Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Reading and re-writing history on both sides of The Ditch.

Attention all home renovators in Oz and NZ.....!
As you peel back the stiffened, faded hideous dark green patterned lino from the floor of your first dream home have a gander for any old newspaper copy that may be lurking underneath.
Yes, I'm serious, stop laughing.
You can click HERE to listen to a brief interview and explanation of why the National Library of Oz wants old newspapers and then you may click on their website HERE to read through the wish list.
You'll see that there are similar plans for NZ newspapers so Don't Chuck 'Em Out!
Now, I don't pretend to be au fait with everything of NZ history and I'm more than ready to admit when I don't know something but I'm happy to listen and learn.
Apparently there is a group or a movement that is attempting to rewrite history (and scientific evidence for that matter) by claiming that there was a Celtic civilisation that settled NZ before the Maori and are
beginning to infiltrate educationally respected places such as the museum mentioned over at Reading The Maps.
This is quite worrying in that it appears that there may have been sacred items and/or bones disturbed and misrepresented by people intent on trying to re-create a whole nations history.
NZ has a very proud history - both before, during and after European settlement - and it is no secret that they treated the Maori with a great deal more respect than how Australia's Indigenous People were treated.
NZ led the world in many firsts ; giving women the vote, they had the first lady mayor in the British Empire, they gave the world the 8 hour working day and had the first flight in the world (ahead of the Wright brothers) when Richard Pearse took to the skies.
Traditionally the victor writes the history and, although the historian is expected to remain neutral and report the facts in an unbiased manner, this rarely happens as we have seen here in Oz many times over.
But NZ has listened to and respected the Maori, they have included them in many plans, books, reports, etc, so this abrupt attempt to recreate NZ's history with a (white) European culture is glaringly at odds with the scientifically and anecdotally supported facts.

Something similar is happening in Tasmania with two opposing Aboriginal groups.
Long story short - one group, the Lia Pootah, claims they are descendants of Indigenous People who remained in Tasmania after George Robinson exiled large groups of Tasmanian Aboriginal People to the islands in Bass Strait.
Another group, the Palawa,  claims that unless a person can trace an ancestor as one of those exiled on the Bass Strait islands then that person cannot claim to be of Aboriginal descent.
Now, regardless of whether the first groups claims can ever be proved or disproved I still have a few problems with the second group's ruling; there were many mainland and Tasmanian Aboriginal women kidnapped by sealers and whalers to be kept as their mistresses/wives and the same for those taken from the island state to be wives/mistresses to farmers on the mainland.
As these women were not exiled to the Bass Strait islands this means their descendants are excluded from claiming their Indigenous heritage.
To me, this is a form of racism.
There are several Indigenous groups of Victoria's Kulin Nation who are "officially" extinct, according to "official" non-Indigenous history as any child with a European father was claimed as "white" and thus they determined that the Aboriginal clans died out.
There were many descendants who were shifted all over Victoria from Mordialloc to Acheron to Healsville to Lake Tyres - but officially they don't exist.
Once upon a time we were all taught that Tasmanian Aboriginals were exinct but now they're recognising that they aren't.
This is the same form of racial denial that could be interpreted as what the Palawa is doing to the Lia Pootah.
More info HERE, HERE and HERE


  1. Gosh darn it, I wish they'd spoken up a bit sooner about the old newspapers.

    I just consigned a few more square sheets to the long drop in the brick outhouse out behind the gum tree.

    I won't be recycling those any further, thank you.

    I will say the Kalgoorlie Courier (Dec 1893 - April 1894) is quite absorbent, while the Broken Hill Dispatch is rather coarse for the more sensitive, er, "reader".

  2. "...there was a Celtic civilisation that settled NZ before the Maori..."

    Makes a change from the Norse, I suppose.

  3. LMAO Kuaka!
    I take it you're not a fan of the yellow pages?

    A Norse is a Norse, of course of course and no one can talk to a Norse of course that is, of course, unless the Norse is the famous Mr Hughes....

  4. I wonder what we can learn from the magazine pages from the 1980s that line my cupboard shelves?

    Well, besides the "oh my god those are hideous fashions" discoveries...