The UnAustralian

Friday, August 22, 2003
What Does Henry Reynolds Say About Genocide In Australia

I've just got a copy of Henry Reynold's Frontier, and it's interesting to see what he says about the subject of genocide in early Australian history.

Because I'm slack and lazy, I haven't actually read the book, but commenting about stuff you really know bugger all about, is all part of blogging.

Thanks to the index, I flipped right to the section titled Was it Genocide?, and have summarised it below.

* In the literal sense of the word, no. However, the frontier was very violent, and large numbers of Aborigines died in conflict with settlers.

* However, if one asks if the colonials wanted to exterminate the Aborigines, it becomes more complex. By the 1820's, most settlers were convinced that the Aborigines were dying. The reactions to this varied from shock, to resignation, and to glee. Some of the settlers who were pleased that the natives were dying, believed that the process should be accelerated. Reynolds believes that this group made up a substantial minority of the population. There is some evidence that certain high ranking officials believed that the Aborigines should be exterminated, however, this evidence is inconclusive.

This book was first published in 1987, so Reynolds views may have changed.

| 12:07 AM