Contested Ground

Contested Ground : Australian Aborigines under the British Crown

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Contested Ground provides a comprehensive and up to date account of the processes and experiences which shaped the lives of Aboriginal Australians from 1788 to the present.

It integrates eye-witness accounts, oral histories and historical research to present the first colony-by-colony, state by state history of Aboriginal-white relations. Contested Ground tells a story of dispossession and denial but it is also a positive account, revealing the persistent struggles of Aboriginal communities for a better future.

Clearly written and generously illustrated, this book demonstrates why Australian Aboriginal history, like the very land itself, remains contested ground.

'Both indigenous and non-indigenous Australians have a lot to learn about each other before reconciliation between the two peoples can be realised. This book will go a long way towards achieving that end.' - Paul Behrendt.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 448 pages
  • 138 x 216 x 27.43mm | 826g
  • Allen & Unwin
  • Australia
  • English
  • 1863736468
  • 9781863736466

Back cover copy

Through time he's been travelling to look for a planet to settle down as he makes the sky, the trees, the land and each different group of people - like the Chinese, the English, the Europeans and the Aborigines. Everybody has their own piece of land to live in. Then when he found his resting place he went into a very, very deep sleep. As he slept he started to dream into the future. It showed his people were very very happy living in peace, killing only what they need to live for their food. As they go along they start to use fire, to cook, to cut shapes out of trees, to carry their water and other objects. Then some of the men started to cut out big parts out of the trees to make boats to go and hunt and they were so in peace until the white people came out here. Destroying the land itself cause their land was over populated. So they sent a lot of the convicts out here to work, so they can start to build the land up, put buildings in, farming and stuff. Then they started to destroy the native people of this land. Then the Rainbow Serpent started to go into a type of nightmare dream. He sees in his dream how they destroyed a lot of animals we will never see again. As it gets closer to the 19th century they start to turn out cities, they called it the great country, the land of opportunity, for the whites, but not for the dark people of this land. We were thought of as the lowest class in this land of 'theirs'. As the spirit was still dreaming his nightmare he sees a lot of things that are going to happen soon, like drugs, alcohol, deaths in custody. He likes to see all different personalities living together as one, white going out with dark people, dark people living with whites inharmony and no racism. But the Rainbow Serpent can see this is not going to be because a lot of the people today are still destroying us in devious ways. When the spirit shall have woken you shall have a lot to answer for what you have done to us. Then you had better watch out because he is your judge and he will destroy you all in a very evil way.
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Table of contents






Introduction ANN MCGRATH

1 A national story ANN MCGRATH




5 South Australia PEGGY BROCK

6 Western Australia SANDY TOUSSAINT

7 Northern Territory PETER READ

8 Tasmania: 1 ANN MCGRATH


10 Contested ground: what is 'Aboiginal history'? ANN MCGRATH

Select bibliography

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About Ann McGrath

Ann McGrath led the History Project of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and is currently Director of the Centre for Community History at the University of New South Wales.

Contributors include Paul Behrendt, Peggy Brock, Richard Broome, Heather Goodall, Dawn May, Maykutenner (Vicki Matson-Green), Peter Read, Henry Reynolds and Sandy Toussaint.
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