This is the cover of a geography textbook used throughout my schooldays during the 1940s. It continued to be used into the 1950s, prior to my migration to Australia in April 1959.
Pages 263 to 265 in particular make for illuminating reading. They have a great deal of relevance to issues of racism that continue to hold back Australia — if it is to live up to official policy that tries to tell of a nation in which truth and the fair treatment of its first nation peoples are beyond reproach. Today’s Australians are faced with a growing dilemma. Studies of contemporary Australian history show that racism, particularly against its first peoples, has existed ever since the British, under their false claims of ‘terra nullius’, took possession of the land, commencing in1778.
Is it any wonder that two hundred years of disrespect, maltreatment and refusal to accept Australia’s First Nation Peoples — the original and first owners of the Australian continent continues, even during in the 21st century, during what is often claimed to be to be a time of enlightenment?
What school students of mine, earlier and following generations were taught about Australia’s first peoples continues to be influenced by the words and uneducated descriptions, most unfortunately ignorant of the true history that continues to be used to educate generations of British and Australian children. As such, attitudes against today’s descendants of Australia’s First peoples, have become firmly fixed, some perhaps unconsciously, in the minds of in excess of 75% of today’s non-aboriginal Australian citizens.
The way in which my school textbook described Australia’s First Nation peoples explains why their present day descendants continue to be treated so poorly; their attachment to the land and its animals maligned, their religious beliefs and totems decried, denied and denigrated.
Their status as ignorant savages, and thus not thought of as worthy of even parlaying with, followed the invasion of the British and the planting of the Union Jack in the soil at Sydney Cove. The fact that people had already been living peacefully and in perfect concert with the land for over 60,000+ years, while long accepted by the world’s scientists, has meant little to those in…