Saturday, February 16, 2008


The discussion below follows historian Naomi Parry's "debunking" – it's from Crikey so you know it's good – of Keith Windschuttle's piece on the "stolen generations" in last week's Weekend Australian:

It occurs to me that Windy may have decided to focus on NSW because it was there he could put the best spin on what happened - this stuff about education and apprenticeship. In Queensland, by contrast, that pretence wasn’t even made. See Ros Kidd’s book “Black Lives – Government Lies” based on intesive work in the state government’s archives. Similar story could be told about WA.


Who can ever guess what his motives are, but I am inclined to think you are right. I know that the Queensland records have had that effect on a number of researchers - one bloke I know of went up there to prove massacres were exaggerated, only to find that they were understated. He wrote an entirely different book as a result.
It's just a guess but Windschuttle probably concentrated on New South Wales for the same reason stolen generation expert Peter Read does, completeness of records:
[KERRY O'BRIEN]: You talk about something like 50,000 children overall being separated from families, I think probably between 1910 and 1970.

How do you arrive at that figure?

DR PETER READ: It's partly a matter of extrapolation from NSW, where it is possible to work out who was being removed and when and where to.

Some of the other States' records are not nearly so full as they are in NSW.
But Parry's comment about knowing a bloke who wrote a book certainly enhances her credibility as a historian.


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