A history since 1788
A powerful history of black-white encounters in Australia since colonisation, this fully updated edition remains the only concise survey of Aboriginal history since 1788.
Richard Broome is Associate Professor of History at La Trobe University. One of Australia's most respected scholars of Aboriginal history, he is also author of the prize-winning Aboriginal Victorians.
I often ponder the target audience of excellent books I have read. This is one of them. Richard Broome has an extensive knowledge of the topic and writes extremely well about it. The text is easily understandable, it is direct in its explanation of the changing relationships between Aboriginal Australians and the ‘white invader’. He uses the terminology common in the era he is discussing, with an explanation about its origin and the context within which it is used, rather than avoiding language which now has negative connotations.
The problem comes when deciding if this book is of use in a secondary library. While I think the content and the style are conducive for schools, the format (which has few headings and subheadings) and index do not allow ready access to the required information for students. A wide knowledge of events and alternative terminology is needed to find information on major events - the common language and names given to such events are often not used. Having said that, it would be a disservice to our students not to have it available for their use.
Peta Harrison, Learning Services Program Coordinator, Albany SHS, Kronkup WA
Aboriginal Australians is a thoroughly researched text outlining the experience of Indigenous Australians following colonial settlement in 1788. Charting the different aspects of colonisation over the centuries, it examines specific policies and events as well as their long term effects on the indigenous way of life. The text draws heavily on primary documents and personal accounts of the different time periods, using photographs and maps to illustrate the discussion further. It paints a clear and often very bleak picture of the results of early contact, dispossession, paternalism and attempts at self-sufficiency, moving through to an examination of issues and events closer to the present day such as native title claims, the intervention in the Northern Territory and the apology offered by Kevin Rudd to the Stolen Generations.
This very readable book presents evidence of the generally detrimental effects of white settlement on Indigenous life, and the way that the colonisers largely misunderstood or ignored Aboriginal culture. It examines the difficulties of facing the long term effects of dispossession and systematic discrimination. Information is presented chronologically, and the index included allows for ease of location of the discussion of specific events or details.
This is an excellent reference text for anyone wishing to study Indigenous history since 1788, and to examine the range of experience of Indigenous Australians following white colonisation. The information outlines the basis of issues of the present day. It also provides valuable and detailed background information when studying a fiction text or autobiography centred on elements of Aboriginal Australia. It would suit students of Year 9 and above, due to the density of the text and some of the issues covered.
Anne Sim, Dromana College, Mornington VIC
An essential reference book for every library AND every classroom, Broome’s tome is supremely enlightening in its frank, objective manner of exploring events of the past the impact they had or may have had. As a ‘white fella’ I am a product of the assimilation era. As always with education and history, those with the power are in control. In the 4th edition of his pragmatic relating of Australia’s murky past, Broome opens Pandora’s Box. Aboriginal Australians is a matter-of-fact, easy-to-read book which goes a long way to avoid bias and stigma, to relate detail in context, and provide honesty in our collective psyche.
This is essential reading for all would-be teachers. As an opener of avenues of discussion, as the source of pertinent facts from around Australia, as a springboard to reflection, this book is first rate. It is a reference book. It is a guide book. It is an opportunity to effectively continue the journey of reconciliation and discovery of our scarred and wounded past. In the classroom, this book should be frequently visited. It provides the groundwork for many discussions. It is a source book for many scenarios to engage students in potentially emotive, confronting debates with information to assist in part of the debriefing which will be necessary afterwards.
Eminently readable, this history of our shared journey can be read from cover to cover, building a high-resolution picture of our shared journey or used to grab snippets of points along the way by delving into particular chapters or even parts of chapters. I recommend all students should have read the latest edition before they leave school and discussed – not written about – its contents, preferably with a member of Australia’s First Nation community.
Michael Cruickshank, Hellyer College TAS