Yerrakartarta (the title of this artwork) is a Kaurma Aboriginal word meaning ‘at random’ or ‘without design’. The Kaurma people are the indigenous inhabitants of the Adelaide area. Continue reading “Yerrakartarta”


National Aboriginal War Memorial or Not?


Each year on ANZAC Day (25 April) thousands of veterans, serving personnel and members of the general public attend the dawn service at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra to remember those who have served and those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for Australia in various wars and conflicts down the ages.

When the dawn service is over a small group of veterans and others make their way into the bush to a small clearing on the slopes of Mt Ainslie some 300 metres behind the War Memorial. Continue reading “National Aboriginal War Memorial or Not?”

World War I at the Australian War Memorial


On 4 August 1914, the British Empire declared war on Germany and her allies and with that an enthusiastic Australia was at war. Within days white Australians were enlisting. Aboriginals were specifically barred from joining the newly federated Australia’s military forces though around 1,000 including Charles Blackman (picture 2) did mange to enlist. Continue reading “World War I at the Australian War Memorial”

The Path to Reconciliation


Running between the National Library and the High Court/National Gallery of Australia is an area of parkland given over to a series of artworks drawing on Aboriginal culture and history. Reconciliation Place, as the area is called, aims at reaffirming Australia’s shared history, from an Aboriginal perspective, and the nation’s commitment to reconciliation between Aboriginals and later settlers in Australia. Continue reading “The Path to Reconciliation”

‘Sorry’ – A Parliamentary Apology


The State of Victoria’s Aboriginal Protection Act 1869 included the earliest legislation authorising the removal of children from Aboriginal parents. Other states and territories soon followed suit.

These rather odd, by today’s standards, Acts were motivated by various things including a desire to protect children from neglect and abuse, a belief that Aboriginal people would die out given a significant decline in their numbers post contact with white people and the belief that full-blooded Aboriginal people resented miscegenation and the mixed-race children fathered and abandoned by white men. Continue reading “‘Sorry’ – A Parliamentary Apology”

Parliament House – Canberra


For me this is one of the most architecturally interesting and satisfying buildings not only in Australia but in the world and is certainly a major contrast to the previous building – Old Parliament House – which was only ever intended to be a temporary home for the Australian Parliament, albeit a temporary home that lasted 61 years. It would be quite unfair to compare the two buildings. Continue reading “Parliament House – Canberra”