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Time Team Down Under
More on Australia

Latest Poll Published in The West Australian the local newspaper claims only 2 out of 5 locally born West Australians support tomorrows apology where as a majority of those born in other countries including the UK support it.

Previously on this web some people have condemned me for they see as the extremism of my language when describing the history of and the continuing racist treatment of Aboriginal people in Perth. I wish to reply to these people.

First, I think people unknowingly infected with racist ideas need to be shocked and outraged since then in discussion with others they might (very rarely) begin to realise the error of their ways, whereas too soft an approach will invariably lead them away from personal reflection as they are usually certain that racism could never effect them.

Second, I was truly shocked that some Australian archaeologists feel that none Australian born Australians have less right than an Aussie born non-Indigenous person to comment on the past and present examples of Australia’s longstanding problem with racism.

I think this attitude is a good example of racism and as with all racist ideas lacks any scientific method.
The accompanying assumption that I must believe my country of birth to be better is simplistic and very, very wrong.

They don’t seem to realise that I hate Nationalism, all Nationalism and all racism whether from Cuba, Australia, Britain or anywhere.

Third, it is also interesting that in with all the outrage the facts I outlined are not challenged because they are easily verified.

Fourth in order to demonstrate that my language is actually rather conservative I will give a few example of the language that other people have used in the not very distant past. Some of these quotes I found reprinted in a nasty little racist book ‘Red Over Black’ (Geoff McDonald, 1982) who used the quotes to suggest that Aboriginal activists, Christians and others were controlled by communists intent on taking over Australia! However, I’ve checked a few out and they are accurate quotes. Apart from the man who wanted whites speared, I agree with their words:

Prime Minister of Australia, today: ‘… the failure of previous Australian governments to apologise to the stolen generation has left a stain on Australia’s soul’

Aboriginal activist Father (at the time) Pat Dobson: ‘This nation belongs to Aboriginal, and it has never been handed over or ceded’.

Dr. Moss Cass, Labor’s spokeman on immigration in the The Australian 6/12/79: Attacked the ‘racism’ of some Anglo-Australians and said they were ‘arrogant’.

WA Aboriginal activist Mr. Colbung, at the 150 anniversary of Western Australia’s occupation by colonialists after playing the didgeridoo with Rolf Harris gave the
WA Governor a letter which in part said: ‘Take notice that the Aboriginal people of Western Australia hereby require you to quit and deliver up possession of all that land … called Western Australia … I am given to inform you that, after consultation the people whose forbears have been here for more than 40,000 years, it is our wish to sit down and negotiate with you about the land which was taken from our ancestors.’

Dr Coombs 1979: ‘Australians should feel a sense of guilt and shame at the treatment of Aborigines.’

World Council of Churches reported in 1981: ‘racism is a fact in Australia.’

Best selling author Xavier Herbert: ‘Violence is the only solution to the Aboriginal problem. I cannot understand why an Aborigine has not speared a white man [recently]’.

Land Rights: A Christian Perspective by Derek Carne: ‘… many Australians have basic racist attitudes towards Aboriginal people even though they have never had any contact with them … a racist ideology pervades every major aspect of white Australian culture.’

MP Al Grassby, immigration minister and later Community Relations Officer: ‘… the RSL had been infiltrated by Ku Klux Klan elements’. And another time, ‘… a feature of Australian racists was that they hated nearly everybody … a survey of middle managers, whose average age was 35, revealed a high level of primitive intolerance.’ He went on to say they hated ‘Asians, Japanese, Jews and Trade Unionists of all kinds,’

Deceased Aboriginal activist Charles Perkins talking about events from 60 years ago: ‘The general relationship between Aborigines and whites was that Aborigines were often shot down like dogs, when ever the white pastoralists thought ‘their property’ was in jeopardy … Many of the administrators and so-called ‘protectors of Aborigines’ did little to stop the shooting’.

But of course things move on Rudds apology on behalf of the government this coming Wednesday is so welcome to the majority of Australians. The myth that this would in someway make people responsible from their ancestors actions has last be laid to rest. It is so long overdue as was the huge upsurge these last two days as to the acceptability of Chinese New year celebration.

But just to show that we still have a constant battle with racism, below is a letter which a few days ago appeared in an Australian Newspaper.

"Instead of Kevin Rudd saying sorry to the so-called Stolen Generation, they should say thank you to us. We saved them from a lifetime of physical and sexual abuse and gave them opportunities they would otherwise never have had. The only reason we should say sorry is because we did not “steal” all the children and save them too. David Hickling, Bassendean."

And above is an example of the nasty racist dangerous minority, which as in all countries we have to fight.

We have no problem or disagreement with racism.. it is vile and must be challenged.

What we did have a problem with was sweeping statements about how everyone in Perth being closet racists etc..

You do in this last post come to the point that there are a nasty racist minority... and these are the people who must be challenged.

In terms of archaeology .. or specifically archaeologists... surely addressing issues of archaeology are the start. and can be addressed - start where a difference can be made, rather than take on the whole of Australia.

"No job worth doing was ever done on time or under budget.."
Quote:quote:What we did have a problem with...

Er, whos this 'we'? I assume that youre not presuming to speak for all BAJR contributor. I for one have not had a problem with anything Arthus has said. Its a horrifying glimpse of the grimness of living in what a ppears to be a deeply racist society.

Quote:quote:only 2 out of 5 locally born West Australians support tomorrows apology

If thats true, then - at least in WA - it would appear that there is more than just a racist minority.

I am speaking with the royal we... (well spotted)

What we (not royal) should worry about is sweeping generalisations painting a picture of a deeply racist society.. based on what Arthus says, the division is not just on a minority level but endemic and widespread... with most white Australians being racist .. now... take a look at the statistics ... a careful look... are we saying that 3/5ths of australians in WA are racist - how does this match with other areas... how many people are in WA?

lets see... with some collected stats

In terms of ethnic groups, 2001 census data reveal that Western Australia is highly diverse: the largest single group was those reporting English ancestry or ethnicity, accounting for 733,783 responses (32.7 per cent), followed by "Australian" (presumably Anglo-Celtic) with 624,259 (27.8 per cent), Irish with 171,667 (7.6 per cent), Italian with 96,721 (4.3 per cent), Scottish with 62,781 (2.8 per cent), German with 51,672 (2.3 per cent) and Chinese with 48,894 responses (2.2 per cent). There were 58,496 Indigenous Australians in Western Australia in 2001, forming 3.1 per cent of the population.

In terms of birthplace, 32.9 per cent of the population were born overseas — far higher than the Australian average of 23.1 per cent. 10.9 per cent of West Australians were born in Britain, 2.4 per cent were born in New Zealand and 1.2 per cent were born in Italy.

so if 39% are born overseas, then I assume they are not counted as racist.. then we have the 'other groups' so then once we have the population down to around half we then take 3/5th of that population and brand them racist.. (there may be more than one reason why they did not want an apology... though in my view it was an apology long overdue) so suddenly... 3/5ths of the Australians in WA being racist we go to around 20% - as I said... based on the assumption that they are racist. (and even that has shades ... from frothing nutter to accidental bigot)

To discuss this is all well and good, but wringing hands and saying how bad it is, did nothing.... I have yet to see one... ONE concrete proposal on how to tackle even the simple, small and manageable racism in Perth archaeologists claim. Any answers? or does it just come down to saying how bad it all is?

I do however apologise for the confusion I caused.. it sometimes becomes difficult to separate who I am Smile

And yes I do agree with Artus... I do think there is a valid argument for challenging racism - I don't question the crap that aboriginals have to contend with... what I want now... is answers.

"No job worth doing was ever done on time or under budget.."
Look I can't say it often enough. This is about racism not anti-Australian.

We all know that the UK and everywhere has the same problems.

No one should dare to think their country immune.

But I live here, this is my country.

The answers are unfolding now.

Rudd has actually done a wonderful thing it is a real start.

I cannot think of a situation where a politician any politician has done such a good thing and moved me to tears.

And yes I'm a cynic but today was one of the best days of my life.

The answers here are easy enough, we just need to copy New Zealand, Canada and the USA (Yes the USA)on Indigenous health.

And there are specific easy answers for a start for WA.

I'm not just a person who rants.

Below is a letter I hope to get published in a West Australian Newspaper
Why Not Build on the Apology to the Stolen Generation with Methods of Practical Reconciliation

Dear Sir,
To build on the Federal Governments apology to the Stolen Generation I believe that the WA Government and Perth City Council needs to be honest about the past and take action to educate all about West Australia’s wonderful Indigenous history; which would have the result of providing Indigenous youth with heroic role models to look up to.

In Perth and WA, I can find little celebration of West Australia’s 60,000 years of Aboriginal history, the remarkable achievements of recent and contemporary Aboriginal people and an honest and visible portrayal of the many horrors of colonisation.

How many people realise that WA has the oldest human occupation sites in Australia and some of the oldest securely dated art in the world?

Do school children and tourists learn that Rottnest Island was a terrible prison camp where 2000 Indigenous men died of influenza and 12 were executed in what is now the luxury hotel where the rich now sleep in the former condemned cells? In addition, who know that the entire Aboriginal population of Cue were interned in a police camp during World War II?

Moreover, where are the respectful memorials to these atrocities and why no memorial in Kings Park to the Indigenous service men who fought in all of Australia’s wars?

In fact, Perth is now crammed with plaques and statues celebrating white people such as the one on Adelaide Terrace to Daisy Bates titled ‘A Friend to the aborigines [sic]’. A woman who in fact was infamous for boasting that she made sure that no light skinned babies survived in her camp and wrote approvingly of how they were thrown down rabbit holes.

So come on WA politicians commission Aboriginal artists (and the best in Australia live in WA) to produce statues of Jimmy Pike, Sally Morgan and the Aboriginal soldiers who died on the Kokoda trail.

Stephen Arthur.
But I remain angry partly because perhaps of my experiences from working in a gaol

and here is a reply I wrote to someone on the Australian arch web site, a sympathetic person.

Actually, I was thinking of spearing one of the statues of Stirling here. The bronze skin is very thin. One good hit with a spike and lump hamer, metal spear in, lots of industrial super glue, red paint, digi snap....

But I told too many people.

So I wrote a soft letter to the West Australian.

Yagans Statue stands on Herrison Island, hidden away like Sally Morgans painting 'Welcome to Rottnest', about every two years some one cuts his head off with a chain saw.

As a none Australian born Australian citizen people should consider who it is that gave me my education when I arrived in Australia in about 1997.

Two weeks after arriving I was working on a ward in the Top Security hospital within Long Bay Gaol.

A short time after that I was cutting my first Aboriginal patient down.

He lived, they were going to send him 800 KM away from his family.

He like most was of course stolen, abused in homes, multiply raped by welfare officers.

His birthday and age the same as mine.

Oh, and no happy endings he was also a rapist and child abuser.

Common enough when thats all you've known from 6 to 19....

And I wasn't soft on him either.

Too many really bad memories from Long Bay.

Every horrible things you see in the films about gaols is true.

do people know the prisioners (A class) are put in orange gear and double shackled when transported across NSW, often no air-con and no toilet breaks.

But many good memories, Tony K (killed a man when drunk, unlucky not evil or mad) a founder of the Tent Embassy etc, etc.

So I make no excuse for my anger and my language use.

I usually check stuff out with Aboriginal friends anyway.

But give me a drunk, drugged up man telling me to f off and he's going to kill me, down from NT any day compared to some (not all) of the staff and students at UWA.

snobby places are the worst

Sorry to resurrect an old topic, but just for the record...

Quote:quote: For example, in West Australia Rottnest Island is Perths favorite holiday spot and virtually no one knows its history. From 1838 until the 1930s it was a concentration camp for Aboriginal people. The records show that twelve Aboriginal men were executed in what is now an expensive hotel and the guests sleep in the old codemned cells.

The Aboriginal penal settlement was in use from 1838 to 1849, and again from 1855 until 1903. Internment continued intermittently until 1936. From 1903 most of the buildings were refurbished as holiday accommodation. This is made very clear from the interpretation both on site and in the Museum.

Quote:quote:The Grave yard has the poorer peoples camp site over it.

The Aboriginal cemetery is clearly marked and interpreted and is maintained as open space. The camp site is elsewhere.

Haven't we been here already!!!

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