ABC 7.30 Report: War memorial battle over frontier conflict recognition

by frances 26. February 2009 23:50

"The Australian War Memorial in Canberra is engaged in a behind-the-scenes battle about whether it should commemorate the fighting between Aboriginal people and the early colonial settlers." (Source: ABC, 7.30 Report)

What a great report and one that could easily be adapted into a WebQuest for students in Years 8 - 12 studying Australian History.

The 7.30 Report goes on: "late last year, the history professor Ken Inglis renewed a call for the War Memorial to recognise one conflict not commemorated - the fighting between Aboriginal people and the country's early colonial settlers. The official memorial response is that such fighting falls outside its charter, a claim that's disputed by some respected military historians and Aboriginal people."

Several experts are interviewed [and these could easily be used as the basis for Roles within a WebQuest]: Ken Inglis, an historian and writer of "Sacred Places"; Geoffrey Blainey, an historian in favour of looking at different conflicts including the Eureka Stockade in the War Memorial; Memorial council member and president of the Returned Services League, Major General Bill Crews, who expressed views in opposition to the inclusion of the colonial conflicts between Aboriginal and say the forces of Governor Macquarie; Gordon Briscoe, History ANU who expressed the view: "We want this recognised, redefined as a war of resistance against the British which was continued into the Australian period."; former Chief of Army and military historian Lieutenant General John Coates in agreement; Dr Peter Stanley, from the National Museum in favour; and, current director of the War Memorial, Major General Steve Gower, who is reported to have closed the matter.

The Big Question could be based around an issue of cultural racism which was brought up by the Report!

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