July 4, 2022

Dear Editor,

Open Letter to all Moreland City councilors and residents, and His Grace the Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne who has a banner inside St Paul’s Cathedral telling visitors how terrible we whitefellas are (but not exposing Aboriginal atrocities):

There has been a concerted endeavour to garner in all early accounts of early research accounts on the First Australians, and those telling, for example, of cannibalism, initiation ceremonies and accounts of warlike activity, etc., such historical accounts selling for many hundreds of dollars; however, the State Libraries keep them (so it seems) in secure places, and in Canberra, there is an institute of some sort (the name of which presently escapes me) that has custodianship of many of the early historical books and accounts that would be ‘embarrassing’ to the current lofty presentation of Indigenous Culture. It seeks to purchase any of the material that may be embarrassing, and access is only available to the academics who are well-vetted (such as “Indigenous” Professor Bruce Pascoe?) as being of ‘understanding’ of the use of, if at all, the material (especially of Prof Manning Clark’s early career writing of Aboriginal cannibalism)? The bottom line is it is primitive, which is not meant to be derogatory, but primitive in the sense of culture in all regards and representation of another age. In making that proposition it does not mean that the behaviour of a more powerful culture or civilisation that arrived in Australia in the late 18th century was as woke or limp as it is today, nor that it was without basic and wild excesses: but its anchor was light-years ahead of those found as Australia’s original inhabitants. That this was recorded by well-educated and interested (with true empathy) representatives of this new more powerful age is to be cast aside 200 years later because they did not know what they were looking at! As has often been noted we are much more certain of the future than we are of the past (and as Golda Meir so adroitly put it: “One cannot and must not try to erase the past merely because it does not fit the present”).


Howard Hutchins
Victoria, Australia

Howard Hutchins

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