NSW will be at the forefront of communicating Indigenous experiences of colonization

As part of the proposed changes to the NSW curriculum, students will be introduced to Aboriginal perspectives and experiences of colonisation, the causes and consequences of border wars, significant conflicts during First Contact and the rationale for expansion across the Blue Mountains and into Tasmania.

History director at Corowa High in southern New South Wales, Martin Douglas, believes the changes are not particularly controversial or problematic and that the inclusion of multiple perspectives in the curriculum is a positive step.

“We have a diverse student community in NSW. Having different views is important and gives us a chance to reach many students,” he said.

“I think what we’ve lacked in the past is the ability to know that pupils who complete the NSW curriculum get an understanding of Australian history in all its forms. This ensures that a narrative exists, and that’s important.”

Dallas McInerney, executive director of Catholic Schools NSW, said history curricula should cover all the important aspects of an era and be presented in a balanced way.

“The focus on the indigenous experience of colonization is part of Australian history; as well as the tremendous benefits and advances we continue to derive from the European settlement, such as the rule of law, liberal democracy and Judeo-Christian traditions,” he said.

Macquarie University historian Michelle Arrow said history curricula have historically been targeted by politicians and become embroiled in the history wars.

“Politicians have long argued about what they think children should learn in schools,” Arrow said.

“With the increasing attention being paid to border wars, and particularly as the Australian War Memorial comes under pressure to respond to and manage the border conflict, it is really important to deepen Aboriginal perspectives on colonization as a core study. “

Arrow said the changes mean 7th and 8th graders can examine colonization in more detail and “come to terms with the violence of this process as well as resistance from indigenous peoples.”


“Among other things, as we approach the voice referendum, the debate so far has brought to light a persistent lack of understanding of our history, particularly in this area. I think it’s crucial to establish colonization as a core area of ​​study for everyone.

The increased emphasis on the Holocaust is also essential, she said, and shows the rising disinformation, the far right and greater concern about Holocaust denial.

“We need to teach this story again because we can’t assume that the students have all that knowledge,” she said.

Justin Scaccy

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