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The Fabrication of Aboriginal History: Volume 1;Van Diemen's Land, 1803-1847
Sydney, Macleay Press, 2002. hardcover. ISBN 1 876492 05 8. 472 pp. $A49-95
This book has generated a fierce debate within the pages of The Australian newspaper, especially the Weekend Australian. Dec. 28-29,2002. It deserves attention by all who are politically incorrect enough to want the truth, and to rescue the white race from factually incorrect charges of genocide. Many people know political correctness is the opposite of factual correctness. Windschuttle targets Left-wing writers such as the 2 Rs: Ryan and Reynolds, despite the fact that historian Attwood, claimed they did not believe in genocide claims. Nevertheless, Windschuttle cites Lyndall Ryan, in her book, The Aborigines of Tasmania (1981) 2nd ed., as saying that Tasmanian aborigines were victims of a conscious policy of genocide. Clive Turnbull’s 1948 book, Black War, said that “Extermination policies were not exclusive to Nazi Germany” (Windschuttle, p. 13)
Lloyd Robson refers to the Tasmanian conquest as “an impressive example of extermination.(A History of Tasmania, Vol.I) and Rhys Jones and Tom Haydon suggested in The Last Tasmanian that it was ‘a holocaust of European savagery.”
Windschuttle has been called an Australian revisionist, and so he is about the aboriginal scene, but he is not a so-called “holocaust denier” because he does not challenge the Holocaust orthodoxy. He even labels one chapter 'The Final Solution' with its customary connotations of “termination.” His claims are taken seriously enough for a writer, in The Australian, 30th December, 2002, to suggest that Australian museum exhibits should be modified to accommodate Windschuttle’s claims, whereas there will be a long wait before an Australian museum modifies exhibits to suit a European Holocaust revisionist.
In some ways, Windschuttle draws on the work of previous historians, such as James Calder’s The Native Tribes of Tasmania (1875) who suggested most claims of extermination are vastly exaggerated about the numbers involved, a theme Windschuttle endorses throughout the book. Windschuttle claims that more whites were killed than blacks, 187 whites (p. 352) to 118 blacks (p. 397) out of a total black population at time of colonial settlement of about 2,000.
is a feature of Left-wing political correctness that deep moral concern
seldom is shown for white deaths. Instead, political correctness
concentrates on black deaths, as if the lives of whites did not count, an
interesting attitude coming from whites. As Windschuttle shows, the notion
of attributing ‘Heroic guerrilla warfare’ to the Tasmanian blacks
during the 19th century creates an attitude they did not have. The
Tasmanians were also a nomadic people with no sense of a “national
purpose” the same as aborigines in Australia at time of white
settlement. Windschuttle argues against the validity of Land Rights
claims, and complains that historic sites given to blacks
have been contemptuously allowed to fall into ruin (p. 411).
also extensively analyzes a major political figure of that era, George
Augustus Robinson, whom Leftist black-arm band historians love because he
contrasts the ‘poor, helpless, forlorn, oppressed blacks”
with the “merciless whites” (p. 249) Windschuttle said that it
served Robinson’s purposes to understate black murders and to suggest
that conciliation with natives be encouraged, since he got a nice profit
from herding natives into areas, earning bounty money, and presenting
himself as the natives’ protector. He acquired the reputation of a great
humanitarian and at the same time profited by his business. Robinson was
not a disinterested observer.
does not cite one writer, Patricia Cobern, writing “Who really killed
in The Bulletin, Feb. 23, 1982,(pp.32-4) who arrives at conclusions
similar to his own, and believed Tasmanian natives were starting to die
out at settlement and would have become extinct if the whites had arrived
Like Windschuttle, she cites an eyewitness of the times, James Erskine Calder, who noticed warlike habits and treachery of natives. He mentions their raids on isolated farms and the way in which they would feign friendship towards whites and then, when they were within range, would flick spears from between their toes and impale the luckless whites. It’s racist to say this, of course, but if present-day whites in Tasmania had to endure this kind of reception themselves, they might not have been so enthusiastic about black preservation. But in spite of this, Windschuttle suggests that, not only was the policy of the Tasmanian government against extermination, but very few colonists themselves supported it.
cites several causes of Aboriginal decline: (1) their eating habits, which
involved gluttony, sometimes of rancid food;(2)hazards of birth, such as
unsterilised implements to cut the umbilical cord;(3) lack of hygiene; (4
tribal prostitution, which encouraged V.D. and cut the number of new
births for the tribes; (5)infection from ritual wounds;(6) exposure to the
harsh climate, a key motive for stealing the whites’ blankets.
concludes that “the killer that stalked the Tasmanian Aboriginal tribes
was the practices and customs of the race, its face was not white.”
of these are good explanations, but Windschuttle places more emphasis on
the isolation of the tribes from other cultures. On
venereal disease, Windschuttle mentions that the tribes encouraged
it by selling their wives to the whites for provisions or dogs. The last
full blooded aborigine to die in Tasmania was Truganini, but some
half-breeds have survived since.
mentions that this volume is only one in a series to challenge the
politically correct view of Australian Aboriginal history. It is not yet
clear what his subsequent volumes will say, but some themes may be
suggested by books such as
It remains to be seen whether Windschuttle will take up themes such as this, in his own high-powered, heavily concentrated and strongly academic style. In the meantime, he has given a hearty blow to the fashionable anti-white racism.