‘Invasion’ story rewritten

REWRITE: Dr Fred Cahir with copies of My Country All Gone - The White Men Have Stolen It.

By Natalee Kerr

An academic has rewritten the history of Geelong’s white “invasion” from the perspective of local Wadawurrung aborigines in the 1800s.

Dr Fred Cahir said his book, My Country All Gone – The White Men Have Stolen It, was unique for presenting the indigenous side of Australia’s colonialisation.

The book presented Wadawurrung accounts and opinions taken from “the invaders’ own words, journals, diaries and letters”, the Federation University Associate Professor said.

He expected the book to “challenge” some readers.

“The Wadawurrung community indicated to me that they wanted to rewrite their version of what happened rather than a white historian point of view,” Dr Cahir told the Geelong Indy.

“It talks about the Wadawurrung’s attempts to survive the frontier war and at the same time thrive in a new society forced upon them.”

Dr Cahir said his book was only “one of a handful” in Australia to document “Aboriginal national invasion stories” rather than white accounts of settlement.

The book documented Wadawurrung tragedies and losses in their dealings with early new Australians but also recounted “surprising” relationships between local aborigines and the “white spirit people”, Dr Cahir said.

“Quite a lot of friendly and very meaningful relationships did occur,” he said.

“It’s a history that provides fine brush strokes of a wider changing frontier that was violent in nature but had, surprisingly, some instances of cross cultural engagement.”

Dr Cahir said anyone wanting a copy of the book should contact him at the university in Ballarat.

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