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Research Report 42: Invading the Australian mind

Historian, Emeritus Professor Clive Moore, contributes his experience and long memory to the invasion debate:

'Sometimes it helps to be have been an historian for forty years, with the remnants of a memory.  At the end of March 2016 a debate erupted in the media, questioning the veracity of a University of New South Wales statement that Australia had been ‘invaded’, not ‘settled’, and breaking Australian history up into “pre-invasion” and “post-invasion” phases.  On 29 March, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph ran a front page story under the banner: ‘University of NSW students told to refer to Australia as having been “invaded”’, which was critical of the university advocating the use of the word ‘invasion’ over ‘discovered’ or ‘settled’. 'The article claimed that this was a ‘highly controversial rewriting of official Australian history’.  Objection was made to the UNSW Indigenous Terminology Guide which states that ‘most Aboriginal people find the use of the word ‘discovery’ offensive’.  The next day, Vanessa Croll led off again in the The Daily Telegraph with ‘Was Australia “settled” or “invaded”? Did Captain James Cook “discover” or “invade” Australia?’. The Daily Telegraph had ‘beat-up’ the story and The Australian picked up the same story on the 30th and ran it as if it was current news.  

In fact, the news is more than 20 years old and not new even then.


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