IMAGE: An Aboriginal man stands watch over country, in the SBS series The Australian Wars.
Truth telling. It’s time for a reckoning.
Are we ready to face the past that made our country what it is today?
A ground-breaking documentary series gives voice to the story of The Australian Wars — the battles fought on home soil, as the colonial frontier pushed forward, and First Nations peoples resisted.
The British claim to the Australian continent, that disregarded First Nations peoples’ sovereignty and their custodianship of Country for thousands of years, set in train brutal conflicts that unfolded for more than 100 years.
Over three episodes, filmmaker Rachel Perkins journeys across the continent to explore the breadth of warfare, strategy, and forceful resistance that occurred. The lives of Aboriginal warriors — men and women amongst them — children, military men, governors, and settlers are illuminated as they grapple with the forces of war. It’s also an exploration of the here and now, the legacy of war, and how Australia today engages with this truth.
The Aboriginal people who frequented the ridgelines of Munibung Hill were not immune from this experience that occurred across the country. In the first instance they would have observed the arrival of the invaders and would-be settlers as they made their way onto the land for which they had been custodians for thousands of years. Munibung Hill at 251 million years old and her communities of native plants and animals also witnessed the arrival and subsequent attacks on their homelands.
Reparations on a number of fronts – plants, wildlife and people – are long overdue and the sooner we pay attention to them and go about making amends the better off we will all be.
PICTURE: Filmmaker Rachel Perkins reveals the truth of The Australian Wars — the battles fought on home soil. The story of Australia’s longest and perhaps most defining war has been largely kept silent — until now. SBS.
MMM … Issue 34, Oct-Nov. 2022