It’s crazy how little I truly knew about Australian history prior to coming here. A penal colony once occupied by mostly prisoners turned into a global city. My Australian studies class focuses on the history within the different suburbs in Sydney and basically the history of how it came to be.
A main focus in the course is how history is often displayed from the winners point of view. Therefore, many often know the stories told by the English and history is examined through their eyes. Captain Cook is an important historical figure in Australia because he communicated intel to England about the possibility of colonizing Australia. Although not the first to explore Australia, he was the first to give the English government enough information to start to colonize the country. His first encounter was with the Aboriginal community who occupied Australia prior to colonization.Since the English conquered and colonized Australia, the Aboriginal history and perspectives are often not discussed or taught.
Textbooks are all in the view of those who advanced and took over Australia. There are many controversial holidays here, such as Australia Day in January. This was the day Australia was taken over by the English and initially was a celebratory day, similar to our 4th of July. However, many have protested this holiday because this is known as Invasion Day to the Aboriginal community, since this was the day the land was taken from them.
History-making and visibility/invisibility were very important concepts in this course. I wrote a paper on the history of Redfern, a poorer neighborhood that had cheap housing, which Aboriginal families moved into during the 1930’s. This was where the Aboriginal community protested for rights and tried to remind others that they were on the land first and should have the same rights as white Australia. Australia was slower than most developed countries at having equality among all, specifically due to the battles between the history of Aboriginals.
This course made me very interested in research. It made me realize how little many truly know about their history because we are often only looking at one side or through history that was written by those who were victorious in the wars. Taking this course has made me want to take a closer look at the things I learn and whose perspective I am learning from.