Blood on the Wattle: Massacres and Maltreatment of Aboriginal Australians Since 1788
Blood on the Wattle draws together, in a single volume, most of the information about the massacres of Aboriginal people which has been recorded in books and journals. It also creates a broad-based level of awareness of the scale of the massacres of Aboriginal people so that this dimension of Australian history can become part of the Australian consciousness.
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Bruce Elder's book recounts an important part of the early history of Australia and the evolving relationship between the early settlers and the indigenous population. His account of the attrocities committed as white settlers pushed into the rich grazing lands beyond the Blue Mountains is handled with a journalistic objectivity. This style serves to increase the horror of the muderous activities of self appointed judges, juries and executioners who adopted a 'blanket' punishment for indigenous attacks on livestock. In a particularly gruesome event at Myall Creek, Elder skilfully juxtaposes the harmonious relationships between the Aboriginal people and the farmhands, with a renegade gang of ex-convicts, determined to seek retribution on any Aboriginal people that happen to cross their path. What eventuates is one the most sorry historical events in Australian history. What is unforgivable is that Elder's book rarely receives any attention in historical accounts of Australia's early beginnings. Elder's book represents a dark mirror on the Australian soul and its contents should form the background of any policies created to bridge the gap between whites and blacks.