'Paper presented at the Boyer lectures 1968; racial relations and consequences; Phillips native policy; very brief note of kidnapping of Arabanoo, Colby and Bennelong; attitudinal changes, unimportance of native question; discusses development of attitude and relations since 1930, Tennant Creek area; removal of Warramunga people from tribal lands by gold miners 1934; intensification of pastoral industry around 1880s and obliteration of tribes as a result; early ethnologists and their work, native method of fighting, relationship to land and consequences through deprivation; brief account of some leaders; Yagan , Midgegooroo, Durmugan, customs, law and etiquette, mineral industry and effects in Arnhem land, attitudes to new way of life; killing the Dreaming, assimilation problems, land rights, law and Crown lands.'
'It’s 50 years since the anthropologist WEH Stanner gave the 1968 Boyer Lectures — a watershed moment for Australian history. Stanner argued that Australia’s sense of its past, its very collective memory, had been built on a state of forgetting, which couldn’t “be explained by absent mindedness”:
It is a structural matter, a view from a window which has been carefully placed to exclude a whole quadrant of the landscape. What may well have begun as a simple forgetting of other possible views turned under habit and over time into something like a cult of forgetfulness practised on a national scale.' (Introduction)
'Eight or nine years ago I found myself thinking about the strangeness of a place in which I'd lived as a boy, strange in several ways, but most vividly because there, in Tennant Creek, unlike any other place in which I'd lived before or have lived in since, there were Aborigines. I knew almost nothing about them, either in general or in Tennant Creek in particular, and I began reading. Early on, and more or less by chance, I came across a slim volume titled After the Dreaming, by a W.E.H. Stanner, and picked it up simply because it wouldn't take long to read. That was a miscalculation of ignorance. Only three or four pages in I was already slowed by the force, density and passion of the argument. Soon I was reading line by line, word by word.' (Publication abstract)