Across Australia, the nation’s colonial founders stand memorialised in stone but the atrocities of colonisation do not. Laura Murphy-Oates confronts the deeply contested stories within our shared history, asking where is the recognition of Australia's frontier violence and massacres in our national consciousness? 'Monuments' will document the people and communities across Australia who are dealing with the legacies of colonial violence and attempting to right these wrongs in the present, and will explore whether a truthful reckoning with the past can bring the nation together rather than tear it apart.
How does the project meet the aims of a philanthropic foundation?
This feature documentary will contribute to a timely conversation about Australia's violent colonial history and how this legacy continues to reverberate within indigenous communities, and the relations between black and white Australia today. With increasing calls for a national 'Truth Telling' process, growing activism around 'Change the date' and the always present 'Culture Wars' stoked by conservative pundits and politicians, this film will explore some of the most pressing issues relating to Australia's reconciliation process. With national commemorations planned for the 250th anniversary of Cook's Landing in 2020, and a 50 million dollar memorial to Cook commissioned by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, 'Monuments' will provide a timely retelling of Australia's history from an indigenous perspective. The social impact goals of this film are aligned with philanthropists and organisations that are concerned with the lack of national recognition of Australia's colonial violence and the legacies of inequality that exist today, the importance of promoting indigenous perspectives of history and engaging the nation in a meaningful reconciliation process.
What outcomes do you hope to achieve by making this film and how will you measure its impact?
Aims & Objectives
We hope this film will engage Australian's in the process of reconciliation and the importance of 'truth telling', by exploring our largely untold history of colonial violence and how it continues to impact on the present. The film will encourage viewers to question our 'peaceful settler' foundation mythology and the silence around colonial atrocities, by engaging with indigenous perspectives on our history. We plan to examine the underlying reasons many white Australian's find this history difficult to accept, asking how this can be changed and what transformations can take place when they do engage with it. By highlighting events such as the commemoration at Myall Creek, where descendants of both the victims and perpetrators come together every year to acknowledge the massacre, we hope the film can show that a powerful process of truth telling can build bridges between black and white Australia, and inspire other communities to do the same. The impact of this will be measured by community responses to the film which could see Australians engage in their own truth telling process, greater recognition and public acknowledgment of the scale of colonial violence that took place, a push to include more indigenous perspectives on history in schools, and increasing the demand for national memorials and days of commemoration that acknowledge the violence of our colonial history.
What is your education and outreach strategy?
The impact strategy campaign is in the early stages of development, and our aim is to work with aligned Indigenous organisations and activists, alongside key non-Indigenous allies and key influencers to:
Build a campaign for Australia to have a federally funded national memorial to the Frontier Wars, as well as investing in larger scale national monuments acknowledging massacre sites.
Support, contribute to and strengthen the campaign to ‘Change The Date’ of 26 January as Australia Day, to a day that all Australians can celebrate.
Strengthen the campaign for Indigenous perspectives of history to be included in the Australian curriculum.
Engage non-Indigenous communities and businesses to foster a deeper understanding of Indigenous people’s perspectives and histories and engage in a truth telling process within their own communities.
Engage with technology, such as the development on an App, that reveals the places where massacres and Frontier violence took place across Australia, so people can discover the true history of the places they live.
Support communities across Australia to create events commemorating the frontier violence that took place in their towns or areas, and push to build monuments acknowledging this.