Project Launch: So That We Remember

We are pleased to join with our friends who are launching a great new project that focuses on the theme of dispossession entailed in the colonisation of this continent and its islands, and the cost to Indigenous lives that was so dearly paid for in that violent change of possession.

A story that began 233 years ago.

We offer So That We Remember as a verbal and visual guide to a particularly focused journey into the history of this country.

So That We Remember

This Website is offered as a verbal and visual path on a journey that began 233 years ago. It aims to expand awareness of the cost to Indigenous lives of the process of colonial dispossession.

This awareness is enhanced by Indigenous artist Glenn Loughrey’s artwork (glennloughrey.com). The visual has the capacity, beyond the verbal, to take the viewer into the primal feel of a landscape, an event, an encounter.

This collection of extracts from primary historical sources, and from historians seeking to gather as accurately as possible the memories of Australian history since 1788, is prompted by the felt need to expand the reach of memory into the wider Australian public.

What comes into view is a miscellany of testimonies, eye-witness accounts, secondary stories, justifications and obfuscations in regard to the nation-wide violence entailed in the imperial colonisation of this continent and its islands.

This collection takes the viewer into a day-to-day remembering.

Whether we are an individual, a family, a clan or a nation, we remember selectively. Both what we remember (and what we allow to be forgotten) shape the memories that shape us.

So That We Remember is being launched in the hope that in Australia it will bring to public awareness the cost in losing lives and in losing country, that has affected Australia’s Indigenous people to this present day. That awareness can find expression in remembrance.

Ray Barraclough

It all begins with a vision, a goal, a purpose.

An explanation for the contents and their presentation on So That We Remember.

Every day of the year people watch new telecasts, listen to news bulletins. These news programs share a common feature. There will be items side by side that have no inter-relationship. An item on economics, followed by a report of a car crash, then a politician is quoted, followed by sports results and the weather forecast.

In one sense this daily journal of historical remembrance, entitled So That We Remember is a collection of historical news bulletins. However it has a particular focus, a particular theme, a particular purpose. The contents will vary as regards the timelines of Australian history, and the locations of historical events.

“A Portrait of Australia With Important Bits Missing” by Glenn Loughrey

But the purpose is to focus on the theme of dispossession entailed in the colonisation of this continent and its islands, and the cost to Indigenous lives that was so dearly paid for that violent change of possession.

Professor Henry Reynolds has asked the question of Australia: “How, then, do we deal with the Aboriginal dead?[1] While Professor Mark McKenna observes that, “there is no state-sanctioned memorial to the frontier wars in Australia. This absence is one of the most telling silences that continues to reign over our official historical imagination.”[2]

In compiling So That We Remember, we offer it as a daily memorial to the cost to Indigenous lives in the emergence of contemporary Australia. Those lives deserve to be remembered. The consequences of that colonisation process are still with us. There are no exits from the realities of this history.

In a good number of the daily texts particular dates are highlighted. This is done to encourage reflection along the lines of: ‘On this very day in our past, this happened.’

“This absence is one of the most telling silences that continues to reign over our official historical imagination.”

— Professor Mark McKenna

Many of the pages contain a selection of quotations. Whether the excerpt is of page length or more succinct in expression, the intention is to provide varied food for thought, for remembrance, for contemplation. Each day’s entries are an invitation to ponder more deeply the history of Australia’s Indigenous people. And to reflect more deeply on the tide of consequences that colonialism brought in its wake – a wake that still permeates this county’s life.

We have decided to use the terms Indigenous and Aboriginal as general designations. Some of the historical sources cited contain abusive and derogatory terms that no longer have public currency. Where they are retained in the excerpts, they are reminders of the dehumanising attitudes that fuelled the violence against Indigenous people (men, women and children) in Australia’s internal history.

Where quotes are drawn from primary sources, whether paragraphs, phrases or single words, they are italicised in the daily entries.

This production is both a literal and a visual aid to remembrance.

  1. Henry Reynolds, The Other Side of the Frontier, p.165.

  2. Mark McKenna, Moment of Truth – History and Australia’s Future, p.68.

  3. See more: Acknowledgments.

Are you an educator?

If you’re a teacher or educator and are considering incorporating any of our content into your lesson planning, we invite you to explore our Education Resources page first to learn more about how to do so and our terms of use.

Go to: So That We Remember and regularly visit the site for a visual and verbal journey that will help you to understand and be sensitive to our history.

oOo

1 thought on “Project Launch: So That We Remember

  1. John Gunson

    This is a breakthrough initiative.
    To re-use the old Gough Whitlam/Labor slogan, – It’s time!
    Let us equip ourselves with a true knowledge of our past, and badger our politicians – especially our local Federal members- until they act, beginning with a recognition and voice enshrined in our Constitution.
    Our present Fed. Gov. has failed us, even with an Indigenous Minister for Aboriginal Affairs.
    A constitutional change is likely of success with a bi-partisan approach. Labor has declared in favour, so there is no excuse for the Gov’t’s delays.
    In addition to the sources promised for “So that we remember”, we should all buy and be shocked into action by Henry Reynold’s “Truth Telling”.

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