Anyone who saw John Pilger's "Utopia" recently, or happened to catch an amazing film called
"Rabbit Proof Fence", will have, like me, become more aware of some of the horrors experienced by the aboriginal population of this amazing country. Forced abduction of children, serious attempts to breed out blackness and the continued view that the aborigines are " a problem" is a significant part of Australian history, but it is largely hidden from the experience of visitors. I think it is largely hidden from many white Australians. John Pilger's spoke to many white Australians in the course of his research for "Utopia" who clearly had no idea what he was talking about.
I noticed that at the start of each Test match ( I expect I will mention cricket and our dreadful performance against a superior force a few times while I am blogging from Australia....but not here) that Aboriginal elders have welcomed the spectators to tribal lands. I haven't seen that before, and I don't suppose many people have thought that of course, the cricket grounds are on tribal lands.....it was all tribal land, until white Europeans arrived....not that long ago.....and took it.
Since we arrived, just a few days ago, we have found very little evidence of an indigenous population in our excursions. There was a brief mention about the foods aborigines ate at the shipwreck museum in Freemantle, nothing at all at the Royal Mint museum in Perth, which was fascinating and concentrated on the Europeans rush for gold in the 19 th century, and so far, nothing connected to the logging and saw mill industry that has dominated the recent history of the area in the south west that we are visiting now.
I love this place, but the racism beneath the surface is scary. Someone on the Pilger's programme said, when discussing ways to solve " the aboriginal problem"...... That to solve it, you wouldn't start where we are now.
I will return to this issue while I am here..... I will count the number of times an awareness of an indigenous history is recognised...... But, I, like so many others, will love being here, love all the things I can see and do..... And I will be able to do nothing to improve anything.