Black or White? Reconciliation on Australia’s Colonial Past


Reconciliation? The conservative commentators are at it again. On March 30 this year, The Daily Telegraph attempted to reignite Australia’s “History Wars”[1]. The object of conservative concern was a guide produced by the University of New South Wales that clarified appropriate language use for discussing the history, society, naming, culture, and classifications of Indigenous Australians and Torres Strait Islanders. The newspaper headline, misrepresenting the text of the guide, claimed, “UNSW rewrites the history books to state Cook ‘invaded’ Australia”[2].



The Struggle for Public Memory

The guide states that “invasion” is a more appropriate term to describe Australia’s past than “settlement”, which was the received and taught history right up until the late 1980s, the period within which many of the most vocal conservative commentators went to school.