Born in 1938 in Hobart, son of a journalist and historian, Henry Reynolds graduated from the University of Tasmania with an MA. He taught in secondary schools in Australia and England before taking up an appointment to set up the program in Australian history at James Cook University of North Queensland in the early seventies. Reynolds's ground-breaking work, The Other Side of the Frontier(1982) which won the Ernest Scott Prize, examines Aboriginal responses to British colonisation, including the issues of guerilla warfare and the exploitation of Aboriginal women.
Reynolds's primary research interest has been the history of Aboriginal-white relations in Australia and his publications include Frontier (1987), Dispossession 1989), The Law of the Land (1987), With the White People (1990), Fate of a Free People (1995), Aboriginal Sovereignty (1996) and Why Weren't We Told?. Reynolds is notable for arguing for justice for Aboriginal land rights and his work with Eddie Mabo on an oral history project in the 1970s contributed to the High Court's recognition of land rights.
'Australia is dotted with memorials to soldiers who fought in wars overseas. Why are there no official memorials or commemorations of the wars that were fought on Australian soil between Aborigines and white colonists? Why is it more controversial to talk about the frontier war now than it was one hundred years ago?'
'That book prompted a flowering of research and fieldwork that Reynolds draws on here to give a thorough and systematic account of what caused the frontier wars between white colonists and Aborigines, how many people died and whether the colonists themselves saw frontier conflict as a form of warfare.' (Source: Creative Spirits website)
'[This] is a pioneering account of the transnational production of whiteness in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. A work remarkable both for its international breadth and for its sensitivity to local particularity, it is a model for the new global history.
Marilyn Lake and Henry Reynolds expertly and imaginatively reconstruct how leading white intellectuals and politicians in Australia, South Africa, the United States, and Great Britain fought demands for racial equality and jointly invented new doctrines of racial superiority to justify the maintenance and, in some cases, the reinvigoration of white privilege in every part of the world that Britain either controlled or in which it had once deposited its settlers.
A powerful and sobering history, incisively and elegantly told.' Gary Gerstle, author of American Crucible: Race and Nation in the Twentieth Century
'Set in central-western New South Wales in the 1890s, Fred Schepisi’s film of Thomas Keneally’s award-winning novel is a powerful and confronting story of a black man’s revenge against an unjust and intolerant society.
'Raised by missionaries, Jimmie Blacksmith, a young half-caste Aboriginal man, is poignantly caught between the ways of his black forefathers and those of the white society to which he aspires. Exploited by his boss and betrayed by his [white] wife, he declares war on his white employers and goes on a violent killing spree.
'The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith was one of the most significant films of the 1970s ‘renaissance’. It was the first Australian feature in which the whole story is told from an Aboriginal perspective and it broke new ground in dealing with one of the most tragic aspects of Australian history: the racist treatment of the Aboriginal population. The spectre of the violent and vengeful black had barely been touched upon and the depth of rage that the film put on screen was unprecedented in Australian film at the time.' (Publication summary)