial Research Fellow at the University of Sydney. He came to the University of Sydney from the Australian National University where he had worked for most of his academic life. There he lectured in Australian and Aboriginal history, held a Research Fellowship in the Urban Studies Program, an ARC Research Fellow, an ARC Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Cross Cultural Research and was Deputy Director of the National Centre for Indigenous Studies. His most recent book is Haunted Earth (UNSW Press, 2003) and he is currently working on a history of Aboriginal Sydney.