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More family secrets

Bill Barlow
23 February 2020
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A coming talk at the RHSV dovetails neatly with my last post about 'Family Secrets' - the new research project looking at interactions between settlers and indigenous Australians (see note 1).

 

On March 17 at the Royal Historical Society Victoria, Prof Lynette Russell will talk about family secrets and her journey to discover her aboriginal history.

 

 

What the little bird didn't tell me

17 MARCH - 5:15 - 7:00 PM

 

The RHSV has opened their March talk to GSV members at the RHSV member’s price of $10. GSV members who wish to attend should book through the RHSV website, as if they are RHSV members.

 

Prof Russell:

 

Twenty years ago I wrote a book that documented a journey I had been on for over a decade. The book was A Little Bird Told Me: Family Secrets, Necessary Lives. This book represented a journey of discovery where I located my Aboriginal ancestors and answered a number of questions that had dogged my family for generations. Along the way, I discovered a story of secrets and lies, of madness, and refuge.  In this talk, I will reflect on this book nearly 20 years later with a focus on the importance of women as the keepers and tellers of family stories. In so doing I will consider the reasons why I wrote the book, what impact it had at the time and its ongoing influence. I hope that these reflections might have something to say to other family historians. I want to question whether there are there some family secrets and necessary lies that should never be told?

 

Professor Lynette Russell AM is an award-winning historian and indigenous studies scholar. In 2020 she is taking up an Australian Research Council’s Laureate Fellowship to examine Global Encounters and First Nations People: 1000 Years of Australian History.

This personal story will be interesting to those who would like to better understand the complex issues of aboriginal identification and the inter-relationship between genealogical records, biological descent, family stories, self-identification and community recognition. Though it has been about 40 years since a three-part 'working definition' of aboriginality evolved and has been adopted in Australia (see note 2), there are still popular commentators and some historians who can't get their heads around this.

 

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References:

Note 1.Family Secrets Research Project. Contact Dr Ashley Barnwell

See the previous blog for details of how to participate in this research project:

https://www.gsv.org.au/content/unsettling-family-history-new-research

 

Note 2. For a full history of this topic see Defining Aboriginality in Australia, Dr John Gardiner-Garden, Parliament of Australia Current Issue Brief no. 10 2002-03

https://www.aph.gov.au/about_parliament/parliamentary_departments/parliamentary_library/publications_archive/cib/cib0203/03cib10

 

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ADVANCE NOTICE

 

On May 7 at GSV, Dr Richard Broome will talk on Frontier Encounters. 

Richard is a Professor of History and Associate at La Trobe University. One of Australia's most respected scholars of Aboriginal history, He has written many articles and books including  Aboriginal Australians and Sideshow Alley.

His last talk at GSV was sold out, so it would be worth getting in early to hear firsthand from a prominent historian, author and wonderful speaker.  

 

This talk will fill up quickly so go HERE to book early.

 

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Expiry Date: 
Friday, 21 August, 2020 - 22:15
Mailing Id: 
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Bill Barlow
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ERROR: Not 50 years for three part criteria

Original post cited 'about 50 years' since three part criteria adopted. This should have been about '40 years' and has since been corrected on the post.  A definition similar to that proposed in 1981 in Department of Aboriginal Affairs' Report on a Review of the Administration of the Working Definition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders (Canberra, 1981) 'had already started to be used by the some parts of the Commonwealth in 1978 and the Report of the Aboriginal Affairs Study Group of Tasmania, (1978, p. 16) found that this definition: "provides three criteria which are necessary and sufficient for the identification of an individual as Aboriginal and is sufficient for such identification in Tasmania". (Gardiner-Garden op cit). So 'about 40 years'.

Bill Barlow, GSV Blog Editor